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But when the internet began to take off, Waters’ job — and his life — would change forever.
The internet connected people in completely new ways.
Technology was a side passion — Waters smiles when describing his first computer, a Commodore VIC-20 — until the day he saw it save a child’s life by helping law enforcement pinpoint the location of a sexual predator.
Later, as the CIO of the State of Wyoming, Waters saw the impact technology could have on hundreds of thousands of citizens and state employees.
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It might sound absurd, especially coming from a CIO, but Flint Waters will tell you that digital transformation has never really been about technology. And Waters has seen firsthand how it can change lives. Raised on ranches in California and Wyoming, he spent seven years in active-duty military service before entering what would be a long and life-changing career in law enforcement.
But this particular offender mentioned something so horrifying that it stuck with Waters: the story of a mother using the internet to offer her two-year-old to abusers. “I said, ‘I think I have math that will justify a search warrant and rescue a child,’” Waters recalls. “Pretty soon, we were rescuing kids all over the world. It took off and just went crazy.”Waters didn’t intend to become a CIO. But he’d kept in touch with Mead, who was running for governor of Wyoming and would occasionally stop in to see Waters.
He faced the classic IT hornet’s nest of antiquated systems, entrenched employees, insufficient resources, and plenty of political distractions.