Winning Government Technology’s Digital Counties Survey once or even twice may seem like quite the accomplishment, but for Dick Aldridge, winning the award has become part of the job. The Charles County CIO has seen his jurisdiction win the award every year since the competition started eight years ago, and Aldridge has his eye on a ninth.

So what is his secret recipe for eight years of success? Pioneering into new territory by pushing the edge of technology. When Aldridge joined Charles County 11 years ago, he had a staff of just nine people and none with a background in Java or JavaScript.

Leading the way, Aldridge helped the programmers on staff learn the programs for writing Web applications and helped them embrace the change.

“We have more than 400 applications that are written in Java going against our website and going against our databases — and they’re very, very powerful,” Aldridge said. “But it’s the staff that actually took the dreams and made them happen. Without the staff, I’d be nobody.”

Aldridge and his staff, which now includes 16 members, strive to write applications to meet constituents’ needs. More than 2,900 citizens have even signed up for the county’s notification system, which informs users of emergencies, planning meetings, water main breaks and more.

On a broader scale, Aldridge spearheaded a project to make Charles the first county in Maryland to accept taxes and utility payments online. With Aldridge’s leadership, the county also became the first in the state to display live election results online.

No matter what the project is, Aldridge is ready to tackle the challenges facing government IT today.

View all Top 25 Honorees for 2011

Top 25 Doers, Dreamers, and Drivers

Sarah Rich, Staff Writer Sarah Rich  |  Staff Writer

In 2008, Sarah Rich graduated from California State University, Chico, where she majored in news-editorial journalism and minored in sociology. Since 2010, Sarah has written for Government Technology magazine and covers a spectrum of public-sector IT topics, including cloud computing, transparency, broadband, and other innovative projects and trends. She currently lives in Sacramento, Calif.