Professional Experience

Information Technology, Project Management, Municipal Broadband

I was with IBM for over thirty years spanning the late seventies to 2010. During that time I held a number of technical and management positions.  I worked in Information Technology (IT) operations, systems programming, enterprise networking, client server application programming, IT service management, and global IT infrastructure for the Chief Information Officer (CIO) organization.  I moved to Concord in 1999 to work on the integration of Lotus Development Corporation into the IBM Software Group.  At IBM I was a Global Project Executive, which was a certified Project Management role with overall responsibility for large complex projects and client relationships.  

In 2011, I joined Concord's Senior Management Team to serve as Concord's first Chief Information Officer.  Concord had never had IT represented as an independent department prior to my arrival. The CIO of any organization is responsible for the IT strategy and providing the platforms that enable the rest of the organization to do their jobs.  This need was recognized by the Town Manager at the time.  However, there were other more pressing needs as well. 

At the time  I joined Concord's IT department, headcount had fallen to zero and there was a serious technology deficit with some systems dating back to the 1990's.   I was able to build a functional department capable of supporting all the other Town departments.  With the team I put in place, we successfully modernized the infrastructure and replaced virtually every major application system and all server, network and workstation hardware.  The steady progress toward these accomplishments is well documented in the Town's Annual Reports and Budget Books for the years 2012 through 2019.

As Concord's CIO I gained first-hand knowledge that will inform my approach to the Select Board.  Municipal staff responsibilities are very diverse, often exceeding those of enterprises many times its size. Town employees are hard-working, dedicated and occasionally long-suffering in the face of sometimes inadequate resources, constant attention needs to be paid to ensure they have the tools they need.   Attracting and retaining professional and technical staff to work in the Concord municipal environment is challenging; the management team needs some relief in this area. 

In 2012 I created the business plan for CMLP's fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) Internet service known as Concord Light Broadband.  The 2013 Town Meeting approved a one million dollar borrowing authorization for the startup.  Over the next six years, I managed the Broadband service, growing it to over one thousand customers. The Concord Municipal Light Plant (CMLP) fiber network was initially constructed as part of CMLP's promotion of electrothermal heating and envisioned to support a Smart Grid.  The idea to provide Internet service over the fiber was widely supported by earlier cable committees. Using the network in this way had the benefit of helping to spread the cost of ownership over a broader base.  The story of exactly how this took place is documented here by the Harvard University Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. 

The Internet Service startup was very successful.  The service enjoys high customer loyalty and satisfaction and is financially viable. Yet, as mentioned on my community involvement page,  I have come to learn that we could potentially have done better in creating equitable availability of the service.   There is still plenty of opportunity to improve on that as documented by the Fiber Broadband Completion Task Force. 

Links to published material on Broadband 

A Fiber Innovator Interview: Concord Municipal Light Plant

This  five minute video interview briefly outlines the history of Concord's fiber network and Broadband service. It also references some of the future potential of the network. It was recorded in the fall of 2018 at a conference by Calix, one of the vendors used in the network build.

In 2018 I authored an OpEd that appeared in the Washington Post. The article argued for the value of Municipally owned Broadband service as a way to protect Net Neutrality, foster economic vitality and provide consumers with choice.  Click the image to read the OpEd.

Produced by the Committee to Elect Mark Howell, 2023