Following a nationwide search, Park University has found its next chief information officer in its own backyard. David Whittaker, a Kansas City, Mo., native and graduate of Oak Park High School, has been selected as CIO. He begins his duties at Park on Monday, Jan. 11, the first day of the Spring 2016 semester at the University.
“We are very excited to have someone with Dave’s background and experience,” said Matthew Van Hoesen, chief financial officer at Park and a member of the University’s CIO search committee. “He understands the direction that technology needs to take in higher education, and his vision aligns well with what the University is trying to accomplish through its network of campuses.”
In his position as chief information officer, Whittaker is charged with ensuring that the University’s technology applications, networks, telecommunications and data security meet the current and future needs of the University. Whittaker will be a member of the University’s executive leadership team and will lead approximately 30 staff that oversee all aspects of information technology, including evaluation, acquisition, placement, programming, maintenance, storage, backup and data security.
“I am excited to be joining an institution with such an excellent reputation within the community,” Whittaker said. “The information technology services team at Park will be instrumental in ensuring the success of the University in the years to come, and I look forward to working with an excellent group.”
Whittaker has spent the last 18 years with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, most recently as chief information security officer and director of the Office of the CIO since 2013. Between 2005 and 2013, Whittaker served as a director in a trio of areas within BCBSKC — director of strategic planning (2010-13), director of application development, integration and database administration (2008-10) and director of data center operations (2005-08). He also served the organization as an enterprise architect (2004-05) and as senior programmer analyst/web architect (1997-2004). Whittaker began his professional career as a lead software analyst for Black and Veatch at its Kansas City, Mo., office, from 1991-97.
Whittaker, who grew up in Gladstone, Mo., earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Baker University, Baldwin City, Kan. He also received a Bachelor of Science degree in systems and data processing from William Jewell College, Liberty, Mo.
Whittaker and his wife, Juli, have been married for 26 years and they have two children who attend Park Hill High School: Alicia, a senior, and Tim, a junior. Whittaker’s hobbies include mountain climbing, weight lifting, distance running, and comic book collecting, and he is a pulp-era science fiction and horror enthusiast. In addition, Whittaker and his son participate in trap shooting leagues and this past spring, they assisted a Grain Valley, Mo., man attain a Guinness World Record for the most targets shot in an hour (3,653). Along with his daughter, he also enjoys art and comic conventions, Miyazaki films, and binge-watching Netflix superhero programs.