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Mark Headd is a Technical Evangelist for Accela, where he plays a key role in shaping the company’s fast-growing developer program and platform vision. He is a writer, speaker and thought leader on communication technologies and open government. Self-taught in programming, he has been developing web, telephone, speech recognition and messaging applications for over 10 years. Most recently, the Nutter Administration selected him to become the City of Philadelphia’s first Chief Data Officer to lead the Mayor’s open data and government transparency initiatives.


Mr. Headd has worked for technology companies from the Delaware Valley to Silicon Valley and served as Director of Government Relations at Code for America. He has built open government software applications for the District of Columbia, the Sunlight Foundation, the New York State Senate and the cities of New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Baltimore and Philadelphia. He holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

Changing Civic Engagement for Good: Accela Construct App Challenge Winners

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From voting to volunteering, civic-minded citizens have been committed to improving our society since its inception. But far beyond joining town hall meetings and handing out flyers, emerging technology in the hands of brilliant developers provides us with new and exciting ways to bridge the gap between citizens, businesses and the government agencies that serve them. To help accelerate that innovation, Accela hosted its 2014 Construct App Challenge , which called on our best civic-minded developers to build apps that help create more informed and productive communities. Participants were able to submit in two categories, New Civic Apps and Existing Civic Apps, and the top three apps in each category received prizes totaling $25,000; grand prize winners will also receive mentorship and, sales support, and received a chance to participate in the keynote session at Accela Engage . This year’s winners are: New Civic App Category Grand Prize Winner: Inspector...
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Looking for the Next Great Civic Startup: The Accela Civic App Challenge

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At Accela, we’re committed to finding ways to leverage the talents and ideas of civic entrepreneurs and open data hackers to benefit the governments we serve. We believe that fostering the creation of new civic startups has enormous potential to benefit public sector agencies, and we’re committed to finding ways to do this. That’s why we were thrilled several weeks ago to launch the Accela Civic App Challenge . The Problem The biggest challenge facing governments in adopting new civic technologies is the absence of an easy way to incorporate new solutions into their existing IT infrastructure. Creating a framework in which civic hackers and entrepreneurs can build smart new apps that can easily be adopted by governments has proved daunting and has caused some in the civic technology community to worry about the movement’s future viability. At Accela, we’re working to address this challenge through the Civic Platform and...
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Open Data: From Coast to Coast

Open Data: From Coast to Coast
The last few weeks have been big for open data and civic innovation. Awareness of the power of open data, the new ideas it can help foment and the new apps and services it can support are spreading from coast to coast. On May 15, I had the pleasure to take part in the Open Data NJ Summit at Montclair State University. The event brought together experts on open data from the Sunlight Foundation, the U.S. Open Data Institute and others to present to local government officials and the journalism community on the power and promise of open data. The event featured presentations from, among others, Jersey City and the City of Newark—both of which are using CKAN as the basis for their open data releases. CKAN is also used as the foundation for CivicData.com , which is free to use for Accela customers and other governments looking to release...
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CivicData.com: Changing the Game on Open Data

CivicData.com is Accela’s open data portal. The site represents a new approach, one that emphasizes the core mission at Accela—to build bridges designed to connect citizens and government agencies—and we believe that it will change the game on how governments publish open data. A New Direction for Open Data As the open data movement matures, an increasing number of federal, state and local governments are formalizing their commitment to releasing data for external users by adopting open data policies and implementing open data portals . As open data portals become more common, and as more and more data is released through these sites, two open data portals from across the vast expanse of the U.S. stand out for their embrace of a different approach—an approach that signals a new direction that the open data movement will take in the next few years. OpenDataPhilly.org is the official open data portal for...
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Working on Government as a Platform

I’ve been excited by the idea of government as a platform for a long time. It’s what motivated me to join my first civic hacking contest in 2008, and it has informed every decision in my professional career since then—including my decision to accept an invitation from the Mayor of the City of Philadelphia in 2012 to help implement that city’s award winning open data program. And it’s this same belief in the transformational power of the idea of government as a platform that led me to Accela. I’m thrilled to be joining the team at Accela as a Technical Evangelist to help developers and business partners build powerful new solutions for Accela’s customers on the Accela Civic Platform . By leveraging the entrepreneurial spirit and creativity of our partners and of civic technologists everywhere, Accela has developed a framework that can generate tremendous value for governments tasked to do...
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