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Bruce High -- 2014 GT Top 25 Winner

CIO, Harris County, Texas

It’s easy to think of technology as a solution for every challenge. What’s uncommon, and more elusive, is to comprehend the forces behind tech innovation: our shared human needs and the people who answer them.

Bruce High practices this collaborative way of thinking in his role as CIO of Harris County, Texas. High has implemented many trendsetting tech initiatives based on collaboration, including the 2010 launch of a wireless LTE network exclusively for emergency personnel. The county network is one of the first in the U.S. approved by the FCC, and one that works alongside FirstNet, a coordinating group that aims to roll out a nationwide emergency network.

The county network — which required federal, state and local consensus — now has 88,000 devices connected to it and sits upon a foundation of more than 200 interlocal agreements. High said the accomplishment should be viewed in terms of people, not technology.

“It’s about finding core things people want to do and asking how we can get it done together,” he said.

High’s people-centered approach has staff reaching across departments to understand processes, with tech solutions filling the gaps.

“We all have the same needs, so we should be working together to get it done,” he said.

Return to the 2014 GT Top 25

Miriam Jones is a former chief copy editor of Government Technology, Governing, Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.