Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Sunday, February 28, 2021
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Open Source Luminary Tapped By Incoming Biden-Harris White House for Tech Post 

Open source software leader David Recordon, who built Facebook’s first open source programs team and has long been involved in a wide range of open source community projects, has been named as the director of technology for the incoming Biden-Harris White House.

Recordon, 34, who has been serving recently as the deputy chief technology officer for the Biden-Harris transition team, has been working as the vice president for infrastructure and security for the non-profit Chan Zuckerberg Initiative since March of 2018.

David Recordon

His new role as director of technology in the White House will be through the Office of Management and Administration, according to an announcement by the transition team this week.

Recordon’s background in open source software is broad, including work on the OAuth 1.0 specification, the OpenID project, HipHop for PHP, the Open Compute Project and the Open Graph Protocol.

This won’t be Recordon’s first work within the U.S. government. From 2015 to 2017 he served in the Obama-Biden administration through the U.S. Digital Service before being appointed as the first Director of White House Information Technology. His teams led massive cybersecurity, efficiency, and modernization efforts in the White House as part of that work.

"I’m honored to have the opportunity to join the Biden-Harris administration’s White House senior team and am excited to both rebuild past and create new relationships with the incredible teams of career civil servants, active duty military members, and intelligence professionals who make technology work day in and day out for such an important set of missions," Recordon wrote in a statement on his LinkedIn page. "The pandemic and ongoing cybersecurity attacks present new challenges for the entire Executive Office of the President, but ones I know that these teams can conquer in a safe and secure manner together."

Positive Reactions in the Community

Recordon is highly-regarded in the world of open source, many of his colleagues told EnterpriseAI.

“We know and love David,” said Jim Zemlin, the long-time executive director of The Linux Foundation. “He is a wonderful choice for the White House. David knows through direct experience in open source that in order to solve problems we need to work together. We need more of that in Washington.”

Deborah Bryant of Red Hat

Deborah Bryant, the senior director of the open source program office at Red Hat and a board member of the non-profit Open Source Initiative (OSI), called Recordon’s appointment great news for the White House.

“Our paths crossed numerous times when I worked as public sector communities manager [at Red Hat] and was producing the Government Open Source Conference at Oregon State University,” said Bryant. “He was a great person to work with; bright and creative, kind, well-respected in the open source community for his many accomplishments and contributions. More than just technically gifted, he was a thoughtful creator and inspiration for others working with him on ground-breaking public benefit initiatives.”

Another well-known open source community leader, strategy consultant and author, Jono Bacon, said he met Recordon briefly several years ago. “I don't know him especially well, but what I do know about him is that he is a great guy, well-qualified, and has been a tremendous leader in technology. I have been following his career, and I think [his appointment] is well-earned, well-deserved, and great for our country.”

Broad Technology Background

Before joining the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Recordon worked for Facebook from 2017 to 2018 where he led hardware and software engineering teams, and from 2009 to 2015 when he led teams that built the core communication and information tools for the company outside of its Facebook product itself. He developed the initial Facebook for Work product strategy and served as the engineering lead for bootcamp, supporting all new engineers joining the company to help them ramp up culturally and technically within the company.

While working as the open platforms tech lead for Six Apart from 2007 to 2009, he co-authored the OAuth 1.0 specification and spoke at numerous conferences including ApacheCon, Future of Web Apps, O’Reilly OSCON, Webstock, and Web 2.0 Expo. As a software engineer with Verisign from 2006 to 2007, Recordon worked heavily on the OpenID project and helped create the non-profit OpenID Foundation as a founding board member.

He was the youngest recipient of the Google and O’Reilly Open Source Award in 2007 for his work on OpenID, according to his LinkedIn page.

In his work for the Obama White House, Recordon took on his then-newly-created role to be responsible for all technology systems used by the White House with a goal of converging duplicative systems, driving sorely needed modernization, hiring leadership roles such as the first CISO, and establishing policies and programs to create a unified technology strategy and budget across multiple civilian and military organizations.

Deputy Director of Technology Also Named

Austin Lin

Serving as Recordon’s deputy director of technology will be Austin Lin, who presently serves within the Biden-Harris transition team and also worked with Recordon as the lead for the security and IT systems teams at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. He also previously served as a technical program manager on Facebook’s infrastructure team. During the Obama-Biden administration, Lin served in multiple operations and technology roles including as deputy director of information technology and associate director for operations.

The new White House technology leaders will play an important role in restoring faith across the federal government by encouraging collaboration to further secure American cyber interests, according to the transition team.

“Our nation is facing urgent challenges, and we are building a team that will be ready to tackle them on day one,” said President-elect Joe Biden in a statement. “In addition to working with organizations and communities, these accomplished public servants sit at the forefront of collaboration across the administration. They will lead initiatives ranging from developing policies and processes, to ensuring our cyber security needs are met with a whole of government response. Together, they fuel the everyday work to build our nation back better than before. I’m proud to have them serve the American people in the White House.”

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