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August 9, 2010

Luke Fretwell on sf.govfresh

GovFresh will be putting on their first local event on Sept 1 in San Francisco. Adobe is honored to host the event at our facilities in San Francisco. We asked Luke Fretwell of GovFresh to give us some context for the event. See the Q&A below.

Q: Thanks for spending a bit of time with us, Luke. Not that you need much of an introduction these days ;-) but can you give us a few sentences of background on yourself and GovFresh?

A: I grew up and worked in and around the Beltway. I studied Government & Politics and International Relations at George Mason University. I’m familiar with the Beltway culture how government operates.

I’ve spent much of the last 10 years in start-up environments and help entrepreneurs with their own ideas. I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to pursue my professional interests. During the dot-com bust, I helped re-work a VC-funded start-up into a government contractor and learned a lot about the business and procurement side of government.

GovFresh is the perfect storm of my Beltway past and Bay Area present. Having worked and lived in both has helped me understand how all this fits together.

Q: Talk a bit about the origins of the event you have coming up on Sept. 1. Where did the idea come from and what’s the purpose?

A: We all need to step back from our work and reflect on what
we’ve done. Government doesn’t ever get the chance to do that and
sf.govfresh is San Francisco’s opportunity.

There’s a lot of government innovation happening in SF, and it’s a
great opportunity to get a big picture perspective of what that means.
Hopefully, it will rejuvenate the people working in this area and
inspire other public servants to embrace a more open approach within
their own departments.

It’s also a great opportunity for public servants, civic
developers and engaged citizens to connect and learn more about how they
can work together.

Q: Why San Francisco as a first destination and the City of SF as the focus?

A: San Francisco is one of the few major cities leading the way on
technology and open government initiatives. The SF Bay Area is the
driving force behind much of the social media tools and technology
government is using to better connect with citizens ‘where they are.’

What better place to feature technology and government together?

Q: So who should attend?

A: Public servants who want to learn how to leverage technology to
lower the costs of government and change the way it interacts with
citizens. Civic developers and entrepreneurs who want better insight
into what government is doing to provide them with unrealized economic
opportunities. Citizens who care enough to pay attention and better
engage with their government.

Q: And what can they expect to hear, learn or gain?

A: SF Chief Information Officer Chris Vein will give an overview
of the city’s open government initiatives. There will be a number of
5-minute lightning presentations from city employees, developers and
entrepreneurs sharing what they’re doing around open data and

Expect to better understand how local government innovation directly impacts citizens.

Q: Do you have plans to duplicate the event elsewhere? If so, any thoughts on future destinations?

A: Yes. We’re doing a 2-day manor.govfresh
( conference at the end of September that will
highlight innovations in Manor, TX. It will also focus on helping local
government officials better understand how they can embrace the
technology and mindset of open government.

We’d like to “.govfresh the country” in areas leading the way in
open government initiatives, whether it’s Portland, Seattle, DC, Albany
or smaller towns like Manor.