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New Podcast, Summit Speaker Lineup and Visionary District Leaders


Welcome to the April issue of The Districts, where we chronicle the people, issues and activities impacting special districts across the U.S.

News Staff / April 18, 2019

Check Out Our Newest Podcast Starring the Naperville Park District

Omar Sandoval, IT Director for the Naperville Park District in Illinois, talks about how his district uses innovative technology to engage with customers in the latest episode of The Districts podcast. Among other things, Sandoval describes how connectivity is evolving across the district’s 137 parks, including a recent initiative to offer free Wi-Fi to patrons at a number of facilities. 

“We do a lot of everything. We have well over 100 pieces of networking devices, not limited to voice gateways, switches, access points and all different types of connections,” he says, adding that internet access is becoming a fundamental expectation for park visitors. “Before, you’d go to the park and read a book. Well now you’re bringing your Kindle.”

Tune in to The Districts podcast to hear more about how Naperville is creating a connected park system, and why that’s important to both the Park District and the community.

Learn From Your Peers at the Special Districts Summit West

Our first Special Districts Summit of 2019 is right around the corner, and we’re finalizing our lineup of expert speakers and panelists. Join us May 30 in Anaheim, Calif., for the Special Districts Summit West, a unique conference created specifically for special districts. Register now to hear:

  • Darrell Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of the Orange County Transportation Authority, on 21st century leadership
  • James Ollerton, Director of Information Technology for the Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District, on building your future workforce
  • Jake Margolis, Chief Information Security Officer of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, on securing the new cyber landscape
  • Tony Mossbarger, Director of Administrative Services for the Irvine Ranch Water District, on modernizing your infrastructure 

Find a Special Districts Summit Near You

Our entire lineup of regional Special Districts Summits is set for 2019. Make your plans now to attend the summit in your region for a full day of inspirational keynotes, leadership discussions, and insights into top management trends and emerging technologies.

  • West: May 30, Anaheim, CA
  • Northeast: June 25, Philadelphia, PA
  • Southeast: Aug. 1, Orlando, FL
  • Southwest: Aug. 29, Houston, TX
  • Midwest: Sept. 18, Chicago, IL

View details for all events.

Call for Nominations: 2019 Special Districts Awards

Don’t keep your innovations to yourself. Share those breakthroughs and best practices with your peers through our unique awards program for special districts. The nomination period is open and we’re looking for special districts that are using technology to improve delivery of citizen services and strengthen internal operations. We also want to recognize individual special district leaders who are championing bold technology initiatives.

View past winners and learn how to submit a 2019 nomination.

District Spotlight: Visionary Leaders Honored

Government Technology magazine named two special district leaders in its annual list of top public sector innovators for 2019. Clay Campbell, Administrative Supervisor for the Downers Grove Sanitary District in Illinois, and Sree Pulapaka, Vice President and CIO for the San Antonio Water System, are among those recognized in this year’s class of Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers.

For 18 years, Government Technology’s Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers program has honored public sector technology leaders by recognizing their commitment to excellence and shining a spotlight on their work. The full Top 25 feature appears in Government Technology’s April/May issue. Both Campbell and Pulapaka are board members for the Special Districts Program.

More Articles Worth a Read

Here are the latest stories from special districts around the country. Share your own news with us for inclusion in the next newsletter. 


  • A public/private water committee in Ada, Okla., hopes to turn the region into a hub for water-related research. A primary goal of the committee – which includes Ada city government, local businesses and East Central University – is to improve data sharing among its members to spur innovation and economic activity.
  • Four state and local transportation agencies in Maine will work with San Francisco-based Streetlight Data to obtain detailed information on traffic flows, congestion, trip origin and destination – even pedestrian and cyclist movement. The data, which comes from location information generated by citizens’ cell phones, will be used to plan highway projects. But the move is prompting privacy concerns. 
  • More states are folding the social and economic costs of burning fossil fuels into their electricity policies, giving utilities a financial incentive to reduce greenhouse emissions. A new report looks at how state regulators are using their rate-setting power to address climate change.
  • The Lane Transit District in Oregon is implementing an electronic fare system that will let bus riders pay using a smart pass or smartphone app when they board. Riders can refill the pass with an online account or buy a prepaid pass.

Special Districts News

Moving Toward a Data-Driven Future
May 12, 2020

Finding Innovation in Power
November 11, 2019

2019 Midwest Recap (Chicago)
September 25, 2019

Special Districts Summit Southwest: Three Takeaways
September 24, 2019

2019 Southwest Recap (Houston)
September 9, 2019

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