CivicPlus Establishes Client Advisory Board of Industry Leaders

Written by Jessica Marabella

CivicPlus has announced the formation of a strategic Client Advisory Board. The board is comprised of six of the nation’s leaders in public sector enterprise technology and civic engagement. The purpose of the board is to serve as a collaborative, strategic forum of industry partners to gather input and insights into the technology trends and emerging needs of public sector entities that will inform CivicPlus’ ongoing innovative product development. The Client Advisory Board will facilitate the free-flow of information between CivicPlus and its clients to enhance their collective knowledge and improve their shared future.

The initial members of the CivicPlus Client Advisory Board represent national leaders and innovative thinkers in public sector technology from a variety of municipal cities and counties. The board includes the following client members:


Karen Connelley – Deputy Chief Information Officer for Maricopa County, Arizona. Mrs. Connelley leads the County’s Office of Enterprise Technology (OET) Advanced Services division, which includes enterprise applications analysis, development, and maintenance support, as well as the OET Customer Service Center and PC/LAN support organization. She is an experienced executive with over 20 years of IT experience both in the private and public sectors. Prior to joining Maricopa County, Ms. Connelley spent several years at the State of Arizona working in its Strategic Enterprise Organization, seven years at Actuate Corporation running its Worldwide Professional Services Division and IT Data Operations Center, and fifteen years at American Express as a Vice President of Technology. Ms. Connelley holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Northern Arizona.


Bud Harris –Chief Information Officer for Kitsap County, Washington. In line with his experience, Mr. Harris runs Kitsap County IT functions much like a Private Sector Service Bureau. Kitsap County is considered an innovations leader with a focus in Business Process Improvement (BPI), Total Cost Ownership/Operation (TCO), and Lean Six-Sigma Project Management. Prior to his service to Kitsap County, Mr. Harris worked in the banking industry, where he ran IT for a multi-bank holding company. He then transitioned to work at Nation-Wide Healthcare as Director of Data Center Operations for twelve years. Mr. Harris has served in Kitsap County for 18 years.


Rebecca Hascall –Deputy Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Jefferson County, Colorado. Ms. Hascall has served as the Deputy CIO for Jefferson County for over nine years. As Deputy CIO, she leads the digital services division and develops the IT strategy for the county. Ms. Hascall oversees multiple IT teams that support Project Management, ERP, GIS, ECM, Case Management, Finance/Revenue, and Software Development. Prior to her work in Jefferson County, Ms. Hascall spent time in the private sector at companies such as Oracle (PeopleSoft), Sun Microsystems, and JD Edwards. She holds PMP and ITIL certifications and holds degrees in both Computer Information Systems (Ohio State) and Business German (Georgia State).


Oswaldo Mestre, Jr. –Director of the Division of Citizen Services for the City of Buffalo. Mr. Mestre serves as the City’s ombudsman and its Chief Service Officer (CSO). As CSO, Mr. Mestre oversees development of the Mayor’s 3-1-1 Call and Resolution Center, Mobile Application, and other citizen-centric programs. The 3-1-1 Call and Resolution Center was designated a “Citizen-Engaged Community” by the Public Technology Institute, Inc. (2012, 2014, 2016) for providing the public with multi-channel access to government services. Additionally, Mr. Mestre oversees the development, implementation, and assessment of neighborhood revitalization and quality-of-life programs such as the Mayor’s Citizens’ Participation Academy, the Save Our Streets Program, the nationally acclaimed Clean Sweeps Initiative, and the Housing and Urban Development (H.U.D.) Crime Prevention Initiative. Mr. Mestre has received numerous awards including designation among the “Top 25 Dreamers and Doers” by GovTech and the “Computerworld Premier 100 Tech Leader Honorees.” Mr. Mestre received his undergraduate education from the University of Buffalo where his major area of study was Architecture and Public Policy & Administration.


Renan Ramirez – CIO at Hidalgo County, Texas. Mr. Ramirez was born and raised in Mexico and credits his multi-cultural experience as giving him a broad foundation and exposure to a wide spectrum of technology. What started as a teenage hobby in programming VCRs and document translation, led to a career in public sector IT. Mr. Ramirez has been with Hidalgo County for over 17 years where he leads the county in delivering innovative technology, supports data resources, information systems, IT infrastructure, and application development. He holds a degree in Computer Information Systems from Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara. Although his focus is on technology by day, Mr. Ramirez loves to engage others about his many interests, including fitness, history, food, and anything multi-cultural.


Andy Stein –Director of Information Technology at the City of Newport News, Virginia. During his nine years with Newport News, Mr. Stein has made it a priority to replace the legacy mainframe custom developed applications with off-the-shelf software. Additionally, he has pursued regional collaboration and technology strategies with other local government organizations. Prior to his time in public service, Mr. Stein worked in the private sector at both Capital One as IT Director and in IMB He holds a degree from Universitatea Politechnica Timisoara in Romania.

“We are thrilled to have such experienced and successful leaders as members of our collaborative Client Advisory Board,” said Sascha Ohler, CivicPlus Vice President of Research and Development. “The insights and knowledge our clients bring us have always been essential in our product innovation process. However, the formation of our Client Advisory Board will allow us to even more closely align our solutions with the needs of local government. We are confident our board members will help us continue to meet the evolving needs of local government and meet our primary goal of helping local government work better through the use of integrated technology solutions.”

According to Ohler, the purpose of the board is not only to inform strategic decision-making for CivicPlus and influence its product enhancements, it is to enable a type of peer collaboration and shared learning that will benefit all participants.

“As members of our Client Advisory Board, our members will benefit from regular access to a group of peers all of which are dedicated to innovations in citizen engagement. We believe the board will enable impactful, influential knowledge-sharing that will help each member’s community to push forward in ground-breaking ways.”

The CivicPlus Client Advisory Board will begin holding regular meetings later this year. Its initial discussions will focus on such topics as big data, cyber security, enterprise mobility, social media, emergency preparedness, and local government marketing.