Tim Howell, IT analyst, Hutto, Texas Texas City Turns to Youthful IT Director/Crossover Appeal Photo by Micah Grau

A "Population: 1,205" sign from the year 2000 sits on the edge of Hutto, Texas --an Austin suburb that's now pushing a population of 17,000 and is expected to continue booming because of its strategic location that makes it both accessible and affordable. Since Hutto's conveniently located on State Highway 130, residents and businesses don't have to deal with Austin traffic, but are still less than 30 minutes from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and only 25 minutes from downtown Austin. Small-town life in Hutto is a distant memory.

As is the case with most communities that experience rapid growth, demand has increased and resources are exhausted, which requires the city to change its business processes to support its newfound identity.

My experiences as Hutto's IT analyst offer only a glimpse into one area of this citywide transformation, but from my rather unique perspective, it's interesting to see firsthand how a city can evolve and accept change with the right leadership, planning and support.

In 2000, the city had a 10-person staff, and I'm sure IT wasn't even in the city's projections. Hutto recently hired its second full-time IT position and now supports 80 users, 12 servers and six locations. We support the city's phone system, networking equipment, servers, workstations, software, technology planning, Web site, as well as some training and multimedia. In fiscal 2008, we had a $300,000 IT budget, but fiscal 2009 projections are about 24 percent less than 2008.

Growth means organizational change, and change is something I'm accustomed to because I'm a member of Generation Y -- those who were born between 1980 and 1994. We're commonly called Millennials. I'm 23 years old. But fear not, because if keeping up with the needs and expectations of Generation Y is something your organization is frantic about, then perhaps I am a beacon of hope and a sign of light at the end of the tunnel.

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Tim Howell Tim Howell  |  Contributing Writer

Tim Howell is a former government technology and innovation guru for multiple government agencies across the state of Texas. His leadership and tech savvy quickly landed him at the bleeding edge of the public-sector market. Recently, he has taken his years of experience and success and founded made4gov.  By rethinking government content and promoting healthy discussions, he helps government agencies adapt to new technologies and meet the growing demands of citizens. Tim is also the author of the Innovation PACT, The No-Nonsense Guide to Sustainable Innovation. You can download the first section of Tim’s new book at http://www.innovationpact.com/free.