Department of the Interior

Let’s Talk About IT Ep. 13 — Inside Interior’s team-driven COVID-19 response

For the Department of the Interior, with more than 70,000 employees, nine bureaus and dozens of large offices strewn across the nation, a successful IT response to the coronavirus pandemic was going to have to be extremely coordinated and collaborative — an all-hands-on-deck engagement for the department’s senior technology executives.

That’s why CIO Bill Vajda called his IT leadership team “the secret sauce” in Interior’s ability to move to secure, ubiquitous telework and continue normal operations almost immediately when the pandemic struck.

“That’s really our secret for how we were able to move as agilely and as successfully in standing up to the pandemic challenge,” Vajda said in a new episode of Let’s Talk About IT. “The secret sauce at Department of Interior is the great team we’ve built and the great people that we’ve got moving all of these organizations forward. You can imagine, there’s quite a difference in responsibility between running a park and overseeing compliance operations for coal mines in Illinois. And the requirements of stepping up and making sure that in spite of the contingency impacts, people are able to do their jobs every day and serve the American public to the expectations that preceded COVID. It was a pretty daunting challenge.”

To really emphasize that, Vajda invited several members of his leadership team to join the discussion about Interior’s coronavirus response for this episode. The resulting conversation highlighted how every IT leader played an important role in keeping Interior personnel performing their many missions.

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