In the early 1990s, Florida Trend magazine described the Sunshine State as a cow pasture on the information highway. When Gov. Lawton Chiles saw that unfavorable description, he asked Bill Lindner to do something about it.
As the secretary of the Department of Management Services, Lindner led a team in the ’90s that moved Florida state government into the fast lane. Through conversations with the Netscape browser creators, video teleconferencing pioneers and Internet working groups, he realized how the Internet would change the way government relates to and serves its citizens. With control over IT services and back-end government processes, Lindner’s agency created a website that connected government services to Florida’s citizens and earned a hat tip from Bill Gates.
After he left state government in 1998, Lindner started his third career at Florida State University (his first career was in architecture). He headed up the university’s distance learning efforts, founded the Center for Professional Development and started online learning certificate programs to help professionals improve their skills. Through a partnership with the Florida League of Cities, Lindner developed a program designed to create certified tech managers for state, city and county government.
Recently he oversaw the building of the $15 million, 30,000-square-foot Florida State Conference Center. This high-tech building boasts one of the largest video walls in the country, simultaneous webcasts from six rooms and video servers that capture and store this information.
“I’m really having as much fun today as I had 20 years ago,” he said. “The media pieces are dramatically different, people are moving much faster, things have to be done more quickly, but it’s all about how do you change the way government works by changing the way government thinks. And part of that is this technology.”