Fletcher brings dual experience to plan development
Dave Fletcher holds dual citizenship in both civil engineering and in computer technology, the former built on college education, the latter based on a personal passion. For the past two decades, he has combined the two disciplines, developing practical ways to improve transportation and services.
Fletcher has functioned as the chief technology officer the master architect of ITDs emerging technology transformation since March. He and six internal teams (composed of more than two dozen ITD employees) have been laying a foundation for technology change.
Fletcher and the information transition teams are leading ITD into a decentralized approach to technology that puts experts in the divisions and sections that need their services. The departments traditional, centralized model will be phased out over the next three years.
He is familiar with the journey ahead because he helped draw the map.
His relationship with the transportation department dates to 1999 when he helped create ITDs strategic plan for Information Services. The year-long process culminated in 2001 with an information technology strategic plan that was adopted as part of the departments overall strategic plan.
Since March, he has devoted about 80 percent of his time working with six teams and ITD administrators to create a transition plan. It should be ready to start implementing in July. The plan will shift responsibilities and assignments for delivering technology services and will usher in a new era of technology procurement and outsourcing (see related story).
Fletcher operates a nano-corporation. He is the director and the only employee of Geographic Paradigm Consulting, based in Albuquerque, N.M. He specializes in consultation for state transportation departments.
He earned bachelors and masters degrees in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His emergence from college coincided with the explosion in the use of computer technology, disciplines he has successfully married into a lifelong career.
Fletcher understands the engineering needs of transportation systems and the need for information technology, identifying how the latter can serve the former.
His career began with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation where he wrote its first microcomputer program. He also helped develop the first statewide GIS (geographic information system) in the country for use in transportation planning.
Most of his energies and work week currently are devoted to ITD technology transformation (its a high-priority project), Fletcher explains. He travels regularly from his New Mexico home/office to Boise, where he spends most of the week.
At the same time, he also maintains several other high-profile relationships. Among them is development of the state of New Yorks emergency response system and consulting work for the Transportation Research Board (TRB) on environmental technologies.
In terms of infrastructure and budget, Idaho is considerable distance from Wisconsin. Its rural nature and limited resources are sometimes viewed as impediments to becoming a national technology leader. Yet, thats exactly where Fletcher, himself a visionary, sees Idaho heading.
I think Idaho is in a real state of transition. I believe Idaho has become more mainstream in its use of technology. One of the goals of this project is for the transportation department to become a technology leader. Thats what the director (Dave Ekern) hopes will occur across the department from the Division of Motor Vehicles to highways the whole suite.
What will it take to get there?
Thats a question to be answered in the emerging plan, Fletcher says.