Industry Insider California Member Briefing with the Department of Social Services Banner


This was an in-person exclusive briefing for Industry Insider – California members with the CIO of the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) whose mission is to serve, aid, and protect needy and vulnerable children and adults in ways that strengthen and preserve families, encourage personal responsibility, and foster independence.

The objectives of the Department are carried out through the 4,200 employees located in 51 offices throughout the state, the 58 county welfare departments, offices and a host of community-based organizations.  CDSS has an annual budget of $33 billion and an estimated IT budget of $1.2 billion.  Read more about CDSS here and a 2024 funding update here.

A message from our Keynote Speaker


Chad Crowe

Chad Crowe LinkedIn

Deputy Director and Chief Information Officer, California Department of Social Services (CDSS)

Chad has over 25 years of experience in the information technology field. Chad started his careers in private working as a consultant with several state departments and law enforcement agencies through the U.S. before deciding to join the state. In his career, he has worked as a programmer, software engineer, database administrator, business analyst, project manager, and was the CIO at the California Department of Human Resources for seven years prior to joining CDSS in 2022. Chad serves on serval boards and committees including the Industry Advisory Committee of the Computer Science Department at California State University, Sacramento.
Chad and his team were nationally recognized as a 2019 National State CIO (NASCIO) finalist for their efforts on the Examination & Certification Online System (ECOS) and CalCareers projects. Chad was also named the California CIO of the Year in 2020.

Gregory Nelson

Gregory Nelson

Chief Information Security & Privacy Officer, California Department of Social Services

Gregory Nelson assumed the role of Chief Information Security & Privacy Officer for CDSS in August 2020, bringing with him over two decades of extensive experience in risk management. With a robust background spanning 21 years, he has dedicated much of that time specifically to Information Technology, where he has excelled in diverse technical and analytical capacities.
Prior to his current position, Gregory distinguished himself in security leadership roles, notably as the Security Compliance Manager and Acting Chief Information Security Officer for the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. His leadership and strategic acumen have been instrumental in safeguarding critical information assets and ensuring regulatory compliance within complex organizational frameworks.
Gregory holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Management, underscoring his commitment to integrating business principles with technology solutions. Furthermore, he is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), a testament to his proficiency and dedication in the field of cybersecurity. Complementing his technical credentials, Gregory has augmented his expertise with a certification in Cybersecurity and Privacy Law from Mitchell Hamline School of Law, demonstrating his holistic understanding of the legal and regulatory landscape surrounding information security.
Throughout his career, Gregory Nelson has consistently demonstrated a passion for innovation, a commitment to excellence, and a steadfast dedication to fortifying the digital infrastructure against emerging threats. His multifaceted skill set and unwavering leadership make him an invaluable asset in the realm of information security and privacy.

Mike Wanser

Mike Wanser

Chief Technology Officer, California Department of Social Services (CDSS)

Mike Wanser became the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for CDSS in January 2023, bringing over 22 years of private and state government Information Technology (IT) experience.
Prior to joining CDSS, he began his state career as an application developer for the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). During his 15 years at DPR, Mike grew to take on various IT leadership roles from CTO to Chief Information Officer.
During his career, Mike gained a wide variety of experience in IT leadership, including directing and managing IT projects, implementing IT governance practices, partnering with program customers and counties to meet business goals and objectives, and implementing department-wide IT improvements. He has experience in a wide range of technical operations and organizational disciplines, including strategic planning, policy development, information security, team development, project management, software engineering, infrastructure management, legacy system modernization, and governance. He is very grateful for the amazing mentors he had over the years.
Prior to state service, as a government contractor, Mike developed complex application solutions for the California Department of Justice and law enforcement agencies throughout the United States. Mike grew up in Sacramento, graduating from CSUS with a degree in Computer Science in 2001.
Mike spends his spare time with his wife and four children, reading, playing video games, and walking (but most of the time goofing off with the kids or cleaning up messes).



Thursday, April 18

2:30 pm Pacific

Registration check-in

3:00 pm Pacific


4:15 pm Pacific

Member Mixer

Hilton Sacramento Arden West, Eagle/Berryessa Ballrooms

2200 Harvard Street
Sacramento, CA 95815

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Hilton Sacramento Arden West, Eagle/Berryessa Ballrooms

2200 Harvard Street
Sacramento, CA 95815