Up & Comers is FedScoop’s regular feature profiling young feds excelling in federal IT.
Amen Ra Mashariki — a graduate of the Brooklyn Technical High School, one of the top technical schools in the country, and a former software engineer at the once mobile phone giant Motorola — has always been a tech guy. But in the federal space, the 38-year-old chief technology officer at the Office of Personnel Management is just starting to craft his legacy.
Amen Ra Mashariki, the CTO for OPM, has been in the federal government for about two years. Despite that, Mashariki looks to use technology to solve some of the world’s problems. (Photo: FedScoop)
“[Motorola was] really where I cut my teeth on technology and really engaged a lot of smart people and did some fun stuff,” Mashariki said.
After he got his doctorate, Mashariki’s nephew was diagnosed with leukemia — an event that caused him to think about how one could use technology to be actionable. At first he thought he would use technology to address medical issues; however, when a friend of his applied for the White House Fellows Program in 2012, Mashariki thought Washington, D.C., was a place where he could make an impact.
As a fellow, Mashariki was placed at OPM. About a year later, after being exposed to the importance of public service from the fellows program, Mashariki was kept on board at OPM as the agency’s first CTO.
“OPM is really in the business of taking on some really tough IT challenges,” Mashariki said. “After my year [at OPM as a fellow] was up, I had the opportunity to stay on as OPM’s first CTO.”
During his first 100 days at OPM, Mashariki worked with the agency’s various stakeholders to develop its first IT strategic plan. Almost a year into the job, Mashariki said he wasn’t going anywhere and will continue implementing the plan.
“Really smart folks came together with the business units and began to create what we saw as the solution. What’s important to me now is the implementation,” Mashariki said. “It’s not necessarily innovative, but it’s certainly important and it’s something that OPM hasn’t had is that sort of structure.”Recommend a young fed who you believe could be a FedScoop Up & Comer.