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Kerry Goode

CIO/Director of Technology Solutions Department, Durham, N.C.

Durham, North Carolina, CIO Kerry Goode
Kerry Goode has led tech and innovation work in Durham, N.C., for nearly 12 years. A decade-plus is a long tenure for a municipal government CIO, and for Goode, it has certainly led to a long list of accomplishments and accolades, among them finishing first or second place the past five years in the Center for Digital Government’s* Digital Cities Survey.

Looking back on his time with Durham, Goode points to establishing a strong IT governance model as perhaps the single most significant project. Having a model that aligns business, performance and compliance values has enabled consistent and steady progress, primarily ensuring that all IT investments are both effective and strategic.

Goode has also led Durham’s cybersecurity — consistently one of the most pressing and difficult challenges for municipal CIOs. He has done so primarily through preparation, taking a “not if but when” position. This served the city well in 2020, when it weathered a ransomware attack. Due to having planned for ransomware as an inevitability, when it actually happened the city was able to restore core business functions within a week with full recovery coming in less than a month. Not only did the city not pay anything during this attack, the ransomware didn’t even come. A big part of this, Goode recalls, was the decision to not only have a robust backup system in place, but to rebuild 150 servers to get back online quickly.

“I figured I’d be the center of attention no matter what,” Goode told Government Technology. “So I might as well give it my best effort. Give my best effort and then ask for forgiveness.”

Looking ahead, Goode’s office has many of the priorities other cities share, including closing the digital divide and fostering digital equity. In addition, work is underway to reinvent more core business systems and incorporate data governance and strategy.

“My philosophy is if it’s not broken, make it better,” Goode said. “You should never be satisfied. Even if you’re doing it really well, you should always look to do it better.”

*The Center for Digital Government is part of e.Republic, Government Technology's parent company.
Associate editor for Government Technology magazine.