April 2013

In This Issue

  • 2013 Education Conference
  • The "Spotlight"
  • Local User Groups

TAGITM Conference
April 22-25, 2013
South Padre Island

  • Registration Deadline - April 22.
  • Overflow Hotel Rooms Available
  • Check the website for more information.

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. "
-John Quincy Adams

Officer Elections and Bylaws Changes

Visit the web site to review the candidates and proposed bylaws change to learn more.

News Feed Provides Easy Access to Tech News

The TAGITM home page has several technology news feeds on the latest in technology news. Visit www.tagitm.org to find the latest technology stories to help stay current with breaking stories. If you know of a great news feed we can incorporate into the website, please let us know by emailing website@tagitm.org.



2013 Education Conference

TAGTIM’s 2013 Education Conference will offer the same great mix of topics members have come to expect, plus a few new twists. New for 2013, this year’s conference will feature a three-hour round table on Monday, April 22nd from 2:00 – 5:00 PM prior to registration and the President’s reception. The roundtable will be moderated by Norex, Inc. who specializes in facilitated round table sessions for their members.

Mark Milliron, PhD, Chancellor, Western Governors University, Texas, will kick off our conference on Tuesday morning with a keynote on How to Challenge the Various Generations of IT Professionals.

Also changed this year, attendees will notice that there are now two educational tracks. The tracks highlighted in yellow in your 2013 Conference Agenda are focused more on tactical approaches to the issues discussed, while the sessions highlighted in blue are more strategic. Some of the topics featured in this year’s breakout sessions include BYOD and Mobile Device Management, Advanced Authentication, Windows 8, VDI and Office 365.

Shannon Tufts, PhD, Director, Center for Public Technology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will kick off the day on Wednesday with an engaging session based on Jim Collins book, Great by Choice.

Thursday morning, Phil Baughn, Gartner Executive Director and former CIO of the Commonwealth of Kentucky will present on the Government Hype Cycle and the Future of the CIO. This is an interesting look at the hot topics we may be facing as well as the potentially changing role of the CIO in the future. The Conference will close with our business meeting and election of Officers for the coming year.

Organization in The Spotlight

Organization Name: City of South Padre Island

Number of IT Workers in the Organization: 3

Significant Technology Achievements: The most significant project we completed is going virtualized. We started in early 2010 and have over the past couple of years moved most of our servers to a virtualized environment. All of the City’s servers are now virtualized with the exception of video and remote access servers. This year we also made the switch to a P25 compliant radio system and dispatch consoles. We are in the final stages of switching over the entire region to digital and had to make the switch because we rely on many other agencies for support during our big events. Late last year the City completed construction of the new Fire Station # 1 after working out of a temporary location since Hurricane Dolly in the summer 2008. As with all new buildings technology is extremely important and we were able to get the contractors to do most of what we wanted. We then came in later and added WIFI, audio/visual equipment, a VOIP phone system and computers in all the rooms. Lastly, we upgraded the WIFI at the convention center to support bigger shows and tech savvy groups… such as TAGITM.

Plans for Future Technology Initiatives: Like many other agencies we are currently working on advanced authentication to meet the new CJIS guidelines. We are also looking to expand the VOIP phone system we put in the fire station to the rest of the City locations to replace our digital system and cut our ties with AT&T. We are also looking at trying to move our email services offsite to the Office 365 service. Lastly, we are hoping to improve the connectivity between all of the city facilities by using fiber.

Most Challenging Project: The most challenging project was definitely the new Fire Station. Getting contractors to do what you want and making sure you are in the loop on all the communication that takes place is very challenging. This was also my first new building so I had to learn a few things as well. Timing is extremely important to make sure you do everything in the most cost effective manner.

Most Rewarding Project: I am sure everyone is doing virtualization by now but it is still by far the most rewarding project we have done. It makes our lives so much easier!

What is Most Valuable About Being a TAGITM Member: I joined TAGITM shortly after I turned 21 and had just entered the government IT world. The biggest value TAGITM has given me is friends, information and confidence to make a difference. It provides me the perspective and camaraderie needed to become a difference maker through my role as an IT manager.

TAGITM Members Form Local User GroupsGroup

While each organization is unique, we all face similar challenges. If you arefacing a problem, the odds are good one of your neighbors has had to deal with it too. So why not learn from their experience? By joining or starting a local user group you can begin to share knowledge and experience with nearby colleagues. Meeting regularly, you can sometimes get ahead of the curve by seeing trends develop in other agencies, then proactively implement technology or policy in yours. Talking to your neighbors about their projects and challenges helps clarify your own priorities.In my local group we have shared policies, discussed why and how we enforce policies, discussed project planning, and shared lists of favorite software utilities. TAGITM encourages you to seek out nearby by agencies and form your own local group and here are some tips to help you get started.

  • Meet Regularly & On A Schedule
    Making the meeting on a predictable schedule will boost attendance. For example, meet once a month on a Thursday. That way people can plan to attend future events.
  • Pick A Good Location
    Picking a meeting place that is centrally located makes attendance easier for everyone. You might also rotate the location so it's closer to different people at different times. But there is more to picking a location than geography. Some restaurants are better for meetings than others. You want a place with an atmosphere that facilitates discussion. Loud, busy restaurants are not ideal. Pick a place with minimal distractions. Good food is also helpful.
  • Have A Topic Prepared
    Try to have a couple of things you can talk about intelligently at some length. You don't need to be the expert, but you need to know enough to get the conversation going. If you know someone else in the group has expertise in the topic you can prepare questions to get things started. You can also ask if anyone has a topic they'd like to discuss when you send out the invitation to the meeting.
  • Keep It Informal
    Early on we set an agenda, but it was rarely followed. If you get five IT managers together it's practically guaranteed at least one of them has some problem or project on their mind they want to discuss and get feedback on. Let the conversation flow; don't try to control it unless you have to.
  • Follow Up
    Nothing says the conversation has to end when lunch is finished. Email your questions to the group or call the individual you want to hear more from. This will also keep people connected, making them more likely to attend next time.

Local user groups extend the benefits of TAGITM membership, increase our knowledge base, and build lasting friendships. Join or start one today! For more information on user groups in your area contact Keith Macedo at membership@tagitm.org.

>>Current list of user groups.


Texas Association of Governmental Information Technology Managers
P. O. Box 200363, Austin, Texas 78720