engine for e-payments, other interactive services and government-to-government partnerships with local municipalities -- which resulted in a 50 percent increase in use of the county's portal.

"I don't know a lot else besides the public sector, so I can't really say I like it better than the private sector," she said. "But what I really love about the public sector is the feeling that I have an opportunity to make a difference that I can see. Plus, we're so diverse. I work with departments that span so many different industries, and I get to learn a lot of things about a lot of different businesses, as well as a lot of different technologies. Those two things have kept me in the public sector."

Zito sees specific challenges in the coming year for herself. Changing the way people perceive government is a task at the top of her list, as is reaching out to senior members of the administration in IT, to the point where the county manager, the assistant county manager and department leaders themselves drive technology.

"There's no mandate that can make that happen," she said. "It requires a lot of persuasion, a lot of selling to them, and working very hard to build those relationships so I'm not just overseeing good technology solutions, but I'm actually extending what I know so they can make their operations better. That's a big challenge not because they're not open to it, but because there's an awareness gap."

-- Shane Peterson, associate editor