group leading the e-NC initiative to connect all North Carolinians, particularly in rural areas, to the Web.
Goals of the e-NC initiative include making local, dial-up Internet access available statewide; providing public Internet access and computer training; and making affordable, high-speed Internet access available statewide.
Patterson sees her contribution to the sustained effort for citizen connectivity as one of the biggest accomplishments in her nearly 40-year career.
"In government you have an opportunity to develop the underlying technology to really move ahead," she said. "It not only enables government to move ahead, it enables citizens and businesses who receive those services to move ahead."
Patterson said most critical to making advances in government is procuring funding, getting various entities to collaborate on various projects and understanding who the constituent is. "To always be attuned to what your ultimate client is and what they think -- that's difficult for government folks," she said. "Is your client the citizen? Is your client the person you report to? Or is your client ultimately the legislature?"
Patterson's impressive list of accomplishments includes being appointed as a member of the United States' National Information Infrastructure Council, recognition in 1995 as one of the top women in computing in the United States, and receiving the Public Innovator Award from the National Academy of Public Administration and the Alliance for Redesigning Government in 1995.
Patterson said that government experience can be applied anywhere.
"I have always said, and I believe this because I've been in government and out of government, that if you can operate inside government you can operate anywhere," she said. "[In government] you are constantly dealing with multitudes of people who think they absolutely know what you are supposed to be doing, and if you can satisfy all those people you can be successful in the corporate world or in the university world."
-- Jim McKay, Justice Editor
Chief Information Officer
Maricopa County, Ariz.
With CIO Lin Thatcher's leadership, Maricopa County, Ariz., has become an archetype for local government justice integration with the development of an IT governance model that facilitates justice integration and creates an enterprise-wide approach to technology throughout the county.
The IT governance model is three-tiered; the enterprise level, consisting of technology or processes that apply across the entire county, at its top. At the bottom are all departmental systems and processes unique to one department only. The "electronic community" is in the middle -- multiple departments come together here if they share one of three things: a common computer system, data toward a common objective or a common horizontal process.
Thatcher said the model has been good enough to stand the test of time. "That three-tier governance model underlies our approach to architecture, our approach to IT policy and funding, and underlies our approach to the way we deliver Web services both on the intranet and the Internet," he said. "I think we have one of the premier IT governance models in the United States that has served us well and has not had to be changed in eight years."
Thatcher said the biggest challenge as CIO is looking at the county horizontally. "That cuts across many jurisdictions, many domains, many sacred cows, if you will," he said. "So to take many departments that deliver services vertically and functionally out of their arenas, and begin to have them think horizontally across the full spectrum of government in terms of reducing waste and inefficiency and hand-offs and other obstacles to modern processes ends up being the biggest challenge."
-- Jim McKay, Justice Editor
Chief Technology Officer