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Mike Timm

Director of Information Technology, Oakland County, Mich.

Oakland County, Michigan, CIO Mike Timm
Oakland County, Mich., CIO Mike Timm started his career as an engineer in the computer department at the General Motors vehicle assembly plant. At that time, his area was organized underneath the comptroller. IT has come a long way since then, as has Timm, whose technical and organizational abilities led to greater responsibilities as he moved through his career in various, mostly private-sector roles. As for the turn he made toward government more than four years ago, Timm viewed it as another opportunity to satisfy his “disposition toward service … serving people to help make their lives easier and their jobs more efficient,” he said.

Timm is quick to credit the strong foundation he inherited with Oakland County’s cloud investments for both applications and infrastructure — investments that helped ease the transition to remote work and in general make county IT more agile. He plans to continue that trajectory by moving additional data and services to the cloud, ensuring the stability and security of the county’s complex network along the way.

When the pandemic swept the country, Timm’s experience in manufacturing led to a leadership role on the team charged with distributing CARES Act funding to local businesses — a complex challenge on an unprecedented scale, injected with an urgency tied to profound community need. Process improvements, bolstered by automation and other workflow tools, helped move resources as efficiently as possible. Technology also came to the rescue to help connect older residents in Oakland County locked down due to the pandemic with their loved ones using Amazon Echo Show devices.

A people-focused leader, Timm points to many mentors he’s worked with in his career that underscored the importance of putting people at the heart of every decision, especially in IT, where there will always be bugs to fix. This translates to support for professional development, work-life balance and team building, though that last one has gotten more challenging with a largely remote workforce. “I think once you show people that you care for them, they care for you, they care for the team, they care for their customers,” he said.
Noelle Knell has been the editor of Government Technology magazine for e.Republic since 2015. She has more than two decades of writing and editing experience, covering public projects, transportation, business and technology. A California native, she has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history. She can be reached via email and on Twitter.