Tony Opheim named ITS vice president and chief information officer

Tony Opheim Vice President & Chief Information Officer
Tony Opheim: Vice President & Chief Information Officer

Following a six-month stint as interim vice president and chief information officer of WSU Information Technology Services, Tony Opheim is taking on the role in a permanent capacity.

Opheim’s first official day leading ITS without the interim distinction is today, Aug. 1.

“Having grown up in land grant institutions and with this being what I wanted to do since I was 12, it’s an honor and a privilege to be in this position,” he said. “My organization and I are here to serve this vital institution, to make sure students are able to grow and thrive as well as ensure instructional and research faculty have the tools and infrastructure they need to do their important work.”

Since arriving at WSU in January 2012 as associate vice president for infrastructure, Opheim’s priority has been working to improve communication and trust between campus units and departments in addition to modernizing the university’s networking systems and LAN technology.

Slowly but surely in the years that followed, ITS gained ground on all fronts. Gone are the archaic mainframe and aging network and in their place a modern high speed network and intranet. The department has also built bridges to help reinforce the ITS role as an approachable resource for all throughout the WSU system.

While serving as interim head of ITS, the department was realigned to report to the Office of Finance and Administration, having previously reported to the Office of the President. It’s a move that Opheim aims to make seamless on the day-to-day front, and one that better prepared WSU for the significant cybersecurity threats it’s faced in recent months through close alignment with risk management.

“Working with Tony directly these past few months made it clear to me that he is able to respond to the significant IT challenges we face, and I’m grateful he’s agreed to continue in the permanent role,” Leslie Brunelli, executive vice president of Finance and Administration and chief financial officer for WSU, said.

With WSU continuing to work toward implementation of the OneWSU system, Opheim and ITS are addressing the university’s information technology governance structure and assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of IT services across the WSU system, including cyber security threat management. Setting these priorities came about after an external review of ITS was completed by Huron Consulting, the first such review in nearly three decades. ITS will also examine its management structure to ensure operational efficiency and reduce overhead, Opheim said.