Meet Jason Schneider, the State of Alaska’s newest member of the Walker Administration. His job title is “Innovation Stakeholder Change Manager.”
You’ve not heard of this? It’s kind of a secret.
Schneider, a surfer originally from California, was over the winter hired away from his job as the executive director of the Marquette, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, where he worked for the past three years. Marquette is a small town on the shore of Lake Superior, population 21,000.
In addition to starting the Chamber of Commerce there, he has also been a wedding and event photographer for 17 years. He has run a coffee shop and he likes rock climbing. Schneider has a B.S. in economics from Northern Michigan University.
Schneider announced he was leaving his Michigan job in February, and the local Marquette media reported it at the time, but he would not reveal to them where he was moving to or what the new job was. It was a secret.
In an interview in March with a Marquette blog, he said his duties were still being worked out, but he still wasn’t ready to say where he was going. It was still confidential — he couldn’t talk about it.
Last week, word was out in Marquette: He had been hired by the State of Alaska as the chief “innovation stakeholder change manager officer,” with his start-date in May.
Must Read Alaska has submitted a public records request for his duties, chain of command, and pay. He’s stationed in Juneau in the Department of Administration and he’s clearly enjoying his life in Juneau so far, according to social media. But it’s only been a couple of weeks in the belly of the beast that is state bureaucracy.
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz also hired a change agent in his administration. Brendan Babb is the municipality’s “Chief Innovation Officer.”
The role of Chief Innovation Officer is a new thing in bureaucracies, but it’s clearly trending. Usually the role is associated with technological advancements and how to modernize data systems.