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  • Smart City Development Highlighted at State of North Orange County

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    October 11, 2019
    North Orange County Chamber hosted State of North Orange County at CSU Fullerton, focusing on the concept of smart cities and its increasing relevance to the region.

    As the modern era forges the way for an increased use of technology, cities have the possibility of using these advancements to cultivate a more prosperous city. The discussion addressed key components of smart cities, policies to be established, and the collaboration necessary to put these plans into action.

    Doug Chaffee, Fourth District Supervisor of the County of Orange, provided an update on his activities as the region’s representative to the county, highlighting efforts to address homelessness in the North Service Planning Area (SPA) and collaboration among cities including Placentia, Fullerton and Buena Park. He also addressed issues related to transportation, water and other challenges faced by the county.

    CSU Fullerton President Framroze “Fram” Virjee spoke about the State of the University, ranking high on the charts for diversity and safety. He elaborated on how advanced technology is implemented throughout the campus. According to Virjee, the University is leading the region to produce a workforce with a vision for the future.

    Dr. Cherry Li-Bugg, Vice Chancellor of Educational Services and Technology of the North Orange County Community College District, moderated a panel on Digital Communities and Smart Cities Changing the Way We Work. Panelists included Ben Bawtree-Jobson, CEO of SiFi Networks; Amir Dabirian, Vice President for Information Technology at CSU Fullerton; Ken Domer, City Manager of Fullerton; and Jim Vanderpool, City Manager of Buena Park.

    Panelists emphasized the role of global connectivity and the need for municipalities to prepare for the future. More than 150 guests including city officials, regional employees, and local residents heard information about creating cities of the future involving clean and sustainable communities for residents to live, work and play. Special guests in attendance also included students from Troy High School’s award-winning Cyber Security program.

    “There is a desire to create clean, sustainable communities where our children and grandchildren will live, work and play,” summarized Theresa Harvey, President and CEO of North Orange County Chamber. “Our ability to take risks, be flexible, and shape attitudes will be foundational to advancements that will bring cities alive in a connected environment. It will take efforts from public and private partnerships to shape policy to make change. These changes include common infrastructure, passion and a workforce prepared to envision the future.”

    Moderator Dr. Li-Bugg has served more than 25 years as a community college administrator, whose extensive experience has provided her with a wide range of expertise in educational and institutional technology, strategic and master planning, and workforce development, all paramount in discussions regarding smart cities.

    Bawtree-Jobson directs all aspects of the company’s public-private-partnership offering in the fiber to the premise sector. He plays a crucial role as SiFi Networks builds the USA’s largest privately funded open access FiberCity ™ in Fullerton.

    In his role as Vice President of IT since 2008, Dabirian has been overseeing all enterprise services of IT in support of the University’s mission and strategic plan. He talked about current technological advances, such as using mobile apps to place an order in advance.

    Domer has worked in various roles including management roles for the County of Orange and the Cities of Huntington Beach and Villa Park. He spoke on the importance of public-private partnerships in smart city development, as well as the risks involved.

    James “Jim” B. Vanderpool has been involved with the City of Buena Park for 23 years, serving as City Manager for the past two and overseeing various contracts, government, public affairs and maintenance operations for the city. He encouraged the audience to be cooperative and open to the technological advances being made in the region.

    State of North Orange County was sponsored by Arconic Fastening SystemsCSU FullertonSouthwest Airlines Co., Crittenton Services for Children & Families, Farmers & Merchants Bank, Marshall B. Ketchum UniversityRowntree GardensSt. Jude Medical CenterChevron CorporationKimberly-Clark CorporationMorningside of FullertonSouthern California Edison Co.Arborland MontessoriCity of Buena ParkHoliday Inn Buena ParkPark Vista, and The Source OC, with refreshments provided by Porto’s Bakery & Cafe.

    Photographed above from left to right are Dr. Cherry Li-Bugg, Jim Vanderpool, Ken Domer, Amir Dabirian and Ben Bawtree-Jobson. Photo courtesy of Matt Gush, CSU Fullerton.