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Kathryn Vargas is a Product Marketer at Accela, where she is developing go-to-market strategies, marketing campaigns and compelling content, researching markets and working with acquired companies. Passionate about innovation and creating products to benefit consumers, Kathryn has contributed to the development, launch and marketing of products spanning both the consumer and high-tech industries. She has an MBA from UCLA and a BS in Chemical Engineering from UC San Diego. Check her out on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Accela Engage Series: Q&A with Dave Sullivan, Applications Specialist for the Cape Cod Commission

Accela Engage Series: Q&A with Dave Sullivan, Applications Specialist for the Cape Cod Commission
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With over three years working as an Applications Specialist for the Cape Cod Commission (CCC), Dave Sullivan has successfully implemented four different accounts on the Civic Platform. His charge is to look for ways to become more cost-effective and his agency is looking to leverage regional resources to do so. The CCC is transforming from a data collection agency to a value-add agency, using data to improve economic development. Have you attended Engage in the past? Yes, this will be my third Engage and my second one where I will be speaking. Last year I co-presented on using Accela and GIS to create an environmental determination (parcel) report. What things do you enjoy most about Engage? I have been able to go to Engage for all three years I have been involved with Cape Cod. And in fact, I joined the commission at the end of May, and went to...
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Accela Engage Series: Q&A with Accela’s Own Eddie Tejeda and Allen Chen on Civic Insight

Accela Engage Series: Q&A with Accela’s Own Eddie Tejeda and Allen Chen on Civic Insight
Eddie Tejeda is the co-founder of Civic Insight , a solution that measures, tracks and visualizes permitting, code enforcement and planning data in a simple and easy-to-use interface, and is now a Senior Product Manager with Accela after joining the Accela family last fall. Allen Chen is the General Manager for Open Data. Eddie and Allen will be presenting product updates for Civic Insight, and Eddie will be presenting a second session with Tampa’s Melissa Chiong on the City’s implementation of Civic Insight. Have you attended Engage in the past? Eddie: I attended in 2013 and in 2014. It was great because, as a startup getting a lot of attention in the civic tech space and as someone in the developer program, it gave me a chance to meet customers and get to know the space. Allen: This is probably my 12th Engage in person and I supported the event...
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Accela Engage Series: Q&A with Melissa Chiong, Business Programs Supervisor for the City of Tampa

Accela Engage Series: Q&A with Melissa Chiong, Business Programs Supervisor for the City of Tampa
Melissa Chiong is Business Programs Supervisor for the City of Tampa. Last year, she accepted the Open for Business Award on behalf of the City of Tampa for its work in providing a one-stop shop for citizens and contractors to get development services. This will be her second year attending and her first year presenting a breakout session. Have you attended Engage in the past? Yes, I attended last year for the first time. What do you enjoy most about Engage? I enjoyed meeting other agencies and hearing about their solutions, accomplishments and challenges. What are you most looking forward to at Engage 2016? I am looking forward to meeting more people and interacting with some of the customers and Accela staff that I have talked to over the phone and via email. I am also looking forward to seeing what’s new and what is on the product map for the...
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Top Four Benefits of Accela’s New Business Tax Solution for Local e-Filing and Payment

Top Four Benefits of Accela’s New Business Tax Solution for Local e-Filing and Payment
With 91% of U.S. taxpayers e-filing more than 128 million federal returns in 2015, and almost 8 out of 10 businesses e-filing federal returns —  an increase of 9% in the last year — citizens have come to expect online filing and payment options as the norm. Yet, many local governments haven’t made the switch to offering online options, or they have outdated online processes. Today, we are pleased to announce the launch of Accela Business Tax, the latest addition to our Finance and Administration solution for local governments. Accela Business Tax drastically improves outdated tax management processes, increases productivity across government agencies and brings the complexities of local business tax filings and payments to an easy-to-navigate online portal, giving cities and counties within certain  states a customizable solution for tax filing and management. This new product provides a digital solution with an intuitive user experience, bringing a previously cumbersome process...
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Government Invades SXSW: An Interview with Civic Insight Co-founder Eddie Tejeda

Government Invades SXSW: An Interview with Civic Insight Co-founder Eddie Tejeda
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South by Southwest (SXSW) is an annual set of conferences and festivals staged in Austin, TX, that showcase original music, independent films and emerging technologies. The SXSW Interactive conference specifically is a breeding ground for new ideas and creative technologies, including a startup accelerator. 2016 marked the first year SXSW offered a government track, because rather than SXSW happening to the City of Austin, the organizers wanted it to happen in collaboration with the City of Austin. The organizers had the opinion that “Mayors need to embrace civic tech startups early, be part of the iterating, and help frame the issues to make it easier for companies to navigate the bureaucratic dark matter within their organizations.” The Mayor of the City of Austin and the City of Austin Innovation Office put out the following questions to civic tech startups across the country: How might startups and entrepreneurs help cities solve...
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From the DMV to the Model T: Five Ways Government Processes Are Becoming More Efficient

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Standing in line at the DMV, applying for a business permit, trying to fix a pothole or trying to contact the right government agency—what do all of these situations have in common? In most cities, they are inefficient and frustrating. Though these processes and the people leading them are well-intentioned, the processes themselves are typically inefficient and stuck in a bygone era in which things had to be done in person and information was tracked on paper. Automation = Efficiency “Efficiency” sometimes has a negative connotation, such as in the “Work smarter not harder” comment in this Dilbert comic , because it often means that you are doing the job of several people and you just need to “make it work.” The definition of efficiency is the “accomplishment of a job with minimum expenditure of time and effort.” Employing systems that make your job easier and more efficient allow you...
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