A U.S. Army and Air National Guard veteran who managed a staff of 40 and a $10 million budget for the Orange County Sanitation District. A UCLA Anderson School of Management alumnus who was tapped as one of the Top 100 Most Influential IT Directors by Richtopia.com. A chief innovation officer who started programming computers at age 16. These are just a few examples of the extraordinary resources available through the nascent Municipal Information Systems Association of California (MISAC) Speakers Bureau, through which organizations can request MISAC experts to participate in events and conferences.

“Building on a long tradition of fielding speaker requests,” says Tim Williamsen, P.E., Vice President and Communications Committee Chair of MISAC and Information Technology Manager for the City of Petaluma, “we are proud to announce the MISAC Speakers Bureau.”

MISAC is comprised of information technology professionals who serve communities, agencies and special districts throughout California. The organization promotes the understanding and thoughtful use of information technology within local government agencies; this mission is accomplished through sharing of best practices, advocacy, relationship building, resource cultivation, education and professional development.

In line with MISAC’s strategic outreach efforts, the new speakers bureau will leverage the intellectual capital of current and former members who have compelling experiences and lessons to share, value their engagement with MISAC and want to further MISAC’s efforts by sharing what technology can do for organizations.

“It is impossible to put a value on the collective wisdom of hundreds of municipal information technology professionals,” says Williamsen. “In addition to the educational opportunities, the ability of MISAC members to share experiences about all sorts of technical issues—what has worked, as well as what hasn’t worked—is invaluable. Our new Speakers Bureau is an important resource for continuing to share that practical knowledge.”

Select MISAC members are available for speaking engagements and for news media interviews by arrangement and when their schedules permit. This intellectual capital can be accessed through a web page, www.misac.org/page/Speakers_Bureau, which contains a directory of speakers and biographies and instructions on how to engage.

The initial cohort of a dozen speakers includes past and present chief information officers and information technology leaders from throughout California who share a common passion for the power of municipal information technology.

“Investing in technology produces dramatic economies and productivity far beyond the cost,” says Dennis Vlasich, an information technology consultant who retired as information technology director for the City of Fontana in July 2016. “At this point in my career, I’m somewhat removed from the day-to-day issues of new technologies, but I think that information technology needs to evolve once again into a new paradigm because of changing attitudes and technologies such as security, analytics and the internet of things. Failure to recognize these changes will relegate information technology to a back-office support function rather than a strategic partner in organizational planning.”

The speakers’ areas of expertise include categories such as public wi-fi/broadband, smart cities, innovative culture, data analytics, e-government, electronic political interactions, strategic planning, governance, cybersecurity, FirstNet and wireless technologies.

Many members of this distinguished group already have presented to audiences at conference and meetings for organizations such as the following:

  • Government Technology Los Angeles Digital Government Summit
  • International City/County Management Association
  • International Institute of Municipal Clerks
  • League of California Cities
  • Municipal Management Association of Northern California
  • Municipal Management Association of Southern California

“In addition to professional organizations and conferences,” says Lea Deesing, Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Riverside and Executive Director of SmartRiverside, a nonprofit that aims to narrow the digital divide in her region by empowerment through education and technology, “I regularly speak to young students, hoping my story will inspire them to become interested in the computer science field.”

For more information, please visit http://www.misac.org/?page=Speakers_Bureau or contact speakers@misac.org.

“There’s no doubt technology has become the mainstay of many organizations,” says Williamsen. “Please contact MISAC. Our members have so much to share.”