Dustin Haisler: 22-Year-Old CIO Innovates on a Shoestring

As CIO of Manor, Texas, Haisler redesigned the city's technology infrastructure and re-evaluated all departments' operations, keeping the goals of increasing efficiency and saving money at the forefront.

by / March 3, 2009

What were you doing when you were in your early 20s? Some people were enrolled in college, seeking enlightenment through overseas travel or maybe lounging on the couch and watching TV.

It's a safe bet that there aren't too many in that age group working as public-sector CIOs. But that's exactly the job for 22-year-old Dustin Haisler, CIO of Manor, Texas, a smallish suburb outside of Austin.

Haisler started working in banking for the city in March 2006, but he quickly realized technology leadership was needed. He took on the role of redesigning the city's technology infrastructure and re-evaluating all departments' operations. The goal was to increase efficiency and focus on cost-effectiveness. The big hurdle was that the city lacked the money to buy "standard" products. So Haisler and the city got creative.

"For instance, we use Google Earth for our GIS system, and overlay updated imagery, or 'plats,' given to us by developers to further enhance our database," Haisler said. "And as far as I know, we were the first city to put a thin client in a police car instead of going with the [standard rugged laptop] solution. We were also an early adopter of Web 2.0."

Under Haisler's guidance, Manor recently affixed "quick response" codes on local buildings and tourist spots. Citizens can scan the codes with a cell phone, which pulls up pertinent information on the phone's Web browser. Haisler also is tinkering at home with a system that would integrate Bluetooth in a handgun, so when a police officer draws his weapon, it would signal the in-car camera to start recording.

It's quite a workload for someone who is finishing his college degree and is married with two small boys.

Matt Williams Associate Editor
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