February 14, 2003 By Government Technology
He is currently deputy commissioner for strategic technology development in the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, but his public-sector career started more humbly. He worked in an ambulance in the Bronx, moved into dispatching, and then worked for New York City's Office of Emergency Management.
While helping build the division from scratch, Knafo discovered the benefits of GIS technology and used it in numerous emergency management applications. Knafo's career furthered when he managed the city's Y2K business continuity concerns. By the time he returned to the public sector, the dot-com craze had spread throughout the city; he was knee-deep in IT, first helping craft an effective city employee intranet and then managing the city's e-government office and portal.
Today, Knafo is helping launch one of the largest, most comprehensive government call center projects, which will dramatically change how the city interacts with its citizens. "It's going to be like having your own personal valet to city services," he explained.
Although Knafo blazed a technology career path in less than 10 years and accomplished numerous goals, nothing will top that fateful September day nearly 18 months ago. He ran on adrenaline and no sleep for three days after the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attacks, laying groundwork for the computer network. He worked round the clock with vendors to provide hardware and with his colleagues as they built applications on the fly, including some GIS programs that helped the fire department fight smoldering blazes in the lower Manhattan ruins.
Knafo's heart remains with helping the city and doing the job he loves. "I'm not going anywhere," he said. "With this job, you can do things that change people's lives."
-- Tod Newcombe, Features Editor
Information Technology and E-government
Office of Management and Budget
Mark Forman was appointed associate director for information technology and e-government in the Office of Management and Budget on June 14, 2001, serving as the lead e-government executive at the federal level. His responsibilities include leading the development and implementation of federal IT policy and directing the work of the federal CIO Council.
He sees three significant challenges to e-government initiatives involving all levels of government: modernizing government operations using technology, coping with the lack of human capital caused by an aging government work force, and providing adequate IT security.
Government is changing the way it solves problems, Forman said, and part of that change is the improving relationship among federal, state and local government.
"We can't achieve what we need to do without a stronger partnership with state and local government," he said. "That came out very clearly in the E-Government Task Force work. We had a lot of resistance to that, but then Sept. 11 made it clear to everybody that the core functions of government depend on our ability to work together. We know more ways to do that now than ever before."
Forman said work at the federal level to stimulate cross-agency e-government initiatives; efforts to create a federal enterprise architecture; and the buildup of federal Web sites such as www.firstgov.gov, www.regulations.gov and the recently introduced Free File online tax filing program have been very rewarding.
"That's the kind of e-government innovation that one hopes for, but we've been able to deliver on," he said.
-- Shane Peterson, Associate Editor
Angus King, Maine's 71st governor, finished serving his second four-year term in 2003. Voters re-elected King
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