By Alba Ibarra
The Department of Parks and Recreation is proud to announce that its Chief Information Officer, Mohammed Al Rawi, is part of this year’s Government Technology Magazine’s Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers. This select group of individuals utilizes technology as a way to improve the way government does business to better serve its citizens.
Al Rawi’s drive to apply technology to all aspects of business decisions is what has made him a doer in the County of Los Angeles. When he was part of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, he played a vital role in virtualizing 98 percent of the County’s IT footprint in only two years, paving the way in improving data sharing and modernizing obsolete applications.
When he became the CIO of the County’s Department of Parks and Recreation, Al Rawi’s mission was to change the Department’s concept of Information Technology (IT), and he would always tell people the same thing: “IT isn’t just a service. It’s a vital part of the way people get things done. It’s not that when your computer is broken you need IT. No – IT should be at the table for all business decisions.”
In less than two years, Al Rawi has made significant changes in the Department. He spearheaded the setting up of augmented reality games to draw more young people to parks. A Wi-Fi network also gives the Department insights into who is using its parks, as well as where and when, which helps determine where to deploy resources.
Al Rawi is currently experimenting with the Internet of Things. Sensors can deliver information about the health of trees to arborists, and GPS trackers can help emergency responders find missing hikers. And, as Los Angeles County struggles to deal with wild fires, he’s evaluating sensors as a way to spot blazes faster.