The Communications & Technology Management (CTM) department is the City of Austin’s (COA's) principal information technology department. CTM focuses on the delivery and operations of vital IT infrastructure network and telecommunications services, continuous service improvement, and solutions to enable customer success. CTM also teams up with regional partners to improve public safety communication throughout Central Texas.
From managing day-to-day technology needs, to operating network infrastructure, CTM powers the technology that makes the City of Austin work.
Message from the Chief Information Officer, Chris Stewart
It has been my pleasure to serve a first full year as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for CTM and COA.
When looking back on our achievements over the past year, one that stands out as the foundation for the future is our effort to reorganize and focus the department. Structurally, CTM has grown and reorganized multiple teams and functions this past year. We have also hired three new Deputy Chief Information Officers, welcomed 29 new employees, and competitively promoted 30 employees into new roles. These staffing changes filled long-vacant roles and allowed for CTM to focus on core business priorities.
With this renewed focus and new staff, CTM achieved many goals and completed many projects over the course of the year. It is my pleasure to introduce you to our new leadership team and share our achievements with you.
New Leadership Team
Kerrica Laake, Deputy Chief Information Officer – Enterprise Applications & Project Support
For over twenty years, Kerrica has successfully engaged leadership teams, stakeholders, customers, staff, and vendors to create innovative, customer driven, community focused technology solutions for the residents of Austin.
Kerrica joins CTM from Austin Energy, where she has held multiple positions and most recently was the IT Division Manager for Business and Quality Management. Her career at the City started as a college intern!
Steve Martin, Deputy Chief Information Officer – Enterprise Infrastructure
Steve’s IT career spans nearly 30 years. He has worked in nearly every discipline and has been recognized for his leadership, technical knowledge, and knowledge of industry trends.
Steve has served in leadership roles for Fortune 500 companies such as Warner Bros and Merck Pharmaceuticals, as well as government agencies such as the State of Nevada and the City of Las Vegas. Most recently, he served as the CIO for a state agency in Nevada.
Sharif Washington, Deputy Chief Information Officer – Public Safety Support
Sharif joined CTM in 2017 as an IT Manager of COA’s enterprise network system and served as the acting DCIO of Public Safety since in 2020 until he was competitively hired to the position this year.
Prior to coming to COA, Sharif had a 20-year career in the United States Marine Corp, serving as a Data Systems and Communications Officer. Highlights of his military career included supporting and deploying new data information and communication technology and establishing a Marine aviation data center during multiple tours in Iraq.
CTM At a Glance
Our Mission: To deliver innovative business technology solutions that improve City services.
Your Dollars at Work
CTM’s budget supports innovative and efficient delivery of technology throughout COA, improving municipal services for residents and visitors alike.
The CTM annual budget is sourced through three funds: the Information and Technology Fund, the Combined Transportation, Emergency, and Communication Center (CTECC) Fund, and the Wireless Communication Services Fund. The Information and Technology Fund is funded from all City departments providing a main source for CTM annual operational budget. The CTECC Fund is funded through the City's Public Safety departments, including regional partners which support CTECC and Public Safety technology. The Wireless Communication Services Fund is funded by various City departments and regional partners supported by the Wireless division operations.
CTM is proud to employ nearly 400 employees (including fulltime employees, or FTEs, temporary employees and contractors) across three divisions. Our diverse workforce includes technical roles as well as administrative and support roles.
FTEs by Age Cohort
FTEs by Gender
FTEs by Diversity
Excellent Customer Service Every Day
CTM manages the day-to-day IT needs across multiple city departments. This includes standard IT support and solutions as well as IT investments and IT project management.
In 2021, our customers were extremely satisfied with our technical support, with 65.7% of recent customers reporting that they had an above average or excellent interaction with CTM.
Year over year, CTM continues to provide excellent customer service to our City partners.
Divisions & Achievements
Enterprise Applications & Project Support Division
The Enterprise Applications and Project Support division has five areas of focus: Enterprise Applications & Data Services, Enterprise Geospatial Services, Digital Services, Business Relationship Management, and IT Project Management Office (PMO).
The Enterprise Applications and Project Support division provides digital services, enterprise application support, and project management services across the City. This team works across the city and partners with other departments to provide technology solutions that help to digitally enable tools, processes, and services for employees and residents.
- 700,000 – City assets maintained via Maximo
- 15,000 – Tasks automated per day via system integrations
- 600 – Databases supported citywide
- 6,200 – Users supported in MicroStrategy
- 205,000 – Cases created in AMANDA for development review, permitting, inspections, and compliance
- 20 – Projects managed currently within the PMO, with 12 completed this year across 9 departments totaling $37.41M
- 504 – Paper forms digitized to date
- 30 – Applications deployed using M365 to solve department specific business needs
- 23 - COA tailored M365 training classes created and distributed as on-demand self-help resources, with 222 participants across 28 departments
- 2,500 – Geographic Information System (GIS) users transitioned and trained on new software
This team has accomplished many projects over the year in partnership with many different City departments. The list below represents a small portion of their work.
- PARD Asset Management and Mobile Solution: CTM partnered with the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) to implement a digital solution that allows PARD to provide updates via 311 on work being done to better inform residents regarding service requests they’ve submitted. PARD employees are able to update information in the field, providing real-time information on City assets. These improvements link directly to PARD’s SD23 measures related to the condition of assets the department manages, including facilities, cemeteries, aquatics, and golf courses.
- GIS Modernization: CTM supported the migration of 27 departments and 2,500 users to an updated, standardized and scalable GIS platform as a long-term solution for improved GIS editing. This year-long project to transition the City’s GIS technology and software to a cloud-based system ensures that our GIS users continue to use the most up-to-date tools and resources to support work across the City.
- Employee Demographics: CTM partnered with the Human Resources Department (HRD) to publish COA's Employee Demographic data site to provide information that is transparent and available to the public in a format that can be easily researched, filtered, analyzed, and consumed. COA believes that by providing data sets to the public that are key to setting City priorities and assisting in making better informed decisions, it will enhance the collaboration among City departments and their external partners that will help bring a higher level of civic engagement with the public on local civic issues and concerns. https://data.austintexas.gov/stories/s/ajxy-37nw
- Workforce Management (Electronic Timekeeping): CTM continued the partnership with the Finance department and HRD to roll out electronic timesheets to COA departments, with more department deployments scheduled for next year.
- Animal Services Digital Transformation: CTM partnered with Animal Services to identify areas where technology solutions were possible and worked to implement a wide variety of technology improvements. The transformation so far has included improvements to WIFI inside kennels, new outward facing WIFI on campus, a new online scheduling tool, process optimizations, and an online adoption process including payments and donations. Not only did this enable citizens to safely adopt pets during a pandemic, but it has saved staff time and dollars. The online scheduling tool alone has saved over $500 per month by retiring the old tool and adopting the newer one that handles both scheduling and waitlists.
Enterprise Infrastructure Management
The Enterprise Infrastructure Management division has three areas of technology and support: IT Customer Service (device management and support, service desk), IT Infrastructure (servers, storage, security software, data centers and facilities), and Network Infrastructure Operations (local and wide area networks, firewalls, wireless).
- 15,000 – City Employees receiving support from the Service Desk
- 600 – Service Tickets answered per day
- 60,000 – Service Tickets resolved per year
- 12,000 – PCs maintained across the City
- 488 – Miles of Fiber Optic Cabling maintained across the City
- 14,000 – Hardware, devices, switches, and routers installed and maintained that support network connectivity.
This team manages many of the critical communication components that the City relies on to operate. Two of the many projects completed this year deserve to be recognized as they represent a nearly complete revitalization of critical infrastructure and services to better serve customers and ensure dependable communications services in the future.
- Network & Network Security Modernization: This project oversaw the replacement of over 1,400 network devices (many of which were end-of-life) and the implementation of new network logic that enhanced network and security services, as well as a seamless deployment of new principal firewalls for the City’s network. With the completion of this project, CTM was able to enhance network operations, improve network uptime and performance, and launch a life-cycle management program to help track and report on the network hardware inventory.
Facility Construction Projects: CTM
successfully facilitated the technology design, construction, renovation, and
relocation of systems for various City departments including, but not limited to,
Austin Fire, Parks, Emergency Medical Services. In addition,
several other projects were completed to create backup locations and systems
for emergencies such as the natural disaster experienced in Winter 2021.
to EOP migration: This
technology project migrated the Proofpoint email spam services to our Microsoft
O365 tenant to leverage a larger, more robust set of integrated tools available
on one single platform.
- Technology Support Process Improvements: The CTM Service Desk instituted processes to identify time spent and associated optimizations, such as developing new metrics. This increased CTM’s service level by 5 percentage points, while supporting a 2.5x increase in ticket volume. CTM deployed approximately 600 laptops for City staff to use in lieu of personal equipment. CTM supported enhanced virtual meeting capabilities for official City meetings, including City Council and Boards and Commissions meetings. The capabilities allowed the City to continue conducting business in a safe, effective, and compliant way.
- Core Infrastructure Improvements: CTM built out a new mobile Virtual Private Network solution for COA employees. This allowed a better and more secure environment for remote work. Numerous upgrades and migrations of many key systems were also completed in an effort to harden, improve, or otherwise decrease administrative overhead, such as moving to SharePoint Online. Additionally, customer experience improvements were implemented, such as developing a solution to allow end-users to add local printers without requiring assistance.
Public Safety Support Group
The Public Safety Support Group division has four areas of technology and support for our public safety partners: CTECC Operations, Business Technology Services, Public Safety IT Support, and Wireless Communication Services.
Supporting the City’s first responders is a mission critical task. The Public Safety Support division is responsible for providing the IT tools, technology, and solutions to support our local and regional public safety and emergency response partners. This includes items like maintaining the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system for 9-1-1 calls, installing and maintaining the in-vehicle technology for Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) partners, operating the radio and communication systems, and providing a secure network for communications.
- 2,513,614 – CAD incidents resolved
- 8,500 – Partner end-devices supported and maintained including computers, vehicle mobile computer devices, printers, and more.
- 7,926 – Customer IT support tickets resolved
- 1,550+ – Removals and installations of electronics from fleet vehicles
- 1,439 – Servers supported
- 19 – City and the Greater Austin Travis County Regional Radio System (GATRRS) owned radio towers maintained
- 25 – Projects initiated this year, with an additional 25 in the intake process.
- 24x7 – Staff and facility security at CTECC
This team has supported many partners and projects over the course of the year. Below is a selection of their accomplishments this year.
- Emergency Response: The CTM Public Safety Support Group assisted first responders with four different emergencies this year. IT and communications equipment was deployed to assist with emergency response to two hurricanes, the winter storm, and the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
- Records Management System (RMS) Implementation: The Austin-Travis County Fire Department needed a modern, highly configurable, reliable and efficient system for the management of fire reports and case management including, but not limited to, the creation, retention and retrieval of data, records, and files pertaining to operations.
- GATRRS Life Cycle Upgrade: This project is currently underway and is scheduled for completion in March 2022. It encompasses a total technology upgrade of the GATRRS radio equipment and has budget of $32M. This technology refresh will replace obsolete equipment with latest model and firmware to support reliable radio communications in Austin and beyond.
- CAD Collaboration Conference: The CTM Public Safety IT team that supports the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system for public safety hosted a week-long conference between the CTM staff and the greater Baton Rouge area Fire, Police, EMS, technology, and communications support staff. This provided an opportunity for the CTM team to share lessons learned and knowledge gained while implementing, administrating, and maintaining the CAD system.
- Power Maintenance: A collaborative team that included CTM Public Safety IT and facilities successfully completed power maintenance that required a power shutdown for seven hours over two days, without impact to 9-1-1 or emergency dispatching operations. This was the first time in nearly 20 years that power had been turned off to a portion of the CTECC facility.
- GATRRS Coverage Restoration and Enhancements: In tandem with the life cycle upgrade project, an additional $25M is budgeted for GATRRS coverage restoration and enhancements. These improvements include additional towers to restore the radio coverage in downtown Austin that has been significantly impacted by the multi-story building development and to expand the radio coverage area to meet the demands of a growing population in the Austin-Travis County area. This project is scheduled to complete in Fiscal Year 2026. These projects represent a critical improvement for our first responders, ensuring that their radio communication system is reliable and ready for any emergency.
CTM has provided this annual report to provide transparency in the department’s status, achievements, and goals. If you have any questions about the content provided here, please email us at CTMComms@austintexas.gov.