Government Technology

    Digital Communities
    Industry Members

  • Click sponsor logos for whitepapers, case studies, and best practices.
  • McAfee

Collin County's Caren Skipworth Pushes Regional Collaboration


Caren Skipworth
Caren Skipworth

April 14, 2009 By

Four Questions for ...

Caren Skipworth, IT Director, Collin County, Texas

Collin County's Caren Skipworth was named Texas CIO of the year in January. One of her biggest accomplishments was building a multijurisdictional fiber communication network shared by Collin County, local community colleges and a handful of area cities.

Describe the shared fiber network.

We put in 124 miles of fiber that connected our county, the community college here, five of our largest cities and one of the ISDs [independent school districts]. We had a savings of about $1.3 million from the sharing of fiber that already existed in the ground.

It was a two-year project. We completed the last leg about [nine] months ago.

How do you use the network?

We have been using it for video arraignments for municipalities that have prisoners in our jail. We also use it to send confidential data from city police departments to our Homeland Security Department. We have plans for other uses too. We're working on a collaborative, common integrated justice project. It's a software implementation with 13 other counties - some of the largest in Texas. Collin County initiated the lead. I chair that committee, and we meet on a bimonthly basis. We went in, procured a system and saved millions of dollars in doing so. Not only in license costs, but we also share the modifications that help us save a lot of money with our counties.

How challenging are those shared projects?

The fiber project was excellent because it dealt with a lot of IT. When you hit the court systems [for the integrated justice project], you deal with a lot of independent, elected officials among 13 counties, so that's a challenge. Communication is obviously the big key, and also putting in an effective governance structure.

How will this effort evolve?

One challenge we have is continuing with our projects, with the resource limitations of the economy. But I still think we have a lot of collaboration to do. One of the big things I can see is expanding the fiber project so other counties can connect and maybe use shared disaster recovery resources.

 


| More

Comments

Add Your Comment

You are solely responsible for the content of your comments. We reserve the right to remove comments that are considered profane, vulgar, obscene, factually inaccurate, off-topic, or considered a personal attack.

In Our Library

White Papers | Exclusives Reports | Webinar Archives | Best Practices and Case Studies
Digital Cities & Counties Survey: Best Practices Quick Reference Guide
This Best Practices Quick Reference Guide is a compilation of examples from the 2013 Digital Cities and Counties Surveys showcasing the innovative ways local governments are using technological tools to respond to the needs of their communities. It is our hope that by calling attention to just a few examples from cities and counties of all sizes, we will encourage further collaboration and spark additional creativity in local government service delivery.
Wireless Reporting Takes Pain (& Wait) out of Voting
In Michigan and Minnesota counties, wireless voting via the AT&T network has brought speed, efficiency and accuracy to elections - another illustration of how mobility and machine-to-machine (M2M) technology help governments to bring superior services and communication to constituents.
Why Would a City Proclaim Their Data “Open by Default?”
The City of Palo Alto, California, a 2013 Center for Digital Government Digital City Survey winner, has officially proclaimed “open” to be the default setting for all city data. Are they courageous or crazy?
View All