The NC Open Pass planning team has put together another amazing speaker line-up for the 2017 CityCamp NC technology conference. One of our goals this year is to highlight the power of open data and its critical role in improving and transforming our communities.


Stephen Larrick

Open Cities Director for the Sunlight Foundation
Twitter: @slarrick, @sunfoundation | LinkedIn

Participatory urbanism: from built environment to open data

City making is collaborative because the city itself is a fundamentally collaborative endeavor.

This is as true for our emerging conception of the digital city as it is for the built urban environment. However, our current approaches to civic tech and open data in the American city have much to learn from advances in participatory urbanism.

In this talk Sunlight Foundation Open Cities Director Stephen Larrick, a city planner and urbanist turned open government advocate, draws parallels between the history of top-down “solutionism” in both physical and digital city-making, arguing that advances in participatory practice from the field of urban planning suggest promising new participatory approaches to open data in city hall.

About Stephen Larrick

Stephen Larrick is the Open Cities Director for the Sunlight Foundation, where he leads Sunlight’s efforts to bring about more transparent, accountable, and participatory urban communities across the United States. His current efforts focus on facilitating the adoption and implementation of meaningful, sustainable open data policies in dozens of American cities participating in the What Works Cities initiative, with a specific focus on helping to connect city open data efforts to resident empowerment and community impact.

Prior to joining Sunlight, Larrick was Director of Planning and Economic Development for the City of Central Falls, Rhode Island, where he helped lead a successful turnaround effort during a time of extreme fiscal crisis. In addition to his duties as city planner, Larrick worked closely with two state-appointed receivers and one mayor to rethink local government service delivery with a heavy emphasis on open and inclusive governance. Larrick received his Bachelor’s of Arts in Urban Studies and Political Philosophy from Brown University.

This talk will be presented on Friday, September 29.

Featured Code for NC project

NC Reentry Resources Hub: A Journey From 1 to 100 Counties

The purpose of the NC Reentry Resources Hub project is to provide high-quality information resources relevant and valuable to NC citizens reentering society after a period of incarceration or dealing with collateral consequences of a previous criminal conviction.

In this talk, we will share the journey from the project’s origin as a Code for Asheville project targeting Buncombe County to a distributed collaboration between Code for Greensboro and Code for Asheville (so far) to bring this resource to all 100 North Carolina counties, including our approach to ensuring the sustainability of the project.

This talk will be presented on Friday, September 29.

Eric Jackson, Code for Asheville

Twitter: @ejaxon | LinkedIn

Eric Jackson is a 30-year software industry veteran who has spent most of the last 15 years in technical and executive roles in high-growth enterprise software startups. He currently serves as Captain of Code for Asheville and Digital Services Architect for the City of Asheville, where he leads the City’s open data and public data engagement efforts and oversees architecture for internal and public-facing digital infrastructure.

Jason Marshall, Code for Greensboro

Twitter: @marshalljasons | LinkedIn

Jason is a Senior Application Developer, and the Open Data Program Manager in the City of Greensboro’s Information Technology Department. He is also a Co-Founder and Brigade Captain for Code for Greensboro. Jason specializes in full-stack JavaScript, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) application development. He is passionate about Civic Tech, Civic Innovation, open data, and open source.

Emcee – Ginny C Ghezzo

Photo by Satsuki “Sunshine” Scoville

Twitter: @ginnyghezzo | LinkedIn

Ginny Ghezzo is the Client Relations Manager for the IBM Watson IoT Continuous Engineering Platform. With over 25 years of development experience, Ginny has worked on technologies from PC to Mainframe, traditional to devOps, Cloud to IoT. She strives to bring out the best in her peers, deliver software that is rugged and useful and ultimate have fun while doing it. She is active in various communities including PyData Carolina, PyLadies, TechGirlz, Code for America and others. She spends more time joking on Twitter (@GinnyGhezzo), writing silly Python apps ( and admiring the code from great programmers, especially those in the ‘Bletchley Circle’ ( and PyData (

Lightning talks

Emcee – Erin Terry

Twitter: @erinsobright | LinkedIn
Erin Terry is the host and producer of Eyes Up Here Comedy, the Triangle’s premier standup comedy show exclusively featuring women. She likes to laugh almost as much as she likes her fat cat Reuben.
Lightning talks will be presented on Thursday, September 28.

Our first ever, Mega-lightning talk

The State of Open Data

A 20-minute look at the state of open data from the curators and experts who provide it and want to advance open data.

Bonnie Brown, City of Raleigh

Twitter: @beegreentwo

Speaker bio: Bonnie has joined the City of Raleigh as the Enterprise Data Manager responsible for internal reporting, Open Raleigh, and database administration for the city. She has more years in the business intelligence space then she will ever admit to as a customer, vendor, and consultant. She also has a PMP and MBA to back up her data street credit with some paper trails.

Daniel Dunn, Town of Chapel Hill

Twitter: @danielwdunn

Speaker bio: Daniel Dunn is a Business Analyst with the Town of Chapel Hill. He has over 5 years experience as a technical consultant and project manager for enterprise solutions such as release automation and Project Portfolio Management.

Dunn is optimistic for the future of municipalities. He supports and advocates for better systems and processes used by government employees and the public.

Sam McClenney, City and County of Durham

Twitter: @sammcclenney

Speaker bio: Sam McClenney is currently the Open Data Program Manager for the City and County of Durham, NC.

Ben Strauss, Wake County

Speaker bio: Ben Strauss, GISP is a Senior GIS Analyst for Wake County. In addition to serving as the technical lead for Wake’s Open Data site, Ben helps to create and manage Wake County GIS’s ever-growing portfolio of custom web apps, field collection apps, and enterprise data sets. Ben has a decade of experience working with geospatial technologies. This will be his second year attending CityCamp NC.

5-minute lightning talks

Peter Elbaum, City of Raleigh

There’s a Fee For That?: A Case Study in Building a Public-Facing Application

Twitter: @pjelbaum

The City of Raleigh recently released a new fee schedule for instances in which construction blocks roads and sidewalks. These so-called right-of-way fees didn’t previously exist, and their accompanying building permit fees were previously calculated using internal, legacy software. Getting a quote required a call or a trip downtown, with the specific fees often a mystery.

To be more transparent, the City built a calculator for each set of fees using the Angular framework so that citizens and contractors could estimate their permit costs. Building the calculator took several months, and this talk will use that process as a case study to examine organizational and technological challenges and potential solutions when building applications for constituents.

Speaker bio: Peter Elbaum is Senior Web Developer at the City of Raleigh. At the City, he’s responsible for maintaining and extending the City’s external and intranet sites as well as building smaller stand-alone applications like the app about which he’s speaking. Peter graduated from Wofford College and taught high school Spanish before attending code school and starting a career in the web. Previously, he was Data Integration Engineer at ChartSpan Medical Technologies.

Linda Graham Jones, City of Raleigh

Improving Digital Inclusion through Design Thinking in the City of Raleigh

The City of Raleigh provides the Raleigh Digital Connectors training program for youth living in Raleigh city limits. It provides technology training and mentoring for young people, age 14 through 21, from diverse backgrounds and neighborhoods. Since beginning the Digital Connectors in 2010, the results of the program have been very impressive. When we connect underserved communities with technology, we give residents and families the power to enter the economic mainstream. To date, 133 youth have graduated as Digital Connectors and completed 7,737 hours of community service, taught 2,875 individuals, and refurbished 743 computers that were awarded to worthy families.

With evolving trends in technology and IT career fields, it’s time for the City of Raleigh to re-vamp the program curriculum and outcomes. This transformation will be done through a Design Thinking lab.

Speaker bio: Mrs. Jones has been involved with youth initiatives at the City of Raleigh for fourteen years. She served for seven years as the youth services coordinator in the Community Services Department. Her primary role was managing the operation of the Raleigh Summer Youth Employment Program and assisting with facilitation of the Life Skills Development Program. In addition, she collaborated with other youth service agencies to provide additional and continuous employment for youth beyond the City of Raleigh programs.

K. Melissa Kennedy, 48 Innovate

Hacking Government Innovation

Twitter: @kmelissakennedy

Explore why innovation processes of the past just won’t work in the Information Age. Learn what it takes to ignite innovation and deliver rapid results at the pace of change in government. Discover a new way to functionally work cross functionally within your organization and harness the genius hiding in plain sight to future proof your organization and to help change the world for the better.

  • Create change in an upward flow
  • Stop the brain drain of internal dysfunction
  • Ignite the INTRApreneurs to accelerate innovation

Speaker bio: K. Melissa Kennedy, founder of 48 Innovate, is a bestselling author, speaker and intrapreneur turned entrepreneur who developed a unique process for harnessing hidden assets inside organizations and turning them into big-idea generating, $1-billion-revenue-producing resources in just 48 hours. (Spoiler alert: It’s the people.) Melissa empowers internal corporate teams through her Smart Speed method with the best parts of startup culture: Teamwork. Focus. Speed. Accountability. Action. She tells you how in her recent bestselling book, The Innovation Revolution, Discover the Genius Hiding in Plain Sight. Melissa was recently named to the 2017 Triangle Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Leadership list.

Ben Kittelson, City of Durham, NC

Innovate Durham, A Public-Private Innovation Partnership

Twitter: @benkittelson56

The City of Durham is in the middle of a new program called Innovate Durham, where startups and entrepreneurs have been invited into the city to test out their product and help solve community problems. Companies are working with city data and resources for 12 weeks to improve operations or help achieve the goal improving economic vitality, social equity, and environmental quality in Durham. This talk will share the purpose and goal of the program as well as how it’s going so far and what we hope it will become in the future.

Speaker bio: Local government nerd at the City of Durham, North Carolina & Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL). Producer & Co-Host of the GovLove Podcast. Likes walking his dog, Franklin.

Jason Marshall, Code for NC/Code for Greensboro

NC Reentry Resources Hub and Brigade Collaboration

Twitter: @MarshallJasonS

The NC Reentry Resources Hub project is a website providing high-quality information and resources relevant and valuable to NC citizens reentering society after a period of incarceration or dealing with collateral consequences of a previous criminal conviction. Last year Code for Asheville volunteers created a site for Buncombe County. Now Code for Asheville and Code for Greensboro are partnering on a project to serve all 100 counties in North Carolina. As a multi-brigade collaboration, we are developing the open source project under the Code for NC banner.

Speaker bio: Jason is a Senior Application Developer, and the Open Data Program Manager in the City of Greensboro’s Information Technology Department. He is also a Co-Founder and Brigade Captain for Code for Greensboro. Jason specializes in full-stack JavaScript, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) application development. He is passionate about Civic Tech, Civic Innovation, open data, and open source.

Jonathan Opp, New Kind

Creative communities and the power of storytelling

Twitter: @jonathanopp | @newkind

Just like open source technology communities, creative communities thrive through collaboration, diversity, and common purpose. Stories bring ideas to life. Giving everyone in the community inspiration and guidance on their own path.

One local creative community, the Raleigh chapter of CreativeMornings, is celebrating its fifth year in September. CreativeMornings is an international monthly gathering of creative types across every discipline and every field. It celebrates stories of people creating from across the Triangle.

Speaker bio: Jonathan Opp is Chief Poetics Officer and Partner at New Kind, a branding agency for technology companies and any organization inspired by the open source way. He began his 20 year career in creative roles at Gateway and IBM, and spent more than a decade at Red Hat, most recently as Sr. Manager of the Brand Communications + Design team. He is former president of AIGA Raleigh, the professional organization for design, and is now the host of the Raleigh chapter of CreativeMornings.

Andre Pierce & Bill Scanlon, Wake County Government

The Value of NC Food Inspector

Twitter: @bilscanlon

Discover the value of NC Food inspector and the benefits that it offers Wake County government and the community. We will share this from the business perspective of Environmental Health and Safety and the goals that they work towards. We will wrap up with a call to action to continue to work on this tool and expand it to other counties so that more communities can benefit from it.

Speaker bio: Andre Pierce is the Director of Wake’s Environmental Health and Safety which is the organization inside Wake County that is responsible for ensuring safe food preparation in various institutions and responsible for educating the public on Food Safety over all.

Speaker bio: Bill Scanlon is an Innovation Partner with Wake County’s Innovation program.

Ryan Thornburg, Reese News Lab @ UNC-Chapel Hill School of Media & Journalism

Using Open Data to Build News Tools & Products

Twitter: @rtburg

Public affairs news and information is in a financial crisis and open data just might be the most important key to saving it. At the Reese News Lab at the associated Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media, we are using open data to make accountability and explanatory reporting more efficient and as the foundation of our “platform stack” to build public facing media products that increase a sense of civic efficacy and trust. I’d like invite people to participate in our efforts to make data useful and share how we use the design thinking innovation process to develop products using open data. My examples will focus on three types of data – court records, police incident reports, and voting/election data.

Speaker bio: Ryan Thornburg is director of the Reese News Lab and associate professor at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media & Journalism. He teaches data-driven reporting and is interested in using open data to make local journalism more efficient and relevant. Before joining UNC in 2007 he worked at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, and U.S. News & World Report.

Dr. Sarah Windsor, STEM in the Park

STEM Engagement: Hey you!!

Twitter: @sarahcouncil | @STEMinthePark

Demand for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) professionals is projected to dramatically outpace the supply of qualified applicants in the coming decades. By 2022, the U.S. will need more than nine million STEM professionals to fill projected job openings. Training diverse and well qualified STEM professionals for the future remains a global challenge.

Capturing a student’s curiosity is foundational to a student’s interest and eventual pursuit of a challenging and highly rewarding STEM profession. Curiosity is kindled through exposure, experience, and engagement. Come learn how you can be an advocate, partner, or mentor for children learning about coding and STEM.

Speaker bio: Sarah is the Program Manager for STEM in the Park, a STEM outreach and mentoring program of the Research Triangle Foundation. She is responsible for the day to day management of the program, whose goal is to increase access to and understanding of the STEM fields to underserved populations, specifically girls, students from low-income backgrounds, and underrepresented minorities. She has a Ph.D. in the area of oral microbiology and is passionate about societal scientific literacy, fostering intellectual curiosity, STEM outreach, women in STEM, STEM mentoring and of course, bacteria.

Smart Communities Panel

Bill Greeves, CIIO Wake County


Twitter: @billgreeves

Greeves is the Chief Information and Innovation Officer for Wake County, NC, previously serving as CIO for Roanoke County and Hampton, VA. In 2010, Government Technology included him in their list of Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers. In 2012, Public CIO named him the most social-media savvy CIO in government. Greeves is a co-author of Social Media in the Public Sector Field Guide: Designing and Implementing Strategies and Policies. In 2016, the Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties named Wake County the number-one large digital county in the country in the their annual Digital Counties Survey. In his role, Greeves is focused on identifying opportunities, building connections and creating solutions that result in better services, greater efficiency and happier people. He writes fiction under the pen name of Greever Williams and he is a massive Star Wars geek.

Jennifer Robinson, SAS

Twitter: @JenBRobinson

Jennifer Robinson is a member of SAS’s U.S. Government Practice, working to help cities maximize the use of their data through data integration, data management and analytics. Jennifer has a background in software development and local government. She has served as a Councilwoman for Cary, NC since 1999 and is a member of several regional boards.

Dennis Kekas, NC State

As Associate Vice Chancellor at North Carolina State University, Dennis is responsible for Alliances, Economic Development and Centennial Campus Partnerships. He also directs the Institute for Next Generation IT. Recently he was Interim Executive Director for NC State’s Power Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute, “PowerAmerica”, announced by President Obama on January 15, 2014 through launch in 2015. A career IBM executive, he led many disruptive products including point-of-sale, optical scanners, networking and others. He also co-founded ImagineOptix to commercialize NC State optical technologies. His BSEE is from Clemson with Graduate studies at Syracuse, NC State and UCLA. A Professional Engineer in New York and North Carolina he holds 8 Patents with numerous awards for inventions, technical achievements and management. A Past President of the Clemson Alumni Association he received Clemson’s Distinguished Service Award in 1999 and was on the Research Board through 2014.

Rodney Roberts, City of Greensboro

Twitter: @rodneyroberts

Rodney Roberts is a Technologists and Network Manager for the City of Greensboro. He is responsible for the technology needs of 3000 government staff and the ongoing management of an extensive fiber optic network connecting city facilities and traffic signals throughout Greensboro and Guilford County. In addition to his role as Network Services Manager, Rodney serves as an advisor for the TriGig Regional High-Speed Broadband Initiative, whose goal is bringing competitive gigabit Internet services to the region. Rodney is a member of 2009 Government Certified Government Chief Information Officer (CGCIO) Certification Program. When he isn’t in meetings or glued to a computer screen, you’ll find him ubering his wife and three girls around Greensboro.

Terry Yates, Town of Cary

Twitter: @terryfromcary

Terry Yates serves as the Smart Cities Chief Innovator for Cary, North Carolina. He has more than 25 years of experience in voice, data and security systems within North Carolina Local Government. His staff are responsible for Cary’s business, traffic, scada and public safety networks. This includes enterprise servers, storage and an extensive fiber optic and wireless network connecting Town facilities and traffic signals. He is directly responsibility for the Town’s mobility program and license agreements with telecommunications and wireless providers, and is involved with the North Carolina Triangle Region’s Google and AT&T Gigabit Broadband projects. Terry has led various multi-million dollar projects and in now focused on Smart Cities initiatives for Cary. He has served on various appointed boards, task forces and committees and is a Certified NC Government Chief Information Officer.

NC DataPalooza open data competition judges

Caroline (CJ) Harper, Wake County

Brad Johnson, Cityzen

Alex Meadows, Syngenta

Sam McClenney, City & County of Durham

Suja Thomas, Pendo