Louisiana State Chief Information Officer
Richard "Dickie" Howze is the Chief Information Officer for Louisiana state government. The CIO heads the Division of Administration's Office Technology Services and plays a major role in matters related to the state's information technology infrastructure, assets and resources.
Howze led OTS’ formation in 2014 – a monumental consolidation of state IT infrastructure, resources and staff. Howze brings more than 40 years of experience in IT public service to OTS. Under Howze’s direction, the OTS merge has leveraged economies of scale for software, hardware and maintenance; improved resource utilization; reduced duplication; established a single project management office; and centralized staff, funding and procurement. Within OTS’ first year of IT consolidation, the state reduced overall expenditures by $75 million.
Since 2015, OTS has spearheaded countless projects for in-scope state agencies, including online bidding for the Office of State Procurement; state print and mail management modernization and consolidation; network security improvement with Enterprise secure baseline migration; cutting-edge remote office and DR connectivity solution architecture with new Software Defined Wide Area Network, or SD-WAN, technology; LaGov Budget Development System and web content filtering implementation for all in-scope agencies; and governmental transparency and accountability advancement and promotion via the Louisiana Checkbook searchable website. In addition, OTS has made prodigious strides in firewall and server and storage migration.
Also under Howze’s watch, OTS has modernized and streamlined standard processes for numerous agencies with the creation and application of programs such as LaMEDS automated Medicaid eligibility and enrollment system; the LITE multi-agency program integration system; LA Wallet digital driver’s license application; and the LAWIN multi-state partnership system for the Women, Infants & Children program. Louisiana also has become the first state to implement a virtual remote-identity verification system for Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program applicants.
House Concurrent Resolution 121 (HCR 121/2017 Regular Session)
House Concurrent Resolution No. 121, or HCR 121, of the 2017 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature (approved as document No. HLS 17RS‐3917) tasked the newly created Office of Technology Services to conduct a risk assessment of the existing “mission critical information technology systems” in the executive branch and, subsequently, report its findings back to the legislature, with specific focus on outdated and/or inefficient information technology systems. Ultimately, OTS identified more than 150 legacy systems that needed upgrades at a cost of more than $1 billion. Since that time, OTS has steadily chipped away at this backlog; currently OTS is poised to have slashed that number by well over two-thirds. For information about HCR 121, click on the links below:
Experience & Awards
A seasoned IT professional, Howze has served as IT Deputy Director, with responsibilities over IT security, statewide service desk, infrastructure and software management and database, IT operations, server and network areas; as well as IT Technical Support Manager, having supervised a team of information technologists responsible installing all mainframe operating systems and software.
Before becoming CIO, Howze served as Director of Information Technology for the Department of Children and Family Services, where he led modernization and reorganization efforts as well as new technology implementation. He also served as the Undersecretary for the Office of Management and Finance at DCFS. Responsible for the department's $1 billion budget, he improved the agency’s customer service, client outcomes and quality assurance; reduced duplication; and streamlined business processes via a statewide customer-service call center, web-based enrollment, electronic case records and document-imaging systems.
In 2016, Howze became one of Govtech.com’s "Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers," which honors innovators in the public sector.
Louisiana State Deputy Chief Information Officer (Interim)