state and local government, Johnson said.

"Anytime I can create success by doing things cooperatively, we've found it has allowed the association to generate non-dues revenue sources and to continue to expand and to bring on the quality staff we need to provide those kinds of services," Johnson said.

NDACo also creates new technology jobs in the state, he said, by helping counties gain a foothold in the Internet world. That, in turn, helps rural communities retain their citizens, particularly recent college graduates.

"If they don't see technology as something they can utilize back home, that's one of the first reasons they're not interested in coming back to the state," Johnson said. "E-government, the ability to bring technology jobs to the rural areas of the state, that's the solution. But it's a tough row to hoe."

-- Shane Peterson, associate editor

Laura Larimer



Under the tenure of CIO Laura Larimer, Indiana's state portal, accessIndiana, has become a leading example of doing things right. Today, accessIndiana features more than 200,000 pages of content and more than 175 interactive applications.

AccessIndiana operates under a self-supporting, public-private enterprise model, which has allowed the entire network to be built and maintained without spending tax dollars. Some services levy small user fees, but 99 percent of the portal's information and services are free to the public. It is produced and maintained by a private partner, Indiana Interactive Inc.

Larimer's Department of Information Technology also provides management and security for the state voice and data communications network, which includes a wide area network that offers access to all state public entities. Her department provides application design and development services for back-office systems that support Internet, intranet and extranet deployment.

Some of Larimer's biggest challenges are continuing progress and evolution of the portal and staying ahead of the technology curve. "The usage continues to grow," she said. "The technologies continue to change and present new business and service opportunities."

She adds that managing change is a significant part of her job. "One of the challenges of getting things done in government is that we are big," she said. "That's not unique. I think that is a challenge in almost any large organization, having worked for some of the largest. When you are big, you simply are in a more complex environment. There are more consequences to any given change."

Larimer's solution is to encourage constant communication and collaboration -- across departments, within departments, with local government and across branches of government. "This is absolutely critical to move ahead on projects. You have to fully understand your environment before making a change that could have unintended consequences."

Included in her accomplishments is effective marketing of the portal. "When I first came to this job, I would say the portal was one of the country's best-kept secrets," she said. "We have done a much better job promoting portal services to citizens in the last few years."

-- Blake Harris, contributing editor

Liza Lowery


Los Angeles

Just being general manager of the Los Angeles Information Technology Agency might be enough stress for anybody. Being the city's first CIO could pile on even more, but Liza Lowery is used to it. This is the second time she's been the first CIO of a city.

Her start in the public sector was in Hillsborough County, Fla., as the operational services manager and assistant director of Information & Technology Services. Her next stop was Milpitas, Calif., where she was the city's first CIO, then she jumped to CIO of the city/county of San Francisco.

In Los Angeles, Lowery shepherded the city's launch of a massive 311