News|Puerto Rico

Key Technology and Public Policy Leaders Discuss Puerto Rico Case at Washington DC Event

October 24, 2017 ( Washington DC)– With the objective of promoting a truly effective and efficient rebuild of Puerto Rico enabled by a coherent digital strategy, the “Dear Fiscal Board” speaker series will hold its third conference on November 16th in Washington, D.C.

New America, a think tank committed to renewing American politics in the Digital Age, is to host the event, bringing together public policy and technology leaders who have played pivotal roles in formulating fiscal and information technology (IT) policies at the Federal and local levels.

[button link=”″ color=”orange”] Register[/button]

Giancarlo González, co-organizer of the series, articulates the central query of this event:

“What are the necessary building blocks of digital policy and infrastructure required to rebuild Puerto Rico?”

That question will be fielded by former US Digital Service members who have experience transitioning agencies to the use of efficient and scalable technologies.

Also at the event will be Bill Cooper, lead drafter of the 2016 Puerto Rico Oversight Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), which created the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico. Cooper will evaluate whether the Board has made progress towards structural government reform to fit 21st century needs.

As the Trump Trump administration proposes $228 million in funding for a Technology Modernization Fund, dependent upon an independent review board and experts familiar with agile development techniques, Vivian Graubard from New America notes,

“We should strive to have a similar structure in any relief bill for Puerto Rico to ensure technological development is invested in accordingly to delivers results.”

The event will also cover how to leverage the talents of the tech community for social good. Alberto Colón Viera and Froilán Irizarry are two of a group of over 200 members in the “Maria Tech Brigade”, an effort to develop technologies of value for citizens after the September hurricane. But as brigade leaders Froilán Irizarry and Alberto Colón note, “for the private tech sector to assist effectively, the government needs to provide a basic digital infrastructure and engagement strategy– we need to identify what that is for future emergencies.”

“There is a basic digital infrastructure that governments need to provide to allow those in the private tech sector to be able to coordinate and assist effectively.  We have examples of how FEMA has been unable to process close to 100,000 aid applications due to a  lack of address data.  The tech community could assist in this process.  We also need to enable policies to classify what  ‘digital infrastructure’ is needed for future emergencies. Those are some of the questions to be discussed by the Maria Tech Brigade Team,” added González.

The third subject to be included in the event’s agenda will address how to sustain Puerto Rico’s Tech ecosystem, which was thriving despite the fiscal crisis and now faces a bleak future due to the catastrophic damage inflicted by Hurricane Maria on the power grid and the telecommunication infrastructure. A panel led by Sofia Stolberg from Piloto 151 who leads the Puerto Rico TechHire Initiative and Greg Gershman from AdHoc Group will discuss how to connect local tech talent with job opportunities on the mainland and how to leverage the TechHire network and job search platform to speed up the process.

Puerto Rico’s long-term rebuilding success depends on its ability to establish a proper digital governance structure with top-caliber talent and a government-wide coordination of IT investment and implementation that ensures proper delivery of information and services. “Puerto Rico’s long-term success requires the Federal Government, the PROMESA Board and the local Government to work together and adopt US Digital Service best practices in E-Government as an opportunity to reinvent government services. They must facilitate responsiveness and user collaboration to ensure much-needed transparency and efficiency while providing a foundation for economic development and a transition to a ‘native digital’ government focused on serving the needs of its citizens” added González.

The event will be held at New America headquarters in Washington, D.C. at 740 15th St., N.W., Suite 900.

[button link=”″ color=”orange”] Register[/button]

Ticket donations will go 100% to the fund and will be used exclusively to provide long-term relief to the victims of Hurricane María.

For additional  information

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *