January 31, 2008 By Emily Montandon, Associate Editor
Photo: Austin CIO Peter Collins
This year's Government Technology Conference (GTC) Southwest in Austin, Texas, began with the CIO Academy -- a one-day event featuring panel discussions and breakout sessions for Texas' IT leaders. At the CIO Academy, GTC, together with the Texas Department of Information Resources, awarded its first CIO of the Year award to Austin CIO Peter Collins.
The award was given to Collins for his leadership and management skills completing a number of projects for the city of Austin and his work with collaborative partners across the region.
The award is one in a string of kudos in recent years, including four awards for leadership and project excellence in the 2007 Best of Texas awards, a program run by the Center for Digital Government.
"What I'm most proud of is the folks I've worked with over the years," Collins said in an interview after the event. "It's because of their dedication, hard work and trust in me as being a leader through this, and embracing the way I see things need to be done. If I never had the support of the Fire, EMS, Police, Sheriff's Department, I wouldn't be sitting here."
During the ceremony, all nominees for the award were recognized for a job well done. The runners up included: Shareen Addison, Information Resource Manager for the Department of Disability and Aging Services; Steve Chen, CIO of the University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost College; Victor Gonzalez, deputy assistant commissioner for Administrative Services for the Texas Department of Agriculture; Dee Meador, IT director of the Texas Workforce Commission; Richard Reynolds, CTO of Bee Cave; and Collin County IT Director Caren Skipworth.
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.