For nearly eight years, Carolyn Hogg has used her open leadership style to further the reach of technology in Fresno, the hub of California’s fertile San Joaquin Valley. Hogg is keeping an eye on the future of broadband, promoting agricultural technology and water research, finding new opportunities in work-sourcing models like contests, fine-tuning an open data policy and building relationships that create regional opportunities.
One of those opportunities is 59 Days of Code, an annual hackathon used to generate interest and build public participation in projects that the city doesn’t have the skills to tackle itself, like creating a mobile app for homeless people. The app shows where food is being distributed, along with the availability of dental care, transportation and donated goods like pet supplies.
Hogg also is at the center of agricultural technology and rural broadband development — a new regulation requires the city’s Public Works and Planning Department to lay fiber-optic cable in the ground whenever it does roadwork.
“The city has embraced the idea that broadband is here to stay and it’s actually going to be treated as a utility because it’s such a way of life,” she said.
In fact, broadband is the backbone of a broader vision for the region, Hogg said, which encompasses agricultural tech, remote learning and building new research opportunities. California State University, Fresno, is developing coursework around agricultural technology, and Hogg is a member of a multi-agency water hub that’s working to unlock data to promote innovation across the area.