Jonathan Alboum named USDA CIO

Jonathan Alboum is expected to start his new job at the end of the month. (FedScoop)

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The Department of Agriculture just named Jonathan Alboum its new chief information officer.

Previously, Alboum worked as CIO of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service and held several jobs at the General Services Administration. He’s also served as a management consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ventera Corp.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Alboum’s most recent post was as a USDA program executive responsible for MIDAS, an IT program that was halted last year amid delays. The Government Accountability Office recently examined what caused the program to fail, pointing to poor performance and uncertainty about future plans. Alboum took that job a few months before development of the program stopped in July.

He earned a master’s degree in information technology management and a bachelor’s in systems engineering from the University of Virginia.

While Alboum was not available to comment on his new position before deadline, he spoke with FedScoop in 2011 about his first government job as deputy chief information officer at the Food and Nutrition Service.

“What I learned in that first job is how different it was to work in the government as a government employee versus as a contractor,” he said in a FedMentors interview. He added, “Everything that I did every day needed to be with a focus on helping to advance the agency’s mission.”

And in 2012, Alboum told FedScoop he was particularly proud of his work creating a website for MyPlate, an update to the food guide pyramid that first lady Michelle Obama and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled in 2011.

Alboum takes the CIO title after Cheryl Cook retired from USDA this spring to take a position with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, news originally reported by FedScoop. Joyce Hunter has been serving in the acting role.

In a release, Vilsack said Alboum’s “vast experience in formulating IT strategies, polices and initiatives will help USDA continue to modernize its tools and resources, innovate our digital services, improve the way we deliver results and technology to our many customers, and protect USDA’s IT assets and information.”

Hunter told FedScoop in April that the department was looking into starting its own digital services shop in-house. The department also has been working to open its data. In April, it co-hosted a hackathon and released an application programming interface, or API, on its public lands data with the Interior Department.

Alboum will start his new job June 29.

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Department of Agriculture (USDA), Departments, Government IT News, workforce
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