City's new IT director moves from computer revolution to City Hall

Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Carson City information services director Kevin Haggerty speaks with the Nevada Appeal from his office in City Hall.

Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Carson City information services director Kevin Haggerty speaks with the Nevada Appeal from his office in City Hall.

In the days of DOSS, when opening a computer program required not a click of the mouse but a series of gibberish-looking keystrokes like "run '$',08," Kevin Haggerty, Carson City's new director of technology, figured the industry could be in for a sustained growth spurt.

A great breakthrough in computer science had already opened the way for more accessible and useful products. It was binary code, which looks like this: 1011001110110000101111010101.

In those days, Haggerty said, "it all came down to how fast you could move the 0s and 1s."

Computers were as much revolution as corporation back then.

There was IBM and Xerox, period. Electronic information storage was already a business. But the infectious energy of a group of people who at first glance might have looked like a Trekkie convention turned it into a movement.

That underground of technology savants who had never in history been so connected started a chain of events that would ultimately spur overwhelming technological and cultural advances, changing the world forever.

Back when the technology seeped out of boardrooms and into the bedrooms of shut-ins and self-proclaimed geeks, there were wild claims about how computers would revolutionize daily life for the average person. The savants believed it. Many in the corporate and scholastic worlds considered it to be more delusion than foresight at work. Nobody knew for certain what the future would really hold.

Haggerty said, "There was a reserved optimism the industry was going to continue to grow."

A "reserved optimism."

If the computer revolution of the 20th century had an office, the sign above it might have read: "No Reservations Required."

In the early 1980s. Haggerty moved from math to computers.

"I guess it did pique my interest since it was 'new' for that time," he said.

Haggerty got into the computer science program at Pennsylvania State University. As new as popular interest in computers was, the program was very competitive, he said.

When he graduated, Haggerty came to Northern California, the center of the personal computer universe at the time.

"It was the place to be," he said.

After a few years, Haggerty moved back to the East Coast, where he had the idea he wanted to switch from computer scientist to venture capitalist. He went back to school and got a master's of business administration degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

Then he moved back to the West Coast and then again to the East Coast until this spring, when he took a job heading Carson City's information technology department. Haggerty's goal here is to do with computers what the machines were made to do for the world: increase information flow and efficiency.

"Society is based on consumer transactions," Haggerty said, adding that because of computer technology, "the cost of transactions is going down."

In a roundabout way, or a rather direct way depending upon how one looks at it, Haggerty's job is therefore to enable the city to do more with less.

"I think there's a pent-up demand to use this technology even more, and that's why I'm here - to satisfy that pent-up demand."

n Contact reporter Cory McConnell at or 881-1217.


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