David Behen

Director of the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB), and the state’s chief information officer (CIO)
 

WOW FACTOR

David Behen serves a dual role for the state of Michigan: director of the DTMB and CIO. The DTMB has 2,800 employees and a budget that hovers around $1.2 billion. It serves as the engine that allows the 18 agencies and 47,000 employees in the state government to perform their jobs. “The DTMB essentially provides the administrative services for all of the agencies in the state government, and that includes everything from procurement, facilities and maintenance, and retirement services, to vehicle and transportation services, just to name a few.”

The DTMB is also the centralized IT agency. “We handle hardware, software applications and our Michigan public-safety communication system, which is one of the largest in North America. And as CIO, I’m also accountable for all the cybersecurity for the state of Michigan, and fortunately I have great partners in the Michigan State Police, National Guard and others to accomplish that.”
 

PASSION FOR PUBLIC SERVICE

“Public service is a noble profession and a good option for people who want to give back to the community. That’s part of the reason I love my job. I get to work with really smart people and we get to do very cool things that impact the lives of 10 million people. That, to me, is inspiring.”
 

VIEW FROM THE TOP

“Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder plays a strong leadership role in cybersecurity on a national level. His Michigan Cyber Initiative 2015, the Michigan Cyber Range Command Center and the Michigan Cyber Civilian Corps are just some of the many projects he has implemented. My responsibility is to oversee cybersecurity for the state and, thanks to Gov. Snyder, we’re making great strides in this fight.”
 

CORPORATE CLIMB

Behen credits three things with his professional success: good advice, including a recommendation from his father to study what he liked in college; a solid work ethic; and an appetite for taking a chance. At just 27, Behen landed a job as city manager in Mattawan, a small community near Kalamazoo, MI. “It was a great little city, and I got to wear many hats,” including overseeing the police and public works departments, the planning commission and the city council, and developing one of the first community informational websites.

On the advice of his wife Rosalie, he took a chance and moved on to a new position in Washtenaw County: management analyst in the finance department. Within six months, he became project manager for the county administrator and deputy county administrator and took on the task of running their e-government initiative. That led to other stepping stone positions and finally the combined position of deputy county administrator and CIO.

In 2009, he left Washtenaw government to become vice president and CIO of an IT consulting company. He became CIO for the state of Michigan in 2011 and added the title of DTMB director in early 2014.
 

CREDENTIALS

• Bachelor’s, History and Soviet Union Study, Eastern Michigan University
• Master’s, Public Administration, Eastern Michigan University
 

VOICE OF EXPERIENCE

“I have three beautiful kids — Isabel who’s 13, Josh who’s 11, and Olivia who’s 8 — and they’re immersed in technology in school, at home and with their friends. Unless you talk to kids about cybersafety, bad things can happen. Our push in 2015-2016 is to develop a tool to help educate kids, from preschool through college, about cybersafety. We can’t wait. We need to do it now.”

– Interviewed by Leslie Mertz

Playing sports, being competitive, learning what it’s like to be on a team and honing your skills are things that have benefited me. I’ve had coaches and mentors in my professional life, personal life and sports life, and they’ve helped me become who I am and where I am today. I hope my efforts coaching my kids’ sports teams will have a similar impact on their lives.
— David Behen