This month we bestow our annual Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers awards on leaders helping to ensure that the potential of technology is fully realized in government. These are the visionaries who are not content to chip away at traditional trouble spots, making incremental improvements around the edges. They’re committed to transformational change. We think you’ll find their work inspiring and hopefully a little contagious. We did, and that’s why this group joins an esteemed list that now nears 400 — the number of people and teams we’ve honored since our Top 25 tradition began in 2002.
As you might expect, the largest contingent of honorees this year have public-sector job titles that explicitly involve technology. Louisiana CIO Dickie Howze, for example, consolidated the state’s IT infrastructure, saving $75 million in year one. But Albany, Ore., CIO and Assistant City Manager Jorge Salinas proves that tech isn’t the only hat worn by this year’s honorees and that a jurisdiction’s size isn’t necessarily indicative of its commitment to transparency. Policy leadership from the federal government can be felt in our 2016 group as well, as we honor some of the White House’s groundbreaking work in promoting cloud adoption and open data, as well as harnessing Silicon Valley talent to troubleshoot and innovate on a massive scale.
The rise of the team in the last couple of years proves that reaching outside your own agency’s doors is often the key to successful programs. Citizens are no longer served by good, but narrow programs focused on a single purpose. This year’s teams build on that concept by reaching across departments and taking a broader view of what it means to deliver tech-enabled services to citizens.
As many of our honorees also demonstrate, you don’t have to work for government to play a major role in its evolution. Forces of change exerting pressure from outside municipal buildings and state capitols have transformative power as well.
Richard Price of the PulsePoint Foundation called on his 33 years of experience with the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District in California to create a life-saving app matching people who know CPR with those who need it. And GIS technology, promoted by longtime champion and Esri Co-Founder Jack Dangermond, played an important role in fighting the Ebola virus and helps equip first responders with vital data needed in the field.
The Top 25 profiles contain the stories of many others equally worthy of recognition. Here’s to this year’s Top 25.