The Atlas for Cities Celebrates 7 State and Local Government Leaders Building Transformative Infrastructure Projects in their Communities
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The Atlas for Cities Celebrates 7 State and Local Government Leaders Building Transformative Infrastructure Projects in their Communities.

Oct. 10, 2023

Washington, D.C. (October 10, 2023)The Atlas, a free online community for local government leaders, is announcing the “2023 Infrastructure Trailblazers,” a report that celebrates seven state, local and tribal government leaders building transformative infrastructure projects in communities across the United States. The announcement was made today by Ellory Monks, co-founder of The Atlas. 

The report centers around the opportunities for state and local governments presented by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Investment Reconciliation Act (IRA). The following Trailblazers were selected in each sector most impacted by this recent federal funding– transportation, climate, water, broadband, and cybersecurity. The 2023 Infrastructure Trailblazers are:

  • Michael Dent, CISO, Fairfax County, VA. Michael is recognized as an Infrastructure Trailblazer for his advocacy of increased funding for cybersecurity efforts at the state and local levels, and ensuring that funding reaches smaller jurisdictions both within Fairfax County and the state of Virginia.
  • Santiago Garces, CIO, City of Boston, MA. Santiago is recognized as an Infrastructure Trailblazer for imbuing digital equity - affordability, accessibility, digital literacy - into nearly every facet of Boston’s technology strategy.
  • Linnea Jackson, General Manager, Hoopa Valley Public Utilities District, CA. Linnea is celebrated as an Infrastructure Trailblazer because of her leadership in implementing Hoopa Valley’s $65M Tribal Broadband Connectivity grant and for her far-reaching vision to facilitate projects with lasting, generational impacts. 
  • Dan Jatres, Infrastructure Projects Administrator, City of New Orleans, LA. Dan is recognized as an Infrastructure Trailblazer for his role on the New Orleans Federal Infrastructure Task Force and his collaborative efforts to secure funding for critical infrastructure projects in Southeast Louisiana.
  • Vena Jones, Manager, State Revolving Fund and Water Infrastructure Grants, Tennessee Dept. of Environment and Conservation. Vena is celebrated as an Infrastructure Trailblazer due to her department's exceptional efficiency in processing funding applications. They have successfully managed both $1.35 billion in American Rescue Plan grants and the forthcoming IIJA funding, handling a remarkable speed and volume of projects.
  • Troy Moon, Director of Sustainability, City of Portland, ME. Troy is recognized as an Infrastructure Trailblazer for his work at the intersection of transportation - specifically EV adoption - and climate mitigation, and his creative approach to public-private partnerships.
  • Missy Stults, Sustainability and Innovations Director, City of Ann Arbor, MI. Missy is celebrated as an Infrastructure Trailblazer for the tangible steps Ann Arbor is taking to upgrade electric grid infrastructure to support the City’s net-zero commitments.

The “2023 Infrastructure Trailblazers” report highlights common themes – shared opportunities, shared advice, and shared progress – and concludes with recommendations for state and local governments seeking to seize this historic moment. In addition,   experts in the private and nonprofit sectors, including Michelle Quadt of Verizon, Kurt Summers of Blackstone, and Adie Tomer of the Brookings Institution provide insights on the Trailblazer’s achievements.

The infrastructure investments made today will determine the fabric of our communities for the next several decades,” said Monks. “The investment choices we, collectively as a nation, make today will impact several generations. My hope is that state and local government officials across the country are inspired by these Infrastructure Trailblazers, just as I am, and that federal government officials gain more empathy and understanding for the complex dynamics at play in this historic moment.”

The Atlas considered several factors when identifying the Trailblazers. First, individuals must be leading efforts to build transformative infrastructure projects - not more of the same - in their city or state. Secondly, the individual was taking novel approaches to building those projects, through engagement, design, finance and operations, and maintenance. Finally, individuals must think strategically about the use of federal infrastructure funding, including IIJA and IRA. Infrastructure Trailblazers had to be active employees of a state, local, or tribal government in the United States to be considered.


About The Atlas

The Atlas is a free online community for local government officials & staff to browse city case studies, follow trending local government topics and post questions to colleagues. Since its launch in April 2019, The Atlas has grown to host more than 4,000 local government leaders each month. Its database includes more than 800 member-generated case studies that cover topics as diverse as scooters, homelessness and green infrastructure. It was acquired by GovExec in December 2020. Check it out here:

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