Paul E. Haugan

Collaborating with colleagues yields rich rewards

The tough economy has left many mayors and governors competing for limited state funding. But Paul E. Haugan, chief technology officer for the city of Lynnwood, Wash., has found that the best approach to solving problems is a cooperative one.

When Haugan, 53, left his job as computer services division manager for the city of Fresno, Calif., in 2006, he kept in touch with his former co-workers. After becoming a member of Washington's Association of County & City Information Systems, he invited a colleague from the Municipal Information Systems Association of California to serve as a guest speaker at an ACCIS meeting.

That's when ACCIS members realized that other regions were facing the same issues Washington was, and they recognized an opportunity. "We're going to get a lot further if we all start cooperating and collaborating on regional levels," Haugan says.

With Haugan's assistance, IT professionals from Washington, Oregon, California and Colorado now share best practices and strategies.

One of his former co-workers, Kari Alverson, left her job in Fresno to follow Haugan north. "There aren't many people I would uproot my whole family for," she says. "[But Paul is a] visionary. He allows you to disagree with him [and] is very open to change."

Haugan has also provided Lynnwood's firefighters with iPhones and Verizon MiFi hot spots, so first responders can gather critical medical data and forward it to the emergency room before a patient arrives.

Whether he's working locally or regionally, Haugan's efforts transcend politics, thanks to a philosophy he always keeps in mind: "The sum is greater than the parts."

Next: Return to the full list of 2011 honorees

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