Feature

Daniel Horsey came to computers in an indirect way-a political science major in college, he taught himself to program on his first home computer. But the first time he wrote a computer software program, he says, he felt like he had found what he was meant to do. Now, more than 20 years later, Horsey has brought his love of computing technology-and his decades of experience in the field-to APA as the association's first chief information officer (CIO).

As CIO, Horsey heads APA's new information technology office, which oversees the association's internal computer operations as well as the systems that run PsycINFO, electronic journals and other products. Horsey and his team manage the association's Web site, electronic publishing systems and management information systems, all of which used to be scattered throughout APA's offices.

The association's increasing reliance on technology necessitated the new position and reorganization, says APA CEO Norman B. Anderson, PhD.

"We depend on technology to run our day-to-day activities, and members, nonmembers and universities rely on our numerous electronic products, such as PsycINFO, in their work," he says. "It was time for us to become more strategic and systematic in how we manage our information technology resources."

Coming changes

The reorganization won't be immediately apparent to APA members, according to Horsey. So far, he says, he has been impressed with the association's information technology (IT) operations, and he plans to take some time to evaluate the system before making any major changes.

However, the first place that APA members will notice a change is on the association's Web site, he says.

"I've already heard a lot of feedback about the Web site, and the consensus seems to be that there needs to be some kind of revamp," he explains. Horsey plans to bring in usability experts to evaluate the site's navigation, search engine and other aspects, and suggest changes to make it more user-friendly.

"I don't come to this with any preconceived notions about what needs to be done," he says. "I'm the type of person who wants to understand where things are before I move them around."

Varied experience

That's the approach Horsey took at his previous job at the Internal Revenue Service, where for three years he worked as the chief architect and helped the agency update its outdated computer system and transition to a new, integrated system. Before that, he was the chief technology officer (CTO) at the Bureau of National Affairs, a company that publishes online and print newsletters and books about government regulations; he was one of several CTOs at the Thomson Corporation, which produces publications for doctors, lawyers and financial professionals; and he ran his own computer consulting business for several years.

He began his career 26 years ago as a signals intelligence officer in the Marine Corps, where, he says, he got in just as they were beginning to use computers in intelligence-collection operations.

"Throughout my career, I've been very lucky to be in the right place at the right time," he says.

Though Horsey has held some lofty titles, he also enjoyed the "heads-down" programming positions he held early in his career, he says. Today, he still enjoys the field's creative aspects-taking a piece of software or computer system from the design stage all the way to implementation.

APA is Horsey's first foray into the world of nonprofit associations, but he says that the skills he acquired in government agencies and for-profit companies will transfer well.

"The goal isn't to make a profit, but we still have the same responsibility to make good use of our members' dues money, and to deliver value for the money we spend," he says.

Horsey's experience will help APA bring its technology to a new level of efficiency, says Anderson.

"His background in IT strategy, in helping organizations modernize their IT functions and in the publishing world was really the right combination for us," he says.