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The 2013 IT Leadership Awards: Profiles in leadership and management

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CIO pushes for public fiber optic network, saving taxpayers millions

Doing the math on own vs. rent, a CIO galvanizes the community to build its own fiber optic network, saving taxpayers $10 million over 10 years.

Our SearchCIO-Midmarket 2013 IT Leadership Awards recognize the contributions and innovations of IT professionals at midmarket companies. We put out a call for nominations of individuals who have excelled in six categories: cultural innovation, technological advancement, business value, green IT, IT engagement and customer experience.

Kevin Kryzda
Kevin Kryzda

CIO Kevin Kryzda has worked for Florida's Martin County since 1985, rising through the ranks to head up the government's multi-million-dollar IT operations. His roots in the community run deep. So does his commitment to its citizens. Like many local governments across the U.S., Martin County faced sharp cost increases in telecommunications access: in Martin County's case, an 800% increase in price, once its lease with a major telecommunications provider expired. Kryzda did the math on own versus rent. Then he took his calculations to local leaders and elected officials and laid out the argument for a county-owned fiber optic network.

The result? With support from the local school district, local businesses and other public entities, Martin County has moved forward with the fiber optic network plan. The estimated cost savings are calculated at approximately $10 million over 10 years. Martin County taxpayers have got to love that.

Get to know IT Leadership finalist Kryzda in this SearchCIO-Midmarket Q & A.

Number of years in IT: 29

Company: Martin County Board of County Commissioners

From the nomination

"In 2006, [Kevin] anticipated the shift in balance of power that would come with the Florida Consumer Choice Act of 2007. Even though he had not yet negotiated with the local cable company, he knew what to expect -- a dramatic cost increase to continue the lease. Kevin was a man on a mission. He tapped other local governments that had considered building community-owned networks to learn how to explain network technology and economics to local leaders without either frightening them or putting them to sleep."

Revenue: $337 million

Number of employees in the company: 1,541

Number of employees in IT: 34

Educational background: Master's degree, business administration

First job: Plan review technician

LinkedIn: Kevin Kryzda

What's the best advice you've ever received? Live within your means.

In the movie of your life, who would play your character? Steve McQueen

If you could have just one superpower, what would it be and why? Hearing people's thoughts.

What's your favorite app on your smartphone or tablet device? SoundHound

Where do you fall in the iPhone versus Android debate? I use iPhone, but Android will prevail.

Describe the best technology decision you ever made. Investing in IP technology.

Judge's comment

"Forward-thinking -- savings to taxpayers is good!"

Which current technology is a gimmick or overly hyped? Augmented reality.

What's the biggest challenge you face in IT today? Balancing skills, funding and strategy.

Which role or internal partner do you rely upon the most? Facilities management.

What's your prediction for the next big technology? Speech-to-speech translators.

What's your favorite nonmonetary benefit or perk of your job? Professional networking.

What is the biggest problem you see with corporate cultures today? Profit at the expense of trust and honor to customers.

What are 'rookie mistakes' that you see in up-and-coming IT leaders? Managing the operation.

Describe your leadership style. Delegative, assertive.

This was first published in May 2013

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Essential Guide

The 2013 IT Leadership Awards: Profiles in leadership and management
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Linda Tucci, Executive Editor asks:

How do you make the "own vs. rent" choice when it comes to technology?

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