Brookings welcomes Mayor Graham Richard, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, over lunch on Wednesday, December 14th. Mayor Richard is widely recognized as one of the most innovative and technologically savvy municipal leaders in the country today. He will share his vision of a “wired and inspired” city, describe the cutting edge initiatives he has pioneered and discuss the implications of his work for such national challenges as job creation, workforce development, homeland security, emergency preparedness and bridging the digital divide.
Fort Wayne is Indiana’s second largest city with a population of 250,000 and the hub of Northeast Indiana’s regional economy. In accordance with Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat, the city is using innovation to become globally competitive. Fort Wayne is the first city in the Midwest to have fiber optic broadband services for nearly 100,000 households, small businesses and schools. It is also the first city to use high performance business partnerships with Lean Six Sigma to improve city services and save taxpayers millions of dollars. A number of Fort Wayne initiatives—the Regional Public Safety and Homeland Security Training Academy, the Emergency Disaster Response Communication System, the leveraging of federal programs like Community Development Block Grant and the Earned Income Tax Credit—are national models that deserve attention and replication.
The Mayor of Fort Wayne since 2000, Mayor Richard has been a speaker at events including the Lean Six Sigma Summit West. He also was awarded the 2005 Star Award from the Fiber-to-the-Home Council for his visionary leadership in broadband technology. Government Technology magazine and the Center for Digital Government selected Mayor Richard as one of the top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers in the nation who have made significant contributions to the digital government movement. Mayor Richard is a former State Senator and a business owner. He is a graduate of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.