DTI Honors CR Graduate

July 26, 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Dave Chambers Pictured L-R: Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, Liz Boaman, Sudha Narayanan, PN Narayanan, Anirudh Narayanan, Dr. Sherry Kijowski, Rep. Lyndon Yearick, DE CIO James Collins

DOVER, Del. — Delaware Department of Technology and Information (DTI) CIO James Collins recently hosted a celebration to recognize the achievement of Caesar Rodney graduate Anirudh Narayanan, who took first place in the Microsoft Excel 2013 category at the recent Microsoft Office Specialist U.S. National Championship in Orlando, FL. Anirudh will represent the First State and the nation when he competes at the upcoming Microsoft Office World Championship. Joined by special guests including Anirudh’s parents, PN and Sudha Narayanan, along with Caesar Rodney School District’s Superintendent Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, High School Principal Dr. Sherry Kijowski, teacher Liz Boaman, and 34th District Representative Lyndon Yearick, Collins presented Anirudh with a tribute on behalf of Governor John Carney and Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long.

“It is incredibly important for us to take time to recognize Anirudh and others like him,” commented CIO James Collins. “As a society we pull out all the stops for sports accomplishments and it is equally important that we do so for STEM achievements!”

Media Contact:
Christina Dirksen, Strategic Communications Manager, DTI
(302) 739-9736  Christina.Dirksen@delaware.gov

Governor Carney, Chief Information Officer Announce Innovative Cybersecurity Partnership for Students

Online cybersecurity training offers scholarship opportunities for Delaware high school juniors and seniors, and college students

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney announced on Friday a new, innovative cybersecurity training partnership between the SANS Institute and the State of Delaware that provides Delaware high school juniors and seniors at least 16 years old, and college students interested in a cybersecurity career, the opportunity to learn basic cybersecurity skills and test their aptitude through a no-cost online game of discovery called CyberStart.

“Delaware’s future is an innovation economy where technology takes center stage, and our state needs a pipeline of talented cybersecurity professionals,” said Governor John Carney. “I am excited that Delaware is able to partner with an organization like the SANS Institute to engage our state’s high school and college students, and encourage them to explore the field of cybersecurity.”

An introductory practice version of CyberStart will be available online from July 14-28, 2017. Participants who complete five of the eight practice modules will be invited to compete in the full-scale program that will run from August 1-28, 2017. The practice round is mandatory for those who would like to compete.

Participants do not need prior cybersecurity knowledge. Students from Delaware who excel in the CyberStart game will have the opportunity to share in $150,000 in scholarships for further cyber-education, and ultimately for $500,000 in scholarships for college and graduate-level training in preparation for highly sought-after industry certifications.

Delaware students will be competing with students from Virginia, Michigan, Rhode Island, Iowa, Nevada, and Hawaii for scholarships sponsored by the SANS Institute.

“I applaud the SANS Institute for working to ensure the cyber workforce of tomorrow is available to protect our information and systems. The CyberStart program is an excellent and fun opportunity for students who think they may be interested in cybersecurity to determine if they have the passion and aptitude to pursue it as a career,” said Delaware Chief Information Officer James Collins. “I hope young people all across Delaware take advantage of this great opportunity.”

Each player in CyberStart begins as a “cyber protection agent” responsible for protecting an important operational base.  The student chooses and solves challenges, earning points along the way. A cyber protection agent field manual provides answers to questions that may arise and hints help when players get stuck. When the player has solved a sufficient number challenges at one level, a new level opens up and new challenges appear – for a total of 31 levels.

When asked why SANS is making this investment, SANS Director of Research, Alan Paller, said “Because the nation desperately needs more highly-skilled cyber professionals, and we have new evidence that CyberStart will radically improve the quality and preparation of people entering the cybersecurity field.  SANS trains more than 30,000 advanced cybersecurity professionals each year for military and intelligence organizations and for large high-tech companies in the U.S. and its allies. We discovered that those who have mastered the topics taught and measured in the CyberStart program do far better than others in the advanced cybersecurity courses that prepare the critically needed people. By opening CyberStart to hundreds of thousands of students we may be able to help the nation identify the next generation of talented people who will excel in this critical field.”

For more information and to get started playing CyberStart, please visit DigiKnow.DTI.Delaware.gov.

Hands On Tech Day For 8th and 9th Grade Girls

DigiGirlz Returns to Wilmington University’s Dover Campus, May 2, 2017
Registration Now Open

Dover, DE: Girls in the 8th and 9th grades are invited to spend a fun filled day learning about careers in technology and getting an inside glimpse of what it might be like to work in the technical fields. DigiGirlz Day is designed to encourage young women to explore the possibilities available in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

DigiGirlz is May 2, 2017 at Wilmington University’s Dover Campus starting at 8:30 am. It is free and open to 8th and 9th grade school year girls in public, private, charter and home schools. Teachers may attend to observe their students in selected program activities; individual students are also encouraged to participate. Pre-registration is mandatory and lunch will be provided.

This year’s DigiGirlz Day features several different career track explorations including Chemistry, Video Game Creation, and Cyber Security. Girls will participate in hands-on activities including writing code for a simple video game, exploring the science behind creating beauty products, or learning about the tools professionals use to fight computer hackers. New this year will be Roundtable discussions with female professionals in the STEM-related careers.

Recognizing that young women historically shy away from STEM education, especially as they enter their high school years, DigiGirlz is designed to address some of the myths and misconceptions about careers in more technical industries. Through lively discussion and interactive activities, the event is designed to encourage young women to put aside concerns about their ability to pursue education and careers in technical fields.

DigiGirlz is sponsored by Delaware’s Department of Technology and Information, Microsoft, the Delaware Center for Educational Technology, Wilmington University, Delaware Department of Education, JP Morgan Chase, and Dell.

Registration information can be found at https://digiknow.dti.delaware.gov/pages/DigiGirlz/2017/default.shtml

Governor’s Statement on the Confirmation of James Collins as Chief Information Officer of DTI

Dover, DE – The Delaware Senate today unanimously confirmed the nomination of James Collins to serve as Chief Information Officer of the Department of Technology and Information (DTI), replacing Jim Sills, who recently assumed the role of president and chief executive officer of Mechanics and Farmers Bank after serving as DTI CIO since 2009. The Governor issued this statement following the confirmation:

“Today’s unanimous vote by the Senate affirms the skills and talents James Collins possesses to lead the Department of Technology and Information as its Chief Information Officer.  He is not only qualified to serve in this position from his years and depth of experience in the fields of IT and data and information systems security, but also because of his commitment to ensure that Delawareans continue to receive the highest standard of service throughout the state.”


Governor Nominates Public and Private Sector Leader with IT Expertise to Cabinet Post

James Collins nominated to serve as the next Chief Information Officer of Department of Technology and Information

James Collins is Governor Markell's Deputy Chief of Staff.
James Collins, Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Markell, has been nominated to become DTI’s CIO.

Wilmington, DE – Governor Jack Markell announced today he is nominating James Collins to become the next Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Delaware Department of Technology and Information (DTI), recognizing Collins’ extensive experience as a leader in state organizations and on information technology projects. If confirmed by the State Senate, Collins would succeed Jim Sills, who will take over as president and chief executive officer of Mechanics and Farmers Bank next week after serving as DTI CIO since 2009. DTI Chief Operating Officer William Hickox will serve as Acting CIO immediately following Sills’ departure. The Senate will have an opportunity to consider Collins’ nomination when it meets for a special session on October 8th.

“James understands that nearly every initiative we undertake as a state involves information technology,” said Governor Markell. “His expertise in this field along with his impressive record of developing and implementing innovative services make him an ideal candidate to serve as the state’s Chief Information Officer.

“In addition, James’ work with DTI through his previous roles will give him a head start in using his leadership skills to drive the agency’s work in protecting the security of the state’s networks, continuing expansion of access to high speed broadband, and partnering with the rest of my administration.”

Collins, who earned a Master of Science in Managing Innovation and Information Technology from Champlain College in 2005, spent ten years as the Director of Delaware’s Division of Professional Regulation (DPR) in the Department of State. He served simultaneously as Deputy Secretary of State from 2009 – 2013, where he helped to manage nearly 600 employees and expand the state’s e-Government initiatives and use of information technology, including to:

·        Enhance patient care and increase revenues by 22 percent at the Delaware Veterans Home by deploying an electronic medical records (EMR) system;

·        Increase public access to information through the Public Service Commission’s web portal; and

·        Create the Veterans Services Directory, an online searchable database of organizations that provide assistance to veterans, military members, and their families.

At DPR, Collins also led the establishment of the Delaware Prescription Monitoring Program database to combat a statewide prescription drug abuse problem. The system, used by a significant portion of Delaware physicians, serves as a powerful tool for prescribers to prevent drug-seeking “doctor shoppers” from abusing prescription medications.

Collins left the Department in January to become the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, a position that includes acting as Markell’s policy advisor on issues relating to DTI.

“I am thrilled and humbled to be nominated by Governor Markell to lead DTI,” said Collins. “If confirmed, I will take very seriously the agency’s most important obligation to safeguard the state’s data and information systems, and to provide agencies with strong support in order to help them deliver the highest quality services to our ultimate customers – the people of Delaware.

“I know the state is highly dependent on secure information systems that are functioning at their highest levels. If given the opportunity to serve, it will be my priority to work with the talented team at DTI to make the agency’s expertise and assistance readily available for these initiatives.”

Prior to joining the Department of State, Collins implemented large-scale computer technology projects as a senior consultant with Peregrine Systems, an enterprise software company, and MAXIMUS Inc., a leading operator of government health and human services programs around the world.

Collins, 44, earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Wesley College in 1997, while serving in the United States Air Force for nearly nine years, before finishing his military career at Dover Air Force Base. He is also certified by the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance and Instruction as a technical trainer in the information technology industry. He resides with his wife and daughter in Magnolia.

The Delaware Department of Technology and Information serves as the state’s central IT organization, chartered to deliver core services to other state organizations and exercise governance over the technology direction and investments of the state.