Rusty Pickens, an East Central University computer science graduate and Chickasaw Nation citizen, will present the Lou Watkins Lecture at noon on Friday, Nov. 10, in Foundation Hall of the Chickasaw Business and Conference Center.
The lecture, being offered in conjunction with the Oklahoma Political Science Association Annual Meeting, is free and open to the public. A luncheon will take place prior to the lecture. For lunch reservations contact Christine Pappas at firstname.lastname@example.org by Nov. 1.
Lunch is $10 for those attending the conference while the general public is free.
Pickens, originally from Stonewall, Oklahoma, will be speaking on using technology in political campaigns and government. The talk will particularly touch on computer science, politics and the use of social media.
As a public servant and proven technology leader, Pickens possesses over 18 years of experience in aligning organizational priorities and vision with technology strategies across top federal agencies and within startup environments impacting more than 18,000 stakeholders.
During his career, Pickens has advised on complex issues and executed innovative solutions nationwide worth more than $64 million while exercising fiscal responsibility in procurement and budget strategies.
Pickens served at the U.S. Department of State as the senior advisor for Digital Platforms where he implemented cloud computing solutions which empower a 21st-century public diplomacy strategy. He oversaw operations and development teams to quickly deliver software products and improve engagement, impacting thousands of public affairs staff and tens of thousands of foreign citizens interacting with American diplomats globally.
“In that role, I focused on implementing sustainable cloud computing strategy, improving software development practices with agile and adopting open source approaches to increase public engagement and more effectively deliver President Obama and Secretary Kerry’s foreign policy message across multiple digital mediums,” Pickens said.
Prior to his role with the U.S. Department of State, highlights include working within the
federal government at the White House as acting director of New Media Technology at the U.S.
Small Business Administration during the economic recovery as technology advisor to administrator Karen Mills at the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee, the Obama for America Campaign in Pennsylvania in 2008 and the tribal government with the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma.
Pickens is also the founder of 580 Strategies, a digital technology company.
The purpose of the lectureship, which honors Lou Watkins, former chair of ECU's political science department, is to bring recognized authorities to ECU to address subjects of public interest at the local, state or national level.
Watkins taught at ECU from 1980 until 1991 when she and her husband, former U.S. Rep. Wes Watkins, moved from Ada. She is president of World Export Services Inc. and is a member of the Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges.