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Washington State University Modernization Team

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Senior Leadership Team

Sasi Pillay

Vice President of Information Technology Services and Chief Information Officer

Dr. Sasi Pillay serves as the Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Washington State University (WSU).  In this role he oversees the computing infrastructure of foundational technologies and research computing, working in collaboration with his constituents.  He is also responsible for telecommunications, local area and wide area networking and IT Security.  He led the development of roadmaps for Academic and Research Computing, Administrative and Business Computing and for Foundational Technologies.  He has improved the service delivery of the IT organization, by instituting change management, architectural review and project management.  In addition, his team is involved in improving IT Security across all of WSU campuses and has recently deployed a Security Operations Center and a Network Operations Center. At present, he is active in implementing WSU network backbone to connect all campuses together to improve systematic security and services.

Previously he served as the Associate Vice President and Chief Information Officer of the University of Wisconsin System comprising 26 campuses.  In this role, he was responsible for the leadership and guidance of a broad portfolio of enterprise technology operations including broadband networking, major academic and business applications, library automation and adoption of strategic new technologies that will add value to the University of Wisconsin System for instruction, research, learning and public service.  He has led the creation of a Strategic Intent Document working closely with the Campus CIOs, initiated a working group to recommend and create a Unified Communication and Collaboration framework and worked on improving IT Security with the help of Campus IT professionals.  He has also initiated the formation of a System wide Data Governance Council and an Innovation Fund to help introduce and infuse new ideas into the System.

Earlier he served as the Chief Technology Officer for Information Technology (IT) at National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA).  In this capacity, he directed how promising technologies are developed, evaluated and integrated into mainstream IT services at the Agency.  To facilitate innovation, he set up two programs, Open Innovation and IT Labs.  These programs have been heralded as model in government and have received several national awards.  He also had the responsibility for managing Enterprise Architecture, Open Government activities and the dissemination of Scientific and Technical Information for the Agency.  Previously, he served as the Chief Information Officer at the NASA John H. Glenn Research Center for 15 years.  In this regard, Dr. Pillay had a broad scope of responsibility including managing administrative telecommunications, networking, desktop computing, several key administrative applications, computer modeling and simulation, and high-end computing and visualization.  Under his leadership, NASA Glenn served as the lead for NASA for the development of Agency-wide standards and architecture for end user devices and systems with a focus on security, interoperability, and collaboration.  He was also responsible for NASA Glenn saving nearly $8 million annually through standardization, consolidation and outsourcing of end user devices and services while improving customer satisfaction and other service metrics.  These savings continue to accrue over the years.  He also implemented and promoted a collaboration environment resulting in improved productivity and reduced expenses across multiple disciplines comprising of over 200 workgroups.

Dr. Pillay is the recipient of NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal and the Outstanding Leadership Medal.  He is also the recipient of the Presidential Rank Award recognizing him as a Meritorious Executive in the U.S. federal government.  He was recognized as one of the Federal 100 winners based on his positive impact on NASA and the community.   He was also named as one of the top 25 IT leaders in Government citing his technology vision, clout among peers in other agencies, and for the ability to show concrete results.  He was recognized as the CIO of the Year by the North East Ohio Software Association in 2008.

Dr. Pillay received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Engineering from Case Western Reserve University.  He also has a Master’s degree in Management of Technology from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.