Vermont Implementing New eProcurement Solution . . . But Where’s CTO Tom Evslin?

Posted on September 2, 2010


On August 30th, 2010 the State of Vermont announced that they were implementing an “eProcurement System for Vermont procurement and purchasing,” which according to expectations will go live in early 2011.  (Source: GOVMONITOR)

On August 31st, 2010 in a News Release, the State announced that “Chief Technology Officer Tom Evslin to Retire from State Government.”  (Source: website)

Now I want to make it clear right out of the gate that other than the timing of the announcements being interesting, these two events as far as I know are not related.  SO do not nominate me for the 2010 Oliver Stone paranoia award.

What is however interesting is the fact that given the incredibly high rate of eProcurement initiative failures within the public sector, the State would accept the retirement of someone with the seemingly impressive credentials of a Tom Evslin.

To start, here is an individual who came back from his initial retirement in the first place in March of 2009 to “oversee Vermont’s use of stimulus funds and applications for competitive stimulus grants.”  According to Governor Jim Douglas, the 67 year old Evslin brought the  “extraordinary talents,” that  was “critical” in the State’s successful deployment of  “hundreds of millions of dollars in federal stimulus money quickly and transparently.”  Put a check mark in the Procurement expertise column.

The News Release then went on to say that “Before his first retirement, Tom Evslin and his wife, Mary, founded several successful technology companies and he was one of the pioneers of VoIP technology.”  The enterprising Evslin it was also noted “wrote a novel and a popular blog,” and he is an “inventor on eight granted US patents.”  Put another check in the technological “know-how” column.

Finally, and this is the icing on the proverbial cake . . . the Governor then made the statement that ““Tom’s ability to think outside-the-box and envision creative solutions to any problem has made him the ideal fit as state government has had to adjust its approach during the Great Recession.”  Ring the bell, we have a winner!

In fact after visiting Evslin’s Blog “Fractals of Change” and watching his interview on Vermont Public Television’s Profile with Host Fran Stoddard, I would imagine that the Governor was less than enthusiastic about this second retirement.

The fact that Evslin, at his own request mind you, worked for minimum wage, which he then returned to the State is a clear indication of someone who is dedicated to serving Vermont and would therefore be an invaluable resource in keeping the new eProcurement initiative on track.

But what do I know about Vermont business!  I live north of the 49th in a country which has a “buck-toothed rodent” as its national animal, a deep love of ice hockey and, the tendency to let the occasional “eh” slip out while I am on the air.

Still, keeping a Tom Evslin in the loop seems to make mighty good sense . . . EH!

By the way, check out the following video excerpt of the interview with Evslin in which he discusses leadership:


Posted in: Commentary