Hardik Bhatt

Hardik Bhatt serves as the Chief Executive Officer of SDI Presence, LLC. In his role, Hardik leverages key partnerships that he has built over the last two decades with global corporate leaders, public sector leaders, startup leaders, investors, and academia to provide strategic direction to help modernize SDI clients.

Prior to joining SDI, he led AWS’s public sector startup business, launching startup accelerators and incubators globally. He built and ran AWS’s Digital Government and Transportation verticals for State and Local Government businesses while leading strategic sales, partnerships, and customer solutions envisioning using AWS’s cloud-based business models, supported by proven Delivery and Innovation methodologies. Prior to AWS, Hardik was the State CIO for the State of Illinois where he built the State’s first $1.2 billion centralized IT organization, the Department of Innovation & Technology. As Secretary of the new department, Hardik and his team built the State’s first Data Analytics practice, created the State’s first comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, drove customer-centric innovation, and championed its first successful ERP implementation. Under his leadership, Illinois leapfrogged from 4th from the bottom to 3rd in nationwide state technology rankings.

Prior to the State of Illinois, Hardik was a Senior Director at Cisco, leading global business development for its Smart Cities and Internet of Everything (IoE) business. He worked with city, state, and national governments across 19 different countries in his five years at Cisco. And before his tenure at Cisco, he served as the City of Chicago’s CIO and Commissioner of Department of Innovation & Technology, where he leveraged technology to improve citizen services. Hardik pioneered the Smart Chicago initiative, deployed cutting-edge mobile apps, and initiated the City’s Open Data Platform.

Hardik is an active industry speaker and is intricately engaged in Chicago’s civic fabric. He is a member of the Board Directors and chairs the cybersecurity committee for the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, “Fermilab”, the country’s leading Deep Physics research lab driving the multi-billion dollar International Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility/Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment. Hardik also serves as the board member for the World Business Chicago and Chicago Innovation. He has been judging Chicago Innovation Awards for the past 15 years and is a member of the angel investment partnership Hyde Park Angels, the Economic Club of Chicago, and the Commercial Club of Chicago.