For Rob Lloyd, career success doesn’t just boil down to a paycheck, job title, or pension. It’s defined by a mission of growth, teamwork, and service.
“I think everyone owes at least two years of service to their community,” Lloyd says. “Maybe that’s in the military, teaching, or working for the government, but very little connects us to the fabric of our civics anymore.”
This mission is part of why Lloyd decided to get his Masters of Business Administration in 1999 at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. It’s also why he has dedicated himself to government work for more than 20 years and is currently serving as the Chief Information Officer for the City of San Jose, California.
Born to a military family and raised around the world, attending seven different high schools before graduating in Hawaii and going to Beloit College in Wisconsin, Lloyd was taught the importance of having a compass in one’s pursuits.
“When you grow up in a military family you get oriented to a ‘mission centric’ culture,” Lloyd says. “Early in my career, I said I’m going to look for a cause I can really identify with, a boss I can learn from, and a team I can connect with.”
After graduating, Lloyd set out to be a doctor and began an internship at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. There, he realized that the medicine wasn’t for him, but technology was.
“I created some applications to process all of our data and that skillset carried me into another internship at the City of Colorado Springs.”
With his knack for using emerging technology to make sense of data, Lloyd was hired as a Planning Manager for Colorado Springs’ growing IT department and, to take his career further, he decided to get his Masters of Business Administration at UCCS.
“I chose UCCS and its MBA because it had an Informational Systems emphasis,” Lloyd remembers. “I knew I could use that to weave together a strong technology organization.”
From the knowledge and perspective he gained throughout the MBA program, Lloyd applied to become the CIO of Colorado Parks and Wildlife and landed the high-level position, despite being just 27 years old.
From there, he headed to Ashland, Oregon to turn around the city’s deep, year-over-year deficit, then brought his skills to the City of Avondale, Arizona.
By 2016, Lloyd’s invaluable UCCS degree and years of experience made him the perfect CIO candidate for the City of San Jose.
Upon arriving in San Jose, which is the largest city in Silicon Valley with a growing population of more than 1 million people, Lloyd began overseeing 150 IT team members who keep more than 6,000 city employees stay connected, which has been especially hard with COVID-19.
For his service during the pandemic and otherwise, Lloyd’s received this year’s 2002 Bay Area ORBIE Award.
“I was kind of stunned because I didn’t expect to win,” Lloyd says.
To him, the award not only recognizes his work, but the dedication it takes to bring together technology and government for the greater good. As Lloyd explains, governments can begin working to give every citizen more with the right technology.
“One of the things we’re looking at is using it to give people equal chances at opportunity and success,” Lloyd says.
More than ever before, Lloyd believes that technology can give people better solutions when it comes to issues of housing, healthcare, transportation, and even education.
“All the great challenges right now can be helped by data and engagement,” Lloyd says. “If we commit to doing great things in the community, we have a chance to reverse the tide of frustration, pain, and anger that’s out there. It gives us a reality we can have ownership in.”
These objectives — of ownership and creating positive change for an entire city — might sound tough to accomplish, but they’re just part of Lloyd’s mission-first mentality.
Everything that his mission has brought him, from a supportive family, to amazing mentors, to a stellar career, makes the possibilities feel endless. Of course, it all started with a purpose, and a world-class education.
“We are still defining what ‘the new normal’ is going to be, but UCCS has shown that sense of community and improvement,” Lloyd concludes. “If there’s a good bet to make, it’s that UCCS is going to find a way to really help a lot of people.”