Mayor Rawlings-Blake Names Chris Tonjes as New Chief Technology Officer
As CIO for DC Public Library, Tonjes spearheaded broadband expansion, created first library iPhone app.
Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced the appointment of Chris Tonjes as the new chief information officer in the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology (MOIT). Mr. Tonjes—currently serving as chief information officer for DC Public Library (DCPL), the District of Columbia’s public library system—was selected as part of a competitive national search effort.
“We are excited to announce the appointment of a qualified and forward-thinking individual to oversee an increasingly important government agency,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “Chris comes to us with years of experience as an innovator for one of the country’s oldest public library systems. His understanding of the needs of a modern urban municipality will be critical as we develop strategies to make city government more effective and efficient.”
As chief information officer for DCPL, Tonjes oversaw the creation of the first-ever iPhone app for a library, as well as iPad and Blackberry apps. Tonjes implemented high-speed broadband for all library branches; he also led the library’s effort to increase the number of public access computers by nearly 400% in libraries throughout the District.
In 2011, the Washington Post reported
on one of Tonjes’ signature initiatives: DCPL’s effort to offer computer education classes to low-income residents. Using federal grant funding, the library aims to train 1,600 individuals by the end of 2012. For many residents of the District’s poorest communities, computer literacy was a major barrier, preventing them from finding meaningful employment.
“As the tech community's representative on the search committee, my interest was finding someone with the experience and knowledge to manage the technology needs of a large city who also knows how to engage with the local community,” said Jason Hardebeck, Executive Director of gb.tc (the Greater Baltimore Technology Council). “I think we've found that person with Chris Tonjes; he's going to be a great addition to the Baltimore tech scene and a real asset for the City. We are looking forward to working with Chris and his team!”
Prior to working with DCPL, Tonjes was program manager for the D.C. Office of the Chief Technology Officer, where he worked to make the District’s website more user friendly. He has worked in the computer technology field since graduating from the State University of New York at Potsdam in the 1980s. From 1997 to 2003, he was a principal and project manager with Oculus Communications and worked with major corporations such as Merrill Lynch, Prudential Financial, and Deutsche Bank.
Tonjes’ official start date with Baltimore City is July 23, 2012.
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