Inside Seven
Current Issue: April 2014
article
Employee Spotlight

New IT Chief Oscar Jarquin
by  Judy Gish
Issue Date: 07/2010

'Geek at Heart' offers a helping hand.

[Click on photos to read captions.]

You may not know him yet, but pretty soon recently appointed District 7 Office of Information Technology (IT) Chief Oscar Jarquin might become your new best friend (or at least someone you would want on speed dial).

Jarquin has assumed command of the IT office just as the Department is transitioning into a new financial management system, including the new coding structure Enterprise Resource Planning Financial InfraStructure (E-FIS).

Although E-FIS has a dedicated hotline in Sacramento, it might be expected that those in the early stages of the new learning curve could end up throwing themselves upon an IT specialist here in the district.

Jarquin acknowledges that the transition will be challenging, but advises employees to focus on the benefits of the new system, which ultimately will allow the Department to be an even better steward of state resources.

The system was developed in response to feedback from various funding agencies that the Department become better able to track exactly where money provided by multiple sources was being spent, Jarquin said. “Coding changes will be painful at first but it will allow us to provide better and more specific accounting.”

Jarquin was born in Costa Rica near a coffee plantation, moving to the U.S. when he was 10. He started his Caltrans life as a land surveyor, the fourth generation of his family to work in that field. He worked here in District 7 from 1992 until 2002 and then went to Sacramento as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Program Chief. In 2008, he moved over to IT. “I am a geek at heart, like a lot of engineers,” he said.

But how many geeks are also pilots? Jarquin, a former Marine, flies a small Cessna and has been a pilot for about 15 years. There are many pilots in his family, he said, recounting a story of flying with his uncle when he was six years old. The uncle landed his plane on the road to help a woman change a tire, and then flew away. “Flying is very peaceful,” he said. “It’s very relaxing to get up in the air away from everything. There’s nothing like it.”

He is excited to be piloting District 7 IT at this challenging time and wants to focus on developing and employing technology to solve business problems. Because his background includes both engineering and technology, he believes he can provide a broad perspective.

Jarquin doesn’t see any procedural changes in the works but does want his 40-staff office to focus on building relationships and being a good partner. “I’m here to serve all Caltrans employees with their technology needs,” he said, adding that he “loves to help people.” We’re guessing he will have ample opportunities in the near future.