February 29, 2008 By Jim Meyers
Gordon Bruce enjoyed a long, successful IT career in the private sector. But when the public sector beckoned three years ago, he accepted the challenge. And he's glad he did. For three years now, Bruce has been CIO and director of the Department of Information Technology for the city and county of Honolulu.
"I tell everybody it's the best job I've ever had, because it's an opportunity to make a difference across the board," Bruce said, adding that whether it's working on public safety or helping people do business with the city or county, he enjoys making a contribution.
Starting out in government was certainly an adjustment. "Among my friends, the odds were that I wouldn't last three months," Bruce said. At first, he did get frustrated with how slowly things moved in government, but he's now known for getting things done quickly.
"Even the private-sector people I talk to cannot believe what we've done. And that's something I tell my people they should be proud of," he said. "We replaced a 38-year-old financial system with a new state-of-the-art ERP solution in 18 months - on time and on budget." The system cost more than $10 million, but it was much less expensive than many predicted it would be.
That's just one of many projects Bruce and his team have approached aggressively. It's a method that's been endorsed by the mayor, who recruited Bruce for his private-sector experience. Once hired, Bruce inherited an antiquated infrastructure that needed major upgrades - one independent study concluded that IT had been underfunded by at least $100 million in the previous five years.
Since Bruce came on board, much of the focus has been on creating a solid new infrastructure. The goal is to lay the foundation for better future service for city and county residents. The infrastructure upgrade is about 90 percent done.
It's been a busy three years for Bruce and his staff, but he's satisfied with the results thus far. "The direction of the mayor, his leadership, the partnering with our vendors and the team effort on the part of the staff that jumped onto this train, have been refreshing for me," Bruce said. "It's wonderful to see how it all works."
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