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Travis Cutright

CIO, Mesa, Ariz.

Mesa, Ariz., CIO Travis Cutright
Mesa CIO Travis Cutright has made use of leadership skills gained over two decades working in tech to help make smart technologies an everyday part of public life. Under his leadership, the city won first place in the 2021 Government Experience Awards* city category for its use of CARES Act funding to expand connectivity, as well as citizen outreach efforts using social media surveys and online polling apps to gather feedback about the city’s most pressing IT needs.

“A lot of what we’re doing is looking for innovative ways to serve our citizens and keep them safe, but also to be efficient and minimize the impact on the environment,” said Cutright, who’s held the role for about five years following his work as Phoenix’s deputy CIO.

The city is using civic data, GIS information and smart-screen kiosks located downtown to help residents and visitors navigate the city. Mesa also expanded broadband access for low-income residents and students amid shifts to telework and remote learning.

As the city’s IT team worked swiftly to respond to people’s needs during the pandemic, Cutright’s staff continued implementing the city’s Smart City Strategic Plan and Climate Action Plan to increase efficiency and streamline operations across all 28 departments. As part of those plans, the city is retrofitting facilities with modern HVAC systems that can help control energy costs. Those savings can then be reinvested in other priorities, like smart meters and a real-time public safety operations center.

Cutright is particularly proud of the city’s efforts to convert food waste into useable energy in a partnership with local schools and restaurants.

It’s not necessarily a traditional role for a CIO to play, but Cutright is embracing a broader interpretation of his position, where communication and coordination are critical.

“We’re not sitting in a dark room anymore. We’re a business partner to the organization,” he said.

*The Government Experience Awards are a program of the Center for Digital Government, a part of e.Republic, Government Technology's parent company.
Brandon Paykamian is a staff writer for Government Technology. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from East Tennessee State University and years of experience as a multimedia reporter, mainly focusing on public education and higher ed.