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Hugo Teufel III has enjoyed a distinguished career since graduating from MSU Denver, and the former chief privacy officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security credits several faculty members with helping him onto the right path.
“The chairs of MSU Denver’s Economics Department were Ralph Byrns and Gerald Stone, who at the time, had the nation’s No. 1 selling macroeconomics textbook,” said Teufel. “They got me focused on, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ Gudrun Clay convinced me that I should minor in German. I never expected to use that language at work, but I did, years later.”
Motivated by a broad ambition to work in government, Teufel moved to Washington, D.C., after graduation and worked in the State Department’s Procurement Division. He was the national coordinator for law students during the Bush/Quayle administration, and earned a law degree from Washington College of Law at American University in 1990.
Teufel clerked for the U.S. Claims Court before moving back to Denver and working at a national firm in contract law. He was also active with the Colorado Republican Party and the Federalist Society, and worked for Gale Norton when she was Colorado’s Attorney General.
He joined the Interior Department when Norton was appointed secretary of the interior by President Bush, and a few years later, Teufel was tapped to become the second-ever chief privacy officer for the newly created U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“We live in a global information society and information is becoming the dominant economy,” said Teufel.
Personal data and information are flowing all around the world, and there is tension between the flow of information and the varying legal requirements that countries place on that information. What I found interesting on the policy side, especially within the DHS, is how to carry out the mission of the agency in a way that is privacy-sensitive. How do you make it work? That gave me a tremendous amount of personal satisfaction.”
Teufel has held several positions since his tenure with DHS, including as a privacy consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers, working with the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, continuing to serve as a judge advocate with the Army National Guard and, currently, serving as global privacy counsel for defense contractor Raytheon. With each of these experiences, Teufel has furthered his goal of serving his country by implementing and upholding sound policy decisions.
“Even with Raytheon, our customer often is the U.S. government – it’s another way to support the mission of defending the country,” he said. “It’s about doing good for the American people.”