The History of Kalamazoo
In its early years, the City of Kalamazoo started out as a small village in Southwest Michigan. As the city began to grow following its founding in 1831, it became a city of many firsts. “ We built the first outdoor pedestrian mall in America back in 1959, Checker Taxi, a dominant taxi cab company started here, and so did Gibson Guitars. Since then we've continued to grow. Now we have the Western Michigan University in the city, Kalamazoo College as well as Kalamazoo Valley Community College. We have a young population here with the university and colleges,” says Tim Dubois, CIO for the City of Kalamazoo.
Dubois Career so far at Kalamazoo
Since joining the city as CIO, Dubois has seen Kalamazoo continuously evolve “It's continued to evolve from trying to recover from a lot of tight budgets, the running and maintenance of infrastructure over the past 10 years. We are expanding and delving deeper into digital transformation across the city.”
Being responsible for the entire IT infrastructure and projects, and working with departments to implement technology-based solutions, Dubois explains that the city has “Started some initiatives in the smart city area, that go beyond just repairing people's computers and taking care of the servers, moving more into technology and putting technology into our department’s hands and across the rest of the city. But we’ve come up against issues and problems, our overall strategy is to move towards a digital government, but a core issue in the city is that poverty is a big part of our community. Not everyone can afford to move to a digital service, so we have to keep the manual processes as well. We are working to bridge the gap, helping not only our own transformation to go digital but to help our residents move that way as well.”
Dubois adds, “We have moved some things to online forums already, and we are continuing to move that way. I foresee that we will continue to do so until we are fully online in the future, but that again depends largely on our residents. If they can’t adapt to our digital future then we are not providing a very good government service by moving to a place where they can not operate.”
Dubois Career Inspiration
Reflecting on his career journey of 24years so far, Dubois is inspired most by the ability to put technology into people‘s hands for good use. “So more than just oh I can do something on a computer that I used to do on paper. We want residents to realise that it's a faster and more efficient process. In the long run it makes it easier for people to do their jobs. Really it’s the idea that I am a part of making something that they could do and something that was better, that is what really inspires me to be better and to be there for people,” concludes Dubois.
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