October 5, 2022
City Manager Karen Conard has selected Patricia Ainsworth, with more than 32 years’ experience in IT and systems technology, as the City’s first Chief Information Officer. Ms. Ainsworth’s starting date is October 11, 2022.
Ainsworth comes to the City after eight years at Salem State University, most recently as Chief Information Officer/Chief Information Security Officer CIO/CISO. She began her career with Verizon and spent over a decade there, including as the Alpha IV technical training program director and account executive serving educational institutions and municipal governments including the cities of Dover and Manchester. She then spent five years with the University of Vermont (UVM), first as Director Network Services and Telecommunications and then as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Project Director, leading a team of thirty University staff and 25 consultants to implement the $32 million PeopleSoft program covering UVM’s Human Resources, Finance, Grants, Budget and Procurement IT needs. In her subsequent two years as CIO for Mount Wachusett Community College she successfully transitioned their IT department from an outsourced to an in-house model designed to utilize college resources more effectively.
Ainsworth has held Information Systems Security Professional certification since 2006 as well as ITIL Foundations certification since 2015. She is a current member of FBI InfraGard, and was a member of the Information System Security Association and the NYNEX Association of Management Women. Ms. Ainsworth graduated from the State University of New York (SUNY) with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management Economics and a concentration in International Business and earned a Master of Arts in Policy with Business Emphasis from SUNY. Her thesis examined “The Impact of New Technologies on Workplace Training.” She is a resident of Eliot ME.
In making the announcement, City Manager Conard said, “The Mission of our City government is ‘to serve the residents, officials and departments with financial accountability, timely reporting of financial results, prudent cash management, effective public communication and information technology, by applying high standards of accountability and professionalism in all of the various department functions.’ As the City stands up our new, in-house Information Technology department, it is critical that we have a CIO with specific practical experience in shaping our technology infrastructure to meet the needs of citizens and the staff responsible for serving them. We all know from personal experience the frustration and inefficiencies that come from IT downtime. It is imperative that the City provides our residents with the best possible systems and information technology to facilitate the flow of information. I am delighted that Patricia Ainsworth is joining the team to lead our transition to a more efficient, more transparent and more cost-effective and secure information network.”
Ms. Ainsworth commented, “I am excited about the opportunity to guide the City of Portsmouth as we move into a more robust Information Technology capability by bringing key IT functions in-house. As a strategic thinker and planner, I have developed multi-year IT strategic plans which align with and support the organization as a whole. As with my most recent assignments for institutions of higher education, the City of Portsmouth government is an environment where collaboration and consensus-building with department heads, and the ability to explain technical issues to nontechnical executives, are critical for success. Both environments have centralized and decentralized IT staff who must work together seamlessly to ensure top notch service and the efficient use of resources. I look forward to accomplishing those goals as part of the City’s professional team.”
The FY23 City Budget includes funding for restructuring the oversight, management and technical support functions of the City’s IT system from an outsourced, managed-services provider model to a more robust in-house department. In addition to adding the Chief Information Officer, the staffing includes two support technicians and a producer. As the IT Department is staffed-up over time, the City will be able to reduce its reliance on an outsourced, managed services provider and provide for more strategic network planning. An in-house staff allows for improved coordination and training in the use of new and existing software across departments and platforms. This change will also improve IT security.