October 6

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COVID-19 exposed how unprepared some government agencies were for a shift to online processes. Many local and state offices either didn’t have the technology in place to move services online or the technology was not built to handle the volume. This presents a unique opportunity for governments to embrace new forms of technology, including cloud and SaaS-based solutions.

Join us October 6 at 10:00am PT/1:00pm ET as our experts explore how government agencies can work toward becoming more cloud-based, accessible and user-focused.

We’ll discuss:

  • How Beaufort County, South Carolina, confidently directed citizens online when the global health pandemic struck and quickly overhauled the in-person experience, moving to limited hours and contactless kiosks for citizens
  • How cloud/SaaS simplifies IT management, reduces costs and strengthens the overall security of government agencies
  • How government leaders need to become more forward-thinking and embrace digital change


Shonte Eldridge

Shonte Eldridge

Executive Government Advisor, Amazon

Shonte Eldridge currently serves as an Executive Government Advisor with Amazon Web Services (AWS). In this role she is responsible for engaging State and Local
Government leaders to build cloud frameworks that reduce cost, improve service delivery, change customer experience and transform the organization into a modern,
inclusive, equitable and innovative enterprise. Prior to joining AWS, Ms. Eldridge worked in the public sector for over 20 years and held various C-suite positions including the Deputy Chief of Operations for the City of Baltimore, Chief of Policy, Planning and External Affairs for the Office of the States Attorney for Baltimore City and Chief of Policy for Maryland’s Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention.

During her time in government she was known for using technology to solve some of the largest operational and social challenges her state and local governments faced, as well as changing the culture to more readily accept and try new technologies. Ms. Eldridge’s work in the industry has appeared in numerous national publications and is often called upon to speak and conduct workshops on the importance of creating holistic digital transformation strategies and how to implement technology that improves operations and delivers a better customer experience.

Michael A. Nutter

Michael A. Nutter

Former Mayor, City of Philadelphia, PA and David N. Dinkins Professor of Professional Practice in Urban and Public Affairs

Michael A. Nutter is a former two-term mayor of Philadelphia who previously spent almost 15 years in the Philadelphia City Council. Since leaving public office in 2016, he has remained active in public policy, government and civic life. He is the inaugural David N. Dinkins Professor of Professional Practice in Urban and Public Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and holds fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago and Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics. He is a senior advisor and national spokesperson for the What Works Cities program at Bloomberg Philanthropies and a member of the external advisory council for JPMorgan Chase’s AdvancingCities initiative. Mayor Nutter is past President of the United States Conference of Mayors and founder of Cities United. He is on the board of Rubicon Technologies, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Council on Criminal Justice, Heartland Alliance, the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation, the Urban Institute and the Advisory Board of the African American Mayor’s Association.

Mayor Nutter maintains active involvement in critical areas of education, media, public policy, political campaigns, the corporate community and academic institutions across the country. He holds a B.S. Degree in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

John Thomson

John Thomson

Founder and CEO, PayIt

As the founder and CEO of PayIt, John Thomson is leading innovation across the entire GovTech landscape. The inspiration for PayIt came to John in 2011 while standing in line to renew his vehicle registration at a local DMV office. While waiting, he noticed everyone staring down at their phones. It dawned on him that the government sector was still taking an outdated, analog approach to helping the people of their community. John knew there had to be a smarter, more modern way for people to interact with the government. Fast forward six years and PayIt’s award-winning, digital government platform has transformed the GovTech market. From any device, residents can now pay property taxes, utility bills, driver’s license and vehicle registration renewals, court fees and many more government-related services.

John was born and raised in Missouri and graduated from Baker University with a degree in business. Prior to founding PayIt, John served as CEO of Saepio, a SaaS-based marketing technology software provider and has held various engineering, product strategy and sales roles throughout his career. John now resides in Kansas City, Missouri, with his lovely wife Holly, their daughter Brinklee and two dogs Penelope and Banks.

Maria E. Walls

Maria E. Walls

Beaufort County Treasurer

Maria E. Walls, CPA was elected Beaufort County Treasurer in November 2014. Before assuming the office of Treasurer she served four years as Deputy Treasurer. She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and graduated Cum Laude with a Masters of Accounting, with a specialization in International Business from Rider University in New Jersey. Prior to joining the Treasurer’s office, she worked in public accounting as an Auditor for a multinational CPA firm and, upon her arrival in Beaufort County, a local CPA firm.

Since joining the Treasurer’s Office, through leadership and training, Ms. Walls brought fiscal responsibility to the forefront of the Treasurer’s Office operations, and created and implemented the first ever internal control policies for the Beaufort County Treasurer’s Office. Ms. Walls is also active in the community and professional organizations as well as CEO of a youthful and lively household.

William (Bill) Rials, Ph.D.

William (Bill) Rials, Ph.D. — Moderator

Associate Director and IT Professor, Tulane University and Senior Fellow, Center for Digital Government

William (Bill) Rials, Ph.D., is a professor and associate director (department chair) of the Tulane University School of Professional Advancement IT and Cybersecurity Program. Where he focuses on continually delivering and updating the program curriculum based on innovative and emerging technologies, before transitioning academia and higher education, he had a diverse government technology career delivering value to state agencies, local governments, and law enforcement agencies throughout the State of Mississippi.