Gov. Justice thanks CIO Josh Spence for his service; announces appointment of Heather Abbott as State’s Chief Information Officer



CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice announced today that the current West Virginia State Chief Information Officer, Josh Spence, will transition to a role in the private sector, effective July 28, 2023.

"Please join me in wishing Josh all the best in the next chapter of his career," Gov. Justice said. "Josh is a superstar who's not only served as our state CIO but also actively serves in the WV Air National Guard as a cyber operations officer. He's done incredible work as our first appointed state CIO leading the Office of Technology and modernizing our state's technology, and I know that he will continue to do incredible work wherever his career takes him."

Gov. Justice also announced the appointment of Heather Abbott as Chief Information Officer, effective July 29, 2023.

"I'm proud to appoint Heather to this role, and I am confident she will do a wonderful job," Gov. Justice added. "I hope everyone will join me in welcoming her to this role later this month."
About Josh Spence:

Josh Spence served as the state's first appointed CIO, following legislation creating the office. He has 23 years of devoted service in the WV Air National Guard, where he is currently serving as a cyber operations officer assigned to the State Headquarters.

Championing the first cyber laws in the state, he established the Cybersecurity Office rooted in robust cyber risk management principles. During his stewardship, the state fortified its cyber defense capabilities, thereby strengthening the state's resilience to digital threats. 

Josh has been instrumental in implementing strategic technology governance, a major shift signified by his pioneering role's change in title from CTO to CIO. His transformative leadership has overhauled and modernized the state's enterprise technology services agency - the West Virginia Office of Technology. Throughout his tenure, he has empowered state agencies to leverage modern technologies, revamp contract and procurement practices, and improve service delivery through strengthened inter-agency relationships. 

Furthermore, he oversaw significant infrastructure modernizations, including new data center capabilities, upgraded mainframe services, and enhanced network resiliency. These infrastructure advancements have significantly improved the delivery of vital state services and strengthened the overall technological capacity of the state.

Under his leadership, West Virginia has received national recognition for its efforts in technology innovation, most notably for connected infrastructure. 

About Heather Abbott:

Heather Abbott is a graduate of the WV Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Management Information Systems and a Bachelor of Business Management.

Bringing 27 years of public service experience to this role, she started her IT career with the WV Department of Transportation right out of college. She has held multiple IT management positions over the years also working for the Dept of Health and Human Services, and the West Virginia Office of Technology (WVOT).

For the past 5 years, Heather has held the role of Chief Operations Officer for the WVOT. She is experienced in multiple areas of IT and over the years has assisted with IT operations throughout WV State Government.


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