July 16, 2012 By Wayne Hanson
San Diego County CIO Harold Tuck received the Lifetime Achievement Award Saturday from the National Association of Counties (NACo) at NACo's annual conference in Pittsburgh. Tuck, who previously announced he will retire this month, has accumulated numerous honors, and was named one of Government Technology's "Doers, Dreamers and Drivers" of 2011.
San Diego County Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Helen N. Robbins-Meyer announced back in April that Tuck would retire in July, and acknowledged Tuck's many achievements. “Harold has been in more magazines than Kim Kardashian,” she joked. Tuck was the subject of numerous articles and videos focusing on San Diego’s groundbreaking IT outsourcing arrangement that began in 1999 with CSC and continues today with Hewlett-Packard.
Tuck -- in an upcoming special section on strategic sourcing (Government Technology Sept. 2012) -- discusses some key decisions regarding outsourcing. "Organizations need to be really honest about what their core competencies are," he said, "what they do well and what they don’t do well. And how is the organization able to replenish the bench, so to speak ... Technology obviously changes rapidly, new applications come out, and if you lose a key developer to a company, do you have the bench to replace that person? Do you have the ability to pay market rates for the positions that you have? And if the answers to those questions are no, then you need to strongly consider outsourcing."
Tuck would not comment on his plans following retirement, except to say that he would like to stay active in the technology world. "And I very much want to lend my experience to the minority community because there’s too few minorities in the science, technology, education and math field and so I will be volunteering some time working with middle school and high school students to get them interested in those fields so there is a greater pipeline of people for organizations to hire from.
"I’ve been blessed to work for an organization that conducts itself in a very focused and disciplined way," said Tuck, "that will allow us to do our jobs, because the resources are there. I will miss the people and the activity but I’m wired in such as way that I believe life is in chapters so I can move on without any regrets. And I believe that the technology and the support that we are getting from the vendor community that provide IT services to my team, are very much in a good spot. It’s the perfect time for me to retire."