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Michelle Thong Departs San Jose Office of Civic Innovation

Michelle Thong, the digital services lead for the city of San Jose, Calif., was one of the founding members of the Office of Civic Innovation. Now she's leaving to join a tech company that works with government clients.

Thong Michelle
Michelle Thong/ Medium
A founding member of the Office of Civic Innovation in San Jose, Calif., has departed.

Michelle Thong, digital services lead for the city, will become senior product manager at Nava Public Benefit Corporation, a technology company working closely with government agencies. Nava is based in Washington, D.C., with offices in San Francisco and New York.

Thong’s work will involve “improving government services on a national scale,” according to her post on Medium.

Thong began her service with San Jose six years ago, after previous work in the computer hardware industry. In San Jose, Thong was notable for her efforts to form an initiative known as Code for San Jose, an effort to use technology to improve the way government works and interacts with residents. The group organized “hack nights,” and explored how to make city processes more streamlined or make better use of data.

“I’m proud to say that by finding the courage to do things differently, by pulling in other people, San Jose has moved the needle on how we deliver services to our residents,” Thong wrote.

Thong’s departure follows San Jose Chief Innovation Officer Shireen Santosham, who led the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation. Santosham left San Jose City Hall in January and went on to assist in growth and expansion strategy at Plenty, a Bay Area-based startup focused on indoor vertical farming to produce sustainably produced, healthy, fresh foods.

Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Yreka, Calif.