At last year's CIO of the Year event, most conversations were about how IT leaders effectively guided their organizations through the pandemic and earned finalist status.

Times have changed since then, and the pandemic is barely mentioned in casual conversations with the 2024 CIO of the Year finalists.

It's been a year of transition for Kathleen Lovett, vice president and chief information officer at VSP Vision. She was a finalist both years.

The rise of ChatGPT into the mainstream, combined with her expanded role at the company, pushed the risks of Covid technology into her rearview mirror.

“With emerging technologies, it's really important to understand the outcomes we're trying to drive because that tells us what tools we need to pull from our toolbox,” Lovett said. Masu.

As non-IT personnel within her organization began experimenting with new AI tools, she expanded the activities of her technical team, working directly with internal customers to come up with the right solutions, and helping customers deliver the right solutions. I now have more responsibility for making sure that I'm doing the right thing. It’s about using AI effectively, responsibly, ethically and safely.

This topic was discussed among both experienced CIOs and rising stars at the awards ceremony held at the Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh on Thursday, April 18th. In the Rising Star category, Madison Oliver co-received the 2024 award.

Madison Oliver, GitHub

Oliver manages the technical team at GitHub's Security Lab, a Microsoft-owned company that helps more than three-quarters of the world's software developers manage their software projects.

Oliver's team is one of 20 Pittsburgh employees at the remote-first, California-based company, and they're not only focused on the security of their own company. They are focused on making sure their users are aware of security threats that may impact the code their customers keep on their GitHub systems.

Oliver, who spent his early career in the CERT department at Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute, focusing on vulnerabilities in computer systems, now believes that a large part of his job is that security is just an IT department job. Instead, it's about convincing people that this is what IT departments do. It's part of everyone's job description.

The 2024 Chief Information Officer and Chief Information Security Officer honors were awarded from among 36 finalists in seven categories.

This year, we have a new category: Technology Pioneers. This category was added to honor people with at least 16 years of technology experience who are “conquering, navigating, and leveraging the power of technology in their everyday roles.” They may not have reached the CIO level yet, said Jonathan Kersting, vice president of communications and media at the Pittsburgh Technology Council, which sponsors the award.

Rachael Afolabi, founder of Paradigm Global Innovations, is a finalist in the new category. Unlike many of the others on the list who are part of large organizations, she is a solopreneur who works with restaurants to integrate technology into their processes, and her audience is able to identify knowledge gaps. He explains that many people have problems and can fill them.

Clayton Mathis, director of IT at Pittsburgh-based Seegrid, is a finalist in the Rising Star category, with notable IT experience at Bossa Nova Robotics, Carnegie Robotics, UPMC, and RAND, but I started my career at AOL Tech Support. He became better at identifying problems and communicating solutions.

David Reed, vice president of IT at Maxim Crane Works, runs a team that supports IT, logistics and security for 3,000 employees, 2,300 vehicles (cranes) and 10,000 tractor trailers.

Law firms were well represented this year, led by Rising Star finalist Chris Kosek, head of enterprise applications at K&L Gates. Scott Angelo, his CIO at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, won in his CIO megabyte category. They shared that digital literacy is important for lawyers in the age of AI. Angelo said his company is also looking into commercializing some of the technology developed by his team.

The 2024 CIO Choice Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Charles Bartel, vice president of IT and CIO at Duquesne University.

2024 CIO of the Year Winners

Category: CIO – MB


scott angelo Buchanan, Ingersoll, Rooney


Paul Allison, Penn State University

Jim Dye, Cochran Automotive Group

Adam Gannett, Busy Beaver Building Center

Larry Trenga, Wesley Family Services

Category: CIO – Gigabyte


Tushar RobarekarCoppers

jack smithHermes Federation


Lisa Biondi, System 1

David Reid, Maxim Crane

Eng Tan, automated medical system

Category: CIO – Terabyte


Bhaskar Ramachandran,PPG


Chris Carmody, UPMC Information Services Department

Christine Johns, PNC Financial Services

Kathleen Lovett, VSP Vision

Category: CISO – Gigabyte


Dennis CarsonPennsylvania State University


Brian Abercrombie, TeleTracking Technologies

Tony Clance, Seton Hill University

Category: CISO – Terabyte


john o'rourke,PPG


Derek Brown, EQT

Sam Merrell, Kennametal

Pete Zwierzynski, Coppers

Category: Technology Pioneer


Janine PelletinBaldwin-Whitehall School District

julie ploughUPMC Corporate Services


Rachel Afolabi, Paradigm Global Innovations

Ebony Dendy, University of Pittsburgh

Jorge Guajardo Merchan, Bosch Research + Technology Center

Sondra Hunter, Tech Savvy Consultants

Crystal Morgan, UPMC

Frank Pascoe, Coppers

Category: Rising Star


Chris BelascoCity of Pittsburgh

Madison OliverGitHub


Daniel Elliott, Wilson Group

Chris Kosek, K&L Gates

Clayton Mathis, Sigrid

John Euler, Reed Smith

Brian Stein, Coppers

2024 CIO Choice Lifetime Achievement Award

charles bartellDuquesne University

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