If you think your business has challenges handling information technology, be assured that the public sector faces very similar challenges. Managing technology is a major challenge for all government agencies. In New Jersey, for example, more than 1,500 municipalities, school districts, local authorities, and counties, as well as many state agencies, must keep up with the rapid changes in technology while also ensuring that the technology already in place does what it is supposed to do.

The New Jersey Government Information Sciences (NJ-GMIS), an association of government information technology leaders, will address some of the current hot-button issues in managing public sector technology at its fifth annual technical education conference (TEC) on Thursday, March 27, at the Palace at Somerset Park, 333 Davidson Avenue, Somerset. The event begins at 7 a.m. with registration and breakfast. The first session starts at 8:30 a.m.

Speakers and break-out sessions will address common problems and issues including electronic forms management; technology’s changing role of the CFO; public safety issues; JerseyConnect library network; how technology facilitates sharing of services; legal issues of the web and social media; visualization platform choices; IT strategic planning and risk management; counter terrorism and cyber security; college and career assessment testing; geographic information systems (GIS) efficiencies; and emergency online communication.

To register or for more information visit www.njgmis.org/conference or by E-mail to Walter C. Hansen at walt@atoncomputing.com or Justin Heyman at Justin.Heyman@twp.franklin.nj.us. The fee is $75.

The keynote speech at 10 a.m. will feature Lt. General Jefferson “Beak” Howell Jr. speaking on “Lessons in Leadership.” Howell is an adjunct professor with the Lyndon B. Johnson School for Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin. He served 37 years as an officer in the Marines, culminating in the command of more than 80,000 Marines and sailors.

Howell’s address focuses on “Beak’s Rules of Leadership,” developed over his years as a Marine and as a civilian director. Many of these rules were field tested when Howell took command of the Johnson Space Center with a work force of 15,000 individuals, including hundreds of astronauts and scientists and thousands of engineers. Lt. General Howell was the Space Center’s director when the space shuttle Columbia exploded.

“It is often thought that information technology is an individual sport,” says Michael J. Esolda, president of the NJ-GMIS. “The reality is that when dealing with IT issues in a government scenario, there is very necessary interaction with others. Effective leadership is critical to problem solving, information distribution, and visioning.”

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