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Sasi Pillay named CIO of the year

Sasi Pillay standing outside on the WSU Pullman campus.
Sasi Pillay

Sasi Pillay, vice president of Information Technology Services and chief information officer, was recently named ORBIE CIO of the Year in the category of enterprise for organizations over $800 million annual revenue. Pillay was recognized at the 2022 CIO of the Year® ORBIE® Awards in June.

SeattleCIO is one of 25 chapters within the InspireCIO Leadership Network, a national membership organization comprised exclusively of CIOs from public and private businesses, government, education, healthcare, and nonprofit institutions. 

“Every organization is technology-dependent, but strong leadership is the X-factor that can turn mundane IT into a remarkable strategic differentiator,” said BJ Moore, SeattleCIO chair. “The ORBIE Awards are meaningful because they are judged by peers — CIOs who understand the challenges of technology leadership.”

During the pandemic, Pillay and his ITS team were actively involved in the deployments of Workday and the Learning Management System, Canvas, as well as the design and implementation of the loaner laptop program supporting the transition to remote learning and teaching. During this time, an individualized degree plan for every WSU student was also implemented.

“Every organization is technology-dependent, but strong leadership is the X‑factor that can turn mundane IT into a remarkable strategic differentiator.”

BJ Moore
SeattleCIO chair

“WSU is fortunate to have Dr. Pillay leading ITS,” said President Kirk Schulz. “The work he has done with his team has allowed us to improve internal processes across the system.”

Some current projects include collaboration on the WSU Data Initiative which will make curated data available more broadly and securely, the transition of the Student Information System from Oracle to Amazon Web Services (AWS), and the redesign of IT service management to better serve the WSU students, faculty, and staff.

In his prior position with NASA, Pillay was the recipient of NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal, the Outstanding Leadership Medal, and the Presidential Rank Award recognizing him as a Meritorious Executive in the U.S. federal government.  Recently, he was also inducted into the CIO Hall of Fame.

“WSU’s technology, data, and security needs are a team effort,” shared Pillay. “The advancements made over the past six years required a tremendous amount of work on the parts of all our staff and partners across the university. This award is an acknowledgment of everyone working together.”

SeattleCIO is one of 25 chapters within the InspireCIO Leadership Network, a national membership organization comprised exclusively of CIOs from public and private businesses, government, education, healthcare, and nonprofit institutions. 

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