Digital Inclusion Week: Our Efforts, Our Passion

During the week of May 7-11, 2018, Seattle Information Technology joined 300 affiliated organizations in 38 states for a nationwide online event to recognize Digital Inclusion Week. The purpose is to amplify the message that all individuals and communities, including the most disadvantaged, need equitable access to use the internet. We know digital inclusion requires intentional strategies and investments to reduce and eliminate historical, institutional, and structural barriers to access and use technology. The work to attain these goals is outlined in the City’s Digital Equity Initiative.

During this week we have used social media to amplify the message of digital inclusion week:

Our Twitter handle came alive with the faces of Seattle IT staff who are passionate about #DigitalEquityIs

  • Our Facebook page also helped call attention to the importance of digital equity

We were honored to have Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan write a guest post on our Tech Talk blog where she talked about Seattle’s long history of leading the way on digital innovation. She also humbly acknowledged that not everyone in our city has benefitted from the technological revolution. She discussed the challenges for many of finding a job online, having access to the internet, or helping their children with online homework when access to the internet, technology, and devices are a challenge. She also highlighted the City’s efforts to close the digital divide in Seattle.

Community Technology Manager Chance Hunt blogged about the problem of being “Under Connected.” Although 93% of Seattleites have the internet, not all have strong data or speed. Some have cost barriers, insufficient devices, and don’t have the tech support. The post outlined solutions and the work Seattle is doing to improve digital equity.

It’s been an enjoyable and successful week. We were happy to highlight our Seattle IT employees and share their feelings on digital equity. We look forward sharing even more next year!

To sign up for future announcements on about our Digital Equity program, join our listserv featured on our Digital Equity page.

The Problem with Being Under-connected

Guest blog by Community Technology Manager Chance Hunt

*under-connected = limited data or speed, cost barriers, or insufficient devices, tech support or skills

It’s Digital Inclusion Week! Every Seattle resident should have the technologies they need to participate fully in society. Whether they are looking for a job, connecting to family and friends, doing homework, or accessing government services.

According to the 2016 American Communities Survey 93% of Seattle residents have internet at home. However, this does not mean that all residents can afford a level of access or online speeds that meet their needs. Fully 7%, or 50,000 residents, either have no internet connection at home at all or are reliant on cell phone data plans to get online. Taken together, we are seeing a situation where Seattle residents are “under-connected.”

National studies have found a link between home broadband internet adoption and educational success, greater household income, and improved access to government and health resources. This is especially true for vulnerable populations including low-income residents, limited-English speakers, seniors and people with disabilities.

Low-income people are more likely to use a smart phone to create resume and cover letter. These “smartphone only” job seekers report problems entering a large amount of text on their smartphone while searching for a job. They also say they have problems submitting required files or other supporting documents needed to apply for a job

Many low-income parents with home internet access report that their connection is too slow to do the things they wish to do online, especially homework requiring streaming. Households that share a single computer or had their internet cut off due to non-payment puts their students at a disadvantage.

Solutions to address these issues are being found right here in Seattle. In 2017, City of Seattle investments, coupled with private and non-profit support, resulted in:

  • Over 1.9 Million people accessed public Wi-Fi connections at 27 libraries, 29 community centers and other public buildings
  • Broadband internet for non-profit organizations: 314 community sites received free cable broadband service through Comcast and Wave Broadband (valued at $376K)
  • 2,922 residents received digital skills training through City of Seattle investments in community organizations.
  • 6,584 internet “hot spots” were checked out from The Seattle Public LibrarySo, as we celebrate Digital Inclusion Week in 2018, we will continue to seek out solutions to get everyone online in Seattle. Working together as a community we will get people connected, get them the computer devices they need, and offer support for the skills necessary to be successful in life.

#DigitalEquityIs the Future of Seattle

Guest Blog Post by Mayor Jenny A. Durkan

Seattle has always been the city that invents the future. We have a long history of leading the way on digital innovation, from the personal computing revolution, to e-commerce and the cloud. For so long, we have re-built, re-invented and re-imagined the digital future.

But not everyone in Seattle has benefitted equally from the technological revolution. Imagine not being able to find a job, not because you weren’t a skilled worker, but because you simply didn’t have access to the internet to post your resume online. Or if you couldn’t help your fifth grader with her history report, all because you depend on public Wi-Fi and the library is closed. Or if you couldn’t find affordable housing, with no computer access to complete a rental application.

Sounds hard to imagine in our city – home to tech giants with household names and one of the most “plugged in” communities – but this is a fact many of our residents face every day.

And it’s a fact I believe we need to change.

May 5 through 11, marks national Digital Inclusion Week. We are joining with other cities across the country to shed light on the work being done to make sure all Americans have access to the technology needed to succeed in our fast moving, technology savvy world. With the #digitalequityis, we’re holding this conversation across all platforms.

Digital equity is essential in our society.

Many of us might not even think about how difficult it can be to function without access to technology until we don’t have it. We get frustrated when we can’t access a connection to check email, social media, or stream a video. For some, this is an everyday reality. Seven percent of Seattle residents don’t have internet at home, are “under-connected,” meaning their internet access is slow, drops out, buffers, or have only one computer internet access for their family’s needs. Seven percent might seem low to you – but that number translates to nearly 50,000 Seattle residents according to the American Community Survey. I think it’s seven percent too many.

Working to achieve digital equity is one way that we can help close the opportunity gap for low income families and communities of color. Many of these “under-connected” homes are in lower income neighborhoods. As a 2015 Pew Research Center report noted, those families are more likely to struggle finding jobs as they face challenges filling out forms and submitting resumes on their phones. For those parents whose only access is on their phones, many hit their data limit quickly while helping kids with online homework. Or worse, their phones are disconnected because they can’t pay their bills.

It’s these digital inequity challenges that vulnerable populations are facing on a daily basis.  This includes low-income residents, seniors, people with disabilities and residents with limited-English skills.

In Seattle, we’re working diligently to close the digital divide. Together with investors and providers, we’re connecting the community. With programs such as Wi-Fi devices for homeless residents, or ConnectHome, which provides public housing families with refurbished computer and internet access, or the Technology Matching Fund program, which supports non-profits teaching digital skills and equipping residents, we can help eliminate that high number of seven percent. In Seattle, we have more than 300 community sites that receive free broadband service through our partnerships with Comcast and Wave Broadband. The City also offers free Wi-Fi at all libraries, community centers and public buildings.

But we can’t do it alone. We must continue building partnerships and a community that cares enough to eliminate the inequities that challenge us as a City. By working towards true digital equity, we can make Seattle a more affordable, inclusive and welcoming place for all.

IT Vendor Forum: Who Will Be There? What Projects Will They Talk About?

The IT Vendor Forum is just over a week away. We’ve got NEW information available about who will be in attendance and what are some of the projects they will be talking about. This is a chance for technology contractors who are interested in doing business with the City of Seattle and/or King County to come meet with the managers who are responsible for guiding the most important technology projects.

This year’s forum takes place at Seattle City Hall on Thursday, April 26 in the Bertha Knight Landes Room. We’ve broken this year’s event into two identical sessions. Click the hyperlink to register.

A morning session takes place from 9 a.m. to noon (nearly full)

An afternoon session takes place from 1 – 4 p.m. (openings available)

Also, for the first time this year, we are featuring a networking hour in between the two main sessions. Morning session attendees can say after and afternoon session attendees can come before to meet with other contractors and experts in the field.

Below you will find a list of the categories that will be available for you to speak with technology experts on. Please, direct any questions or concerns to Rosalind Brazel, Ram Biyani, and Gina Simmons.

We look forward to seeing you there!


City of Seattle

Business Office and Industry Solutions

Provides the business services that enable the successful operation of the department including Budget and Finance, Accounting, Human Resources, Communications, Contracting and Procurement, and Performance Management. Representing this division will be members of the Purchasing and Contracts team listed below.

Who: Rosalind Brazel from the Communications team will be in attendance to speak with graphic designers about upcoming public outreach projects.

Digital/Community Engagement

Develops and supports partnerships, programs, and policies that increase access to digital information and services for all Seattle residents, especially those who are historically underserved. The Cable Office, Civic Technology, Community Technology, Digital Services, Open Data, Privacy Program, and the Seattle Channel.

Who: Director of Digital Services Jim Loter and Michal Perlstein who heads the Digital Services team will attend.

Security, Risk & Compliance

Balance safeguarding the City’s assets, infrastructure, and the information entrusted to the City with the City’s commitment to openness, transparency, equity, and innovation.

Who: Mike Evans and Kevin Murphy will talk about current and projected projects including NIST Cybersecurity Framework, Cloud Security, and Security Orchestration and Automation.

Strategy & Planning and New Tech Trends

Facilitates the strategy for technology in the City, with a heavy emphasis on governance and setting the standard for IT program and project management. This division is breaks down into several teams including Project Management, Portfolio Management, Project Quality, Enterprise Architecture, and Service Management.

Who: Project Portfolio Manager Steve Lavender. His team is working on a Source Control Records Digitization, a Maximo 7.6 Upgrade, and a Drainage Inspection App.

Engineering and Ops/Emergency Communications and Real-time Data Management

Comprised of four teams including Computer System Technology, IT Operations Support, End User Input, and Network and Communications Technologies.

Who: This division will be represented by Division Director Bill Norris, as well as his four managers, Jim Bachesta, Mark Schmidt, Bruce Hills, and Ken Conradi. Some of the projects they are working on include the UC project, currently accepting RFPs. Also, an ADMS project, MDM, Coban, and an SQL server upgrade are in flight.

Applications and Intelligent Operations

Designs, develops, integrates, implements, and supports application solutions in accordance with Citywide architecture and governance.

Who: Tara Duckworth who leads the division, Wil Yuen, Senior Applications Manager over the Shared Platforms team, Debbie Montgomery who oversees the applications team, and Jeffery Stewart who heads the Cross Platform Services. Some of the project technologies used in this division include Tableau, PowerBI, SPO, and Dynamics.


Seattle IT’s Contracting and Procurement team, consisting of Ram Biyani, Jeremy Doane, Laura Park, Mike Nowlin, La-Gina Simmons, and Don Berhend manages and administers contracts and authorizes bids, requests for proposals, requests for quotations, and issues contacts. This entire team will be on hand to help interested organizations and companies register to do business with the City of Seattle.


King County

King County is looking for innovative solutions to help efficiently transform and modernize the delivery of government services. 

The County is looking for more information and innovative solutions in the following categories:

Industry solutions

Engineering is focused on net new development and innovative solutions especially in the areas of Transportation, Health and Human Services, and Recreation.  DevOps is also an area of focus. King County prefers buy versus build for solutions. Where the County does build their own, the focus is on modular application designs and modern integration methodologies.

  • MOBILITY: Free residents and employees to interact and transact business when and where most appropriate and convenient.
  • DEVOPS: Delivering faster, with increased quality and efficiency, using the latest tools, technology and processes.
  • DATA: Real-time data management is integral and an area of focus. Data areas of focus include: open data portals, geo-spatial attributes, data management and governance. Enterprise architecture and governance are in place.
  • Skills/Products the County is looking for: Transportation Solutions, Health Solutions, Human Services Solutions, any innovative solutions that address challenges facing King County’s wide breadth of agencies and services.

King County Staff in attendance: Aaron Barak – Chief Technology Officer; –   Bill Yock – Chief Data Officer; Dennis Fong – Dev/Ops Manager

Digital / Community Engagement  

Design and Civic Engagement connects with customers in the digital channels they love and live in – whether it’s, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others – while keeping the customer experience personalized and integrated into the King County experience that is familiar to our customers.  Equity is an important factor in ensuring all members of the community are connected to King County and services.

King County Staff Members in attendance: Ruoxi Zhang  /  Nicole Franklin

Cybersecurity, Risk and Compliance

  • IT Security Risk is focused on IT security risk and compliance, digital forensics and business continuity.
  • IT SECURITY RISK: ISRC identifies risks through IT security risk assessments, IT security audits and penetration testing. We work across King County departments to address Information Security risks and ensure regulatory compliance for HIPAA, PCI and CJIS.
  • DIGITAL FORENSICS: Forensics perform internal digital investigations and facilitate outsourced digital investigations within the King County offices.
  • BUSINESS CONTINUITY: IT Enterprise Business Continuity Program, planning and preparation to ensure Essential Services can continue to operate in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. This program Includes contingency planning, recovery, and resiliency.

King County staff in attendance: Elise McConnell

Vendor Skills/Products we are looking for at the Vendor Forum:

  • Basic on-line security training for all King County employees. In addition to basic Security training, we will be looking for HIPAA, PCI and CJIS on-line training modules.
  • IT audit tools and services for PCI, HIPAA, CJIS, other general audit.
  • Penetration testing for web-based applications, new IT implementations
  • IT security risk management tools and frameworks
  • Business continuity
  • Digital forensics tools and services
  • New Technology Trends
  • Innovation Center of Excellence is focused utilizing emerging technology to pilot in King County to solve current business problems.  There are currently 8 pilots underway.
  • Skills/Products the County is looking for include: IoT, AI and Machine Learning, Augmented/Mixed/Virtual Reality, Conversational Platforms, Drones.

King County staff in attendance: John Klein, Bob Potts, Darrel Hunt, Tommy Lee, Sandra Valdivia – Platform Services Manager

Engineering and Operations

Infrastructure engineering designs and architects new technology solutions. Responsible for IT strategy, standards, and roadmaps. Production Operations is focused on the delivery of compute platform environments, with monitoring and management of hardware and system software configurations, deployment, network management, and storage.

King County staff in attendance: Temujin Baker – Infrastructure Engineering Service Owner / Manager / Manager


Modernizing legacy systems or implementing new applications into a cloud environment is the focus.  The approach taken emphasizes the use of next-generation technology, focus on customer experience and acceleration of business outcomes.

  • MODERNIZATION: Modernization includes streamlining business processes, interfaces, systems and functionality to deliver quality and speed. Services include convert old programming language code to modern programming languages such as C# or Java for easier & less costly maintenance.
  • MICROSERVICES: Microservices and support for containers to deliver digital interfaces to connect applications and platforms.
  • TESTING AND DIGITAL ASSURANCE: Software quality assurance end to end testing enables release of secure, quality applications quickly and cost effectively, ensuring our King County customers enjoy a great experience from the first time they use the application. Performance testing is critical to ensure success.

King County staff in attendance: Stephen Heard – Software Engineering Manager; Brent Veenstra – Manager of Cloud/Mobile Development; Michael Tu – Software Quality Assurance Manager; Wyatt Yee – Application Development Manager


Seattle Channel Honored with NW Emmy Nominations

Congratulations to the Seattle Channel for receiving a dozen Northwest Regional Emmy Award nominations! The municipal TV station that is part of Seattle IT got the news Friday from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The awards highlight the diverse group of the channel’s shows:

The nominations came in several categories including arts and entertainment, health and science, public affairs, politics/government, and editing and reporting.

Seattle Channel’s Interim General Manager Shannon Gee was pleased the channel was recognized for its commitment to quality journalism. “These nominations underscore the role of the station’s in-depth coverage designed to help residents stay informed, engaged and connected to their changing city. I applaud our talented team for its dedication to excellence in local programming,” said Gee.

Here is a full list of the nominations:

Environmental – Feature/Segment
Nube 9: Ian Devier, producer/photographer/editor

Arts/Entertainment – Feature/Segment
Humaira Abid: Christopher Barnes, producer/photographer/editor

Arts/Entertainment – Program/Special
Art Zone with Nancy Guppy: For the Love of Vinyl: Nancy Guppy, host/senior producer; Sheila Mullen, producer; Vincent Pierce, director/photographer; Peggy Lycett, editor

Health/Science – Feature/Segment
KO Parkinson’s: Randy Eng, producer/photographer/editor

Health/Science – Program Special
CityStream: Mobile Dentistry & Music Therapy: Norm Ohashi, senior producer; Ian Devier, producer/photographer/editor; Randy Eng, producer/photographer/editor; Mona Locke, host/reporter; Shannon Gee, executive producer

Informational/Instructional – Feature/Segment
From Syria to Seattle: Josephine Cheng, reporter/producer, Brett Whitney, photographer/editor

Public/Current/Community Affairs – Feature/Segment
Rapid Entry Rescue Swimmers: Ian Devier, producer/photographer/editor

Public/Current/Community Affairs – Program Special
City Inside/Out: Safe Injection Sites?: Susan Han, senior producer;  Brian Callanan, host/producer; Matt Peterson, photographer/editor