ETS Appoints Iowa Businessman to Advanced Technology Role
- Tom Ewing
- Tom Ewing
Princeton, N.J. (March 2, 2011) —
Richard J.H. Varn, former Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the City of San Antonio, has been named a Distinguished Presidential Appointee at Educational Testing Service (ETS) in the Center for Advanced Technologies and Neuroscience. He will provide strategic vision to help shape ETS's use of advanced technologies and neuroscience to improve educational assessment in the future.
Varn served with the City of San Antonio since May of 2007. Previously, he was a small business entrepreneur and started his own consulting company in Iowa. Founded in 1988, RJV Consulting serves public and private sector clients in the areas of information technology, business strategy, innovation, education and public policy.
"We've experienced Richard's capabilities in his role on our Board of Trustees and we're excited he'll now be applying that expertise at ETS fulltime," says Kurt M. Landgraf, President and CEO of ETS. "His role promotes the highest level of 'futurist thinking' at ETS in the technological and neuroscientific realms, so that we continue to innovate and remain at the forefront of our field."
In his position as a Distinguished Presidential Appointee, Varn will collaborate with ETS Chief Strategy Officer Scott Weaver, the Office of the President, and other senior leaders to ensure that ETS remains vigilant and proactive in monitoring emerging technologies, business challenges and societal needs, and anticipating opportunities in possible disruptive and sustaining innovations. In addition, he will also provide support for ETS's workforce readiness initiatives.
"ETS is a global leader in education assessment and innovation," says Varn. "It wants to remain a leader and believes that timely adoption of new technology is a critical part of maintaining its leadership role and improving education equity and assessment quality. I am eager to be a part of such an exciting field with a great company."
Varn's first career was in public service, beginning in 1978 at the University of Iowa and continuing in 1981 as a state legislative aide. He went on to win elected office in 1982 at the age of 24 and served as an Iowa State Representative for four years and as an Iowa State Senator for eight years. During that time, he was twice elected Majority Whip and chaired numerous committees, including the Education Appropriations, Communications and Information Policy, Human Services Appropriations, and Judiciary Committees.
He was the first Iowa legislator to install and use a computer in the Iowa legislative chambers. He left the legislature in 1994 to teach and serve as Director of Telecommunications and IT Production Services at the University of Northern Iowa. There he led a successful reorganization of the technology departments and created numerous innovative e-learning programs.
Varn returned to state government in 1999 to create the state's first Information Technology Department. He served as its first Director and as the state's first CIO. Iowa's IT Department quickly gained a reputation for innovative and efficient use of information technology to deliver solutions to government and its citizens. He returned to full-time consulting in 2002.
In 2007, he was appointed as the city of San Antonio's Chief Information Officer and helped the city replace and modernize its IT infrastructure, software and systems. He also oversaw the Office of Environmental Policy and was involved in the development of the city's green initiatives known as Mission Verde. As an avid cyclist, Varn was also tasked with improving San Antonio's bike friendliness and launched several innovative programs to improve cycling safety and accessibility.
He has received numerous awards and recognition for his public service on behalf of education, fiscal reform, libraries, student financial aid, distance learning, human services, process innovation and government management. His technology honors include being named twice to the Federal 100, winning the National Association of State Chief Information Officers Outstanding Achievement Award, and helping San Antonio win its first ranking as one of the Center for Digital Government's Top Ten Digital Cities in 2009 and improve its standing in the top ten in 2010. He is an internationally recognized expert and leader in innovation, information technology, privacy, identity security, public policy and digital government.
At nonprofit ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, as well as conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series™ assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide. www.ets.org