Tambellini Group Announces National Winners of 2021 Technology Leadership Awards

Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo and Alamo Colleges District Take Top Honors  

After receiving a record number of nominations from higher education institutions across North America, Tambellini Group is pleased to announce that Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo and the Alamo Colleges District in Texas are the 6th annual Tambellini Technology Leadership Award winners.  

William J. (Bill) Britton, the CIO and VP of Information Technology at Cal Poly, won the 2021 CIO Award. Alamo Colleges earned the Innovative Technology Team Award for their work led by Thomas Cleary, vice chancellor for planning, performance, accreditations, and information systems.  

Tambellini Group, the world’s leading independent technology research and advisory firm dedicated solely to higher education, created the Technology Leadership Awards to celebrate IT teams and leaders for their excellence in driving transformative modernization efforts.

“Institutions look to continuously improve their operations by adapting to the rapidly changing demands of today’s students, and the most successful ones are supported by strong technology leaders and teams,” says Vicki Tambellini, President and CEO of Tambellini Group.

“We are honored to elevate and reward Cal Poly and Alamo Colleges for their remarkable achievements in serving students and leading progress during an exceptionally challenging year for higher education.”

CIO Award Winner: William J. (Bill) Britton, California Polytechnic State U., San Luis Obispo  

In his five years as chief technologist at Cal Poly, Britton has led numerous ambitious modernization projects, including the university’s successful transition to a cloud-based campus data center, and the development of a Digital Transformation Hub (DxHub). The DxHub provides students and faculty with hands-on cloud technology development experience, and has built a collaborative international education network with 12 cloud innovation centers at universities in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Canada, and Australia.  

“I am honored to receive this award and feel fortunate to work with an incredible team at Cal Poly that has been instrumental in modernizing the university’s technology environment,” says Britton. “These efforts have allowed us to be more agile and responsive to the university’s needs, which is critical to the success of students, faculty and staff, especially now.”

Britton’s ability to accelerate ongoing implementations of cloud-based Learning Management Systems in March 2020 was instrumental in ensuring Cal Poly could swiftly scale virtual learning and meet the needs of its faculty and 22,000 students. Britton also serves as director of the California Cybersecurity Institute at Cal Poly.  

Innovative Technology Team Award: Alamo Colleges District  

The Alamo College District’s five colleges and eight regional centers are located across Texas’s San Antonio region, the most impoverished major metropolitan area in the U.S. The pandemic hit Alamo College’s 70,000 students particularly hard, as many come from low-income backgrounds and lacked adequate access to high-speed wifi and devices such as laptops.  

“Alamo’s IT department is comprised of a dedicated and engaged team of professionals who work tirelessly to support our organizational mission of student access and success,” says Cleary, the vice chancellor who led the IT team. “We know that without reliable connectivity to systems and solutions there can be no student learning or staff engagement ­– and our team never forgets that IT is in the business of student success.”  

Innovation including a “Park-n-Learn Strategy,” which brought free and fast wifi to campus parking lots at each of Alamo College’s 13 sites, benefited thousands of students weekly. Through a series of 10 targeted technology efforts for students and faculty, the technology team made heroic strides in swiftly meeting the numerous needs of their diverse community of learners.  

While community college enrollments fell by 9.4 percent nationally and 8.4 percent within Texas, Alamo Colleges bucked those trends: its Spring 2020 term course completion rate jumped to an all-time high of 92 percent, and annual enrollments in Fall 2020 increased 1 percent over the previous year.  

“On behalf of the board and the entire Alamo Colleges family, I am proud that the Alamo Colleges has been chosen as one of only two higher education institutions be honored with the 6th annual Tambellini Technology Leadership Award,” said Dr. Mike Flores, Alamo Colleges Chancellor. “This is the latest in a long line of national, state and local recognitions that reflect our dedication to performance excellence and particularly, our efforts to give our students the benefit of the latest and best technology to ensure their success.”

The IT team members included Roger Castro, District IT Director; Chris Delgado, Senior Manager of Networking; Louisa Martin, Director of Enterprise Reporting; Jesse Martinez, Senior Manager of Client Services; Pablo Morales, Senior Manager of Applications; and Arne Saustrup, Associate IT Director.  

More information about the awards and nomination process is available here.

About Tambellini Group   

The Tambellini Group is the leading independent technology research and advisory firm dedicated exclusively to higher education. Our trusted market advisors provide strategic guidance to institutional technology leaders, along with unbiased insights through our market-leading research.

Tambellini Group members benefit from more than 100 new research reports every year that provide insight and analysis on the changing technology landscape. Our unbiased expertise and resources help institutional leaders make fact-based decisions and build consensus for their technology strategies and selections.   

Founded in 2001, The Tambellini Group is a woman-owned business and a certified Great Places to Work® company for 2020–2021.   

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