Mayor Swearengin To Welcome IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Team to Fresno For Three-Week Engagement
04/22/2013
Fresno – Mayor Ashley Swearengin will be welcoming a six-member global team from IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge Grant program to Fresno at a kick-off event in Council Chambers at City Hall on Tuesday, April 23, at 11 a.m. Stakeholders from a number of local agencies and community groups will attend the event.

In addition, representatives from federal agencies will discuss the activities of the federal Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) team and how their efforts will complement the work of the IBM team. The SC2 team has been working with City officials for more than a year on economic development and revitalization efforts. Federal officials participating in the event are Bob Brese, Chief Information Officer; U.S. Department of Energy; Glenda Humiston, State Director of California Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture; and Scott Stollman, SC2 Fresno team lead, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The IBM team will spend three weeks in Fresno working with City officials and stakeholders on economic development and neighborhood revitalization efforts. Team members will come to Fresno from Hanoi, Vietnam; Chennai, India; Beijing, China; West Chester, PA; Denver, CO; and Somers, NY. They will live in Fresno and will meet with more than 40 individuals from non-profit, public, private and community entities as well as various City departments.

“The IBM team’s visit is an incredible opportunity for the City of Fresno,” Mayor Swearengin said. “For three weeks, we will have access to top-level talent and expertise to help us address our economic challenges. We expect the IBM team to add a unique perspective and real value to the ongoing work of our federal partners in the Strong Cities, Strong Communities program and the amazing efforts of individuals and organizations that are taking place every day throughout our community.”

Over the three-week period, the IBM team will work with City officials to analyze data and solicit the input of documents of local agencies and community groups before providing detailed recommendations on how the City might improve its economic development and community revitalization efforts.

As a result of the engagement, the City hopes to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to build a regional cloud for sharing “open data” and modeling tools that will be instrumental for citizen engagement. The City also will work with IBM on a plan to deploy ultra-high-speed broadband in the Downtown Corridor, which could serve as the underpinning for development of a regional agricultural technology cluster in Fresno.

IBM in November 2012 announced that it had selected Fresno to receive an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant. In 2011, IBM Citizenship launched the three-year Smarter Cities Challenge competitive grant program to help 100 cities around the globe address their most critical challenges. For more information about IBM’s Smarter Cities, please visit www.smartercities.org.

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