New chief information officer for New York state: ‘Not bad for a ‘C’ student from Norfolk’

Norfolk

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — “Not bad for a ‘C’ student”: That’s what Angelo”Tony” Riddick has to say as he settles into his new job as the chief information officer for the State of New York.

Friends call him Tony, and WAVY-TV 10’s Regina Mobley is one of them. Tony Riddick and Regina graduated from Granby High School in 1979 and, years later in the 1990s, they became the first Black graduates inducted into the Granby High School Hall of Fame.

There’s also a double take.

The Riddick identical twins Angelo and Lorenzo were well-known in the halls of Granby High School where they were accomplished members of the football team and the NJROTC program. Both were destined for the officer ranks, where over the years Tony Riddick served in Germany, Korea, and Iraq, and The Pentagon. Lorenzo Riddick, the VIP pilot, served in Korea, Saudi Arabia, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Alabama.

(Photo courtesy: Angelo Riddick)

In 2008, Tony Riddick, a colonel, and their former NJROTC instructor Paul Evans presided over the retirement ceremony of twin brother Lt. Col. Lorenzo Riddick. Lorenzo Riddick is now the director of operations at Fort Eustis in Newport News.

Tony Riddick retired in 2014 and in 2016 he was named as the governor’s director of the Bureau of Information Technology and chief information officer of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In December 2020, Tony Riddick made history when he became the first Black chief information officer for the State of New York.

The twins have made their mother, Brenda Owen, of Hampton, proud over and over again.

The so-called “good” twin also reflected on Tony Riddick’s accomplishments, saying his brother is ready for the challenges in Albany.

“Tony has really worked hard to get to this position. His time in the Army and Virgin Islands as the CIO prepared him for almost anything. We are very proud, especially from such humble beginnings,” said Lorenzo Riddick.

The so-called “aggressive twin,” Tony Riddick, has advice for young Black men in his hometown.

“What I tell kids nowadays, I am living proof that a ‘C’ average can take you anywhere. All you have to do is have the aspirations and the energy and the will to do the things you want to do,” said TonyRiddick .

Tony Riddick is in charge of the information technology infrastructure and all communication equipment for New York.

“On the surface, I am responsible for the IT infrastructure for the State of New York and all communication that happens therein. [Also] database management, network infrastructure, and cybersecurity,” said Tony Riddick. He has a staff of 3,400 which includes a financial portfolio officer and a project manager.

After two months on the job, Tony Riddick was asked about whether he has identified the “unknown unknowns.”

“The unknowns are still the unknowns and it’s going to be a challenge with COVID going on right now; every day there is a new phenomenon,” Tony Riddick said.

The pandemic is only one of the threats facing the nation. Riddick is using his military-installed skills to take on different types of enemies including domestic terrorism and misinformation campaigns.

“Misinformation is probably the biggest threat right now, in my opinion, to this country; there are so many forms of media out there that people consume every day, and getting a handle on what’s real and not real is a new phenomenon,” he said.

As Tony Riddick guards communications and technology in New York, he holds close to his heart hope for children in his hometown who are also fighting a different enemy.

“I was raised by my mom and my grandma in Park Place and Villa Heights. It’s not easy to survive in those neighborhoods but decision-making is key. It takes will, it takes stamina, and it takes a goal,” said Tony Riddick.

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