David Levy recently became the vice president of Amazon Web Services’ Worldwide Public Sector. We talked with him about his main goals, past experiences, moving from his earlier position overseeing U.S. government, nonprofit and healthcare sectors, aiding government innovation and other topics. Levy also talked about his team’s upcoming focus and how he keeps motivated in this field.
Congratulations on your recent appointment! Tell us a bit about your new role as vice president of Amazon Web Services Worldwide Public Sector. What do you oversee?
I’m honored to take on the role of vice president of AWS Worldwide Public Sector. In this position, I’m leading our global government, education, healthcare, aerospace and satellite, and nonprofit businesses.
We founded our Worldwide Public Sector business on the belief that public sector customers should have access to the world’s most innovative tools and technology. Today, AWS serves over 7,500 government agencies, over 14,000 academic institutions and over 85,000 nonprofit organizations worldwide.
How has this transition been thus far, from U.S. government, nonprofit and healthcare, to Worldwide Public Sector?
It’s an exciting time, and still in the early days for cloud in the public sector. While we work with a diverse array of customers worldwide who have unique requirements, a common thread between them is a dedication to innovating with technology to make the world a better and safer place.
How did those six years in your previous role prepare you for this new one?
Over the past six years, I’ve seen how quickly digital transformation has accelerated in the public sector. In particular, the pandemic highlighted how governments, education institutions, nonprofits and health systems must constantly adapt and innovate to meet the changing needs of their constituents, students, beneficiaries and patients.
Forward-thinking agencies at all levels of government moved quickly to adopt cloud technology to serve their missions. And now, we’re seeing continued innovation as our customers are leaning on the cloud to help successfully navigate the constantly evolving global landscape.
Are there any other professional experiences that influenced the way you lead and help customers today?
Before joining AWS, I worked for Apple for 12 years and led teams that helped federal, state and local governments adopt innovative mobile technologies. Support for public sector customers has been a consistent focus throughout my career, and these communities continue to be important to my work today.
What are you and your team currently focused on and prioritizing?
Globally, we focus on helping public sector customers realize the potential of technology to transform their organizations and deliver their missions. Harnessing data is critical, and we help public sector customers harness data in more sophisticated ways. We do that by helping them leverage the cloud for machine learning and artificial intelligence that can drive insights and innovation.
So far in your position, what have you witnessed to be the most prominent public sector innovation challenges today?
Around the world, public sector organizations often face the challenge of allocating limited resources as efficiently as possible. When there are many important and competing demands on these organizations, they can find it difficult to prioritize, move quickly, and adjust based on changing circumstances.
How do you and your team plan to help customers overcome these challenges?
Cloud computing allows customers to move quickly and innovate more efficiently because they can focus their highly valuable IT resources on developing applications that serve their missions rather than spending time on the undifferentiated heavy lifting of managing infrastructure and data centers. Additionally, capabilities like artificial intelligence can help public sector customers process and analyze data, which can help them unlock valuable insights and make more informed decisions.
I understand you are also involved with the M Health Fairview Health System board in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the Innovation and Research Board for Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. At what capacity are you involved with these organizations, and why?
Health is a personal passion of mine, and I’m excited about the opportunities to use technology to improve health outcomes worldwide. I have a front-row seat in my nonprofit board positions at two organizations at the leading edge of health innovation.
Looking ahead, what do you anticipate being you and your team’s top priorities in 2024? In other words, what are you preparing for in the near future?
When thinking ahead to next year, three areas in particular come to mind:
Generative artificial intelligence has captured widespread attention, including among public sector customers. While it is still early days for generative AI, this emerging technology has the potential to accelerate scientific discovery, improve health and education outcomes, and transform citizen experiences. We are excited by the potential it holds for public sector customers.
Security is our top priority at AWS, and we know it’s top of mind for our customers. As always, we’ll continue to work closely with them to help them manage highly sensitive workloads and address their unique regulatory requirements and security needs.
Supporting customers in quickly modernizing their legacy IT and implementing new digital services that can produce a meaningful impact on the lives of citizens.
What keeps you motivated and driven in this industry, and how does it impact the way you’ll lead Worldwide Public Sector?
At Amazon, one of our Leadership Principles is “customer obsession.” We start with customer needs and work backwards from there. In the public sector, my customer obsession ties directly back to our customers’ missions. Our customers are improving lives worldwide every day, and I am honored to support their important work.