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Growth & Innovation News

Grace Simrall brings tech expertise, broad background to innovation role

Quick! Think of a city leading the way in the technology space. What name first comes to mind? Is it Boston, New York or San Francisco? Maybe it’s Philadelphia, Seattle or Chicago. Those are all good answers, but Kentucky’s technology gem of Louisville deserves a position closer to front of mind for all it has done and for what its newest tech hire indicates for the city’s future.

Each year Louisville ranks highly in the Center for Digital Government’s Digital Cities Survey for its dedication to innovation. One of its most high-profile innovation projects is Air Louisville, which distributed smart asthma inhalers to help the city get a bead on its air quality. But for years, Louisville has launched different technology projects that could serve the public in some way.

In 2012, the city integrated alerts into an online mapping tool that allowed citizens to receive granular information about the crimes they cared about where they lived. The city adopted an “open by default” data policy in 2013, years before many even knew what the term meant. Earlier this year Louisville invested in solar power through the purchase of 400 kW from the Clean Energy Collective. In addition, programs around education and data, 3-D modeling, and citizen engagement have kept Louisville continually in the news for its transformative, tech-driven efforts.

Louisville was among the first cities to hire an innovation chief, and when Chief of Civic Innovation Ted Smith departed last summer, he was replaced by Grace Simrall, a forward-thinking techie who said she’s done a little bit of everything in the technology space. The change raises questions, like what this means for the direction of technology in Louisville and what new projects Simrall’s leadership will spawn. Read more here.
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