Government technology leaders at the local, state and federal levels are constantly looking for new approaches that make positive impacts on citizens’ lives. I found one initiative in Washtenaw County, Mich., that seems to be doing the job.

The Washtenaw County Cyber Citizenship Coalition (WC4) is different than typical “technology projects.” For one, it started from a grass-roots effort. Second, participants range from government and university leaders to elderly grandmothers. Third, the coalition’s leader is talented County Commissioner Kristin Judge, who got involved because she’s passionate about solving serious Internet problems in her community and helping families online.

I had the opportunity to interview Judge at a recent WC4 meeting — a coalition that demonstrates cross-boundary collaboration with real results.

What is WC4?

WC4 is a group of local, state and federal partners working to ensure that the residents of our county are using technology in a safe and secure manner.

Why was the group formed, and why did you feel the need to get involved?

Three students from our local high school were victims of cyber-attacks by child predators in 2009. As a member of the first generation of parents with kids “connected” to multiple technologies, I felt a need to help educate our community and my family. 

At a National Association of Counties meeting, I sat next to Kelvin Coleman, director of state, local and tribal government for the National Cyber Security Division of the [U.S. Department of Homeland Security]. He offered to help when he heard our story.

What problems are you solving?

The coalition’s mission is to empower community members through awareness and education to use the Internet and related technology safely and securely. We want to give residents the tools they need to embrace technology without negative consequences.

Who’s involved locally and nationally?

Locally we have community members who have been working in cyber-security and education for years. These members come from neighborhood watch groups, nonprofits, businesses, government, education (K-12 and higher ed), law enforcement, legal profession, teens, seniors and the media.

Nationally some of our partners are the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Cyber Security Division, National Initiative on Cyber Education, National Cyber Security Alliance, and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center. All the groups support the new national message of “Stop. Think. Connect.”

Our private partners so far include Google, AT&T and Dell.

What have you accomplished so far?

We have established five workgroups that focus on awareness, education, public policy, law enforcement and public-private partnerships.

The biggest achievement has been getting the dedicated experts from Washtenaw County and Washington, D.C., to come together with one purpose. Now the groups are picking a tangible project to work on. For example, the Law Enforcement Workgroup will be starting an education campaign with small businesses to prevent cyber-crime.

We are in the process of doing a baseline survey of residents to measure the success of our work. Our website launched in October 2010, and we hosted a breakfast to commemorate National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

Currently we are in the planning stages for a Cyber Day at Eastern Michigan University for area teens and a statewide cyber-summit in October 2011.  

With our sheriff, we are working on a first responder program for county residents. Who do you call when you have been a victim of a cyber-crime? Calling 911 is usually not the answer, so we are looking into alternatives.

Where do you see this going over the next year?

I would like to see even broader participation from the public and private sectors. Grant funding and private investment in this issue will be needed. We hope to have measurable outcomes to show that our efforts have helped residents navigate this new frontier.

How can other state and local governments get involved?

Bringing together local stakeholders is the first step. We are working with our federal partners to create a toolkit to help our work be duplicated. We look forward to working with other communities to share resources and best practices around this issue.

To learn more, visit http://washtenawcybercoalition.org

Dan Lohrmann is Michigan’s CTO and previously served as the state’s first chief information security officer. He has 25 years of worldwide security experience, and has won numerous awards for his leadership in the information security field.

Dan Lohrmann Dan Lohrmann  |  Contributing Writer

Daniel J. Lohrmann became Michigan's first chief security officer (CSO) and deputy director for cybersecurity and infrastructure protection in October 2011. Lohrmann is leading Michigan's development and implementation of a comprehensive security strategy for all of the state’s resources and infrastructure. His organization is providing Michigan with a single entity charged with the oversight of risk management and security issues associated with Michigan assets, property, systems and networks.

Lohrmann is a globally recognized author and blogger on technology and security topics. His keynote speeches have been heard at worldwide events, such as GovTech in South Africa, IDC Security Roadshow in Moscow, and the RSA Conference in San Francisco. He has been honored with numerous cybersecurity and technology leadership awards, including “CSO of the Year” by SC Magazine and “Public Official of the Year” by Governing magazine.

His Michigan government security team’s mission is to:

  • establish Michigan as a global leader in cyberawareness, training and citizen safety;
  • provide state agencies and their employees with a single entity charged with the oversight of risk management and security issues associated with state of Michigan assets, property, systems and networks;
  • develop and implement a comprehensive security strategy (Michigan Cyber Initiative) for all Michigan resources and infrastructure;
  • improve efficiency within the state’s Department of Technology, Management and Budget; and
  • provide combined focus on emergency management efforts.


He currently represents the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) on the IT Government Coordinating Council that’s led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He also serves as an adviser on TechAmerica's Cloud Commission and the Global Cyber Roundtable.

From January 2009 until October 2011, Lohrmann served as Michigan's chief technology officer and director of infrastructure services administration. He led more than 750 technology staff and contractors in administering functions, such as technical architecture, project management, data center operations, systems integration, customer service (call) center support, PC and server administration, office automation and field services support.

Under Lohrmann’s leadership, Michigan established the award-winning Mi-Cloud data storage and hosting service, and his infrastructure team was recognized by NASCIO and others for best practices and for leading state and local governments in effective technology service delivery.

Earlier in his career, Lohrmann served as the state of Michigan's first chief information security officer (CISO) from May 2002 until January 2009. He directed Michigan's award-winning Office of Enterprise Security for almost seven years.

Lohrmann's first book, Virtual Integrity: Faithfully Navigating the Brave New Web, was published in November 2008.  Lohrmann was also the chairman of the board for 2008-2009 and past president (2006-2007) of the Michigan InfraGard Member's Alliance.

Prior to becoming Michigan's CISO, Lohrmann served as the senior technology executive for e-Michigan, where he published an award-winning academic paper titled The Michigan.gov Story — Reinventing State Government Online. He also served as director of IT and CIO for the Michigan Department of Management and Budget in the late 1990s.

Lohrmann has more than 26 years of experience in the computer industry, beginning his career with the National Security Agency. He worked for three years in England as a senior network engineer for Lockheed Martin (formerly Loral Aerospace) and for four years as a technical director for ManTech International in a U.S./UK military facility.

Lohrmann is a distinguished guest lecturer for Norwich University in the field of information assurance. He also has been a keynote speaker at IT events around the world, including numerous SecureWorld and ITEC conferences in addition to online webinars and podcasts. He has been featured in numerous daily newspapers, radio programs and magazines. Lohrmann writes a bimonthly column for Public CIO magazine on cybersecurity. He's published articles on security, technology management, cross-boundary integration, building e-government applications, cloud computing, virtualization and securing portals.

He holds a master’s degree in computer science from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Valparaiso University in Indiana.


NOTE: The columns here are Dan Lohrmann's own views. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the state of Michigan's official positions.

Recent Awards:
2011 Technology Leadership Award: InfoWorld
Premier 100 IT Leader for 2010: Computerworld magazine
2009 Top Doers, Dreamers and Drivers: Government Technology magazine
Public Official of the Year: Governing magazine — November 2008
CSO of the Year: SC Magazine — April 2008
Top 25 in Security Industry: Security magazine — December 2007
Compass Award: CSO Magazine — March 2007
Information Security Executive of the Year: Central Award 2006