August 20, 2009 By Andy Opsahl
Photo: Harris County CIO Steve Jennings. Photo by Kelly LaDuke
Steve Jennings, CIO of Harris County, Texas, will retire after 34 years and several landmark projects. He will depart having recently transitioned the county's public safety communications system to cloud computing -- a type of flexible, virtual server capacity existing on the Web.
His last day will be Aug. 31.
Jennings didn't specify his future plans, but said he wanted to stay connected to local government IT in some way.
"Being able to use technical abilities to help your citizens see results -- somehow I'll be involved with that the rest of my life," Jennings said, later adding, "You never totally retire because someone will always call you and say, 'What do you think about this?'"
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.