Features

Chris Fadden – City of Everett 

Leading technological advancements for Everett, Washington 

Chris Fadden, the director of information technology for the City of Everett, Washington, steers the municipality towards a technologically advanced and secure future. With a background in IT spanning over a decade, Fadden brings a wealth of expertise to his leadership position.  

Chris Fadden | Director, Information Technology | City of Everett 

Chris Fadden | Director, Information Technology | City of Everett

Fadden’s tenure is characterized by a pursuit of excellence. Initiatives to enhance cybersecurity, foster interdepartmental collaboration, and increase citizen engagement take center stage. With a dedication to serving the community, Fadden’s leadership embodies a blend of technological prowess and civic responsibility. 

As the municipality grapples with the complexities of modern governance, Fadden emerges as a guiding force, navigating the intricate landscape of IT governance with foresight. His strategic vision ensures the seamless integration of technological solutions and underscores the importance of safeguarding sensitive infrastructure and data.  

Through his transformative initiatives, Fadden strives to elevate the City of Everett’s technological resilience and responsiveness, laying the groundwork for a thriving, interconnected community. 

“Steering the City of Everett towards a secure and technologically advanced future is a privilege and a responsibility. I’m committed to driving excellence and innovation. By prioritizing cybersecurity, fostering collaboration, and engaging citizens, we’re not just embracing technology; we’re shaping the future of our community,” Fadden says.  

Ensuring security 

Under Fadden’s leadership, the municipality’s cybersecurity framework is being fortified. His team diligently adheres to the organization’s roadmap, ensuring that security measures remain robust and up to date. Notably, efforts are underway to segregate Operational Technology (OT) and IT networks, safeguarding the region’s water infrastructure from potential threats. 

Chris Fadden | Director, Information Technology | City of Everett 

Fadden’s team has overhauled the city’s network architecture, implementing stringent measures such as network segmentation, firewalls, and access controls. This strategy assists in isolating critical systems, secures IoT devices, and thwarts unauthorized access. Endpoint protection tools, security patches, and software updates further fortify the city’s defenses. Leveraging resources from MS-ISAC and CISA, Fadden stays ahead of emerging threats and mitigation strategies. Regular cybersecurity training for city employees and phishing campaigns through KnowB4 enhance awareness and preparedness. 

The department’s initiatives extend beyond internal operations to citizen-facing endeavors. One such initiative is the Everett at Work project, featuring a 311 app that enables residents to report issues promptly.  

“This citizen-centric approach underscores our commitment to leveraging technology for the betterment of the community,” Fadden says.  

Fadden envisions several key projects for 2024, including migrating the NEC PBX phone system to Microsoft Teams Calling, upgrading the core financial system, and modernizing the Municipal Court’s digital infrastructure.  

In navigating these technological advancements, Fadden remains cognizant of the challenges of evolving cloud environments and the responsible integration of AI tools. With an eye on innovation and community service, he ensures that the City of Everett remains at the forefront of technological progress while meeting the evolving needs of its population. 

Collaboration and efficiency 

With a team of 30 professionals specializing in desktop, network, application, security, and project management, Fadden ensures that all positions are filled, and recruitment remains steady. A civil service hiring process and a culture of inclusivity contribute to talent retention. Hybrid work opportunities, team outings, and regular engagement activities foster a collaborative and supportive environment. 

Chris Fadden | Director, Information Technology | City of Everett 

Fadden is instrumental in fostering collaboration among different city departments. By establishing user groups and leveraging PowerApps, he encourages departments to develop IT solutions tailored to their unique needs. Noteworthy is the police department’s creation of a secure PowerApp with IT’s guidance, showcasing its innovative potential. 

The dynamic nature of technology poses challenges in balancing maintenance and innovation with limited resources. Supporting 30 lines of business and managing over 415 applications demand strategic foresight and resource optimization. Despite the challenges, Fadden finds fulfillment in leading a dedicated team that facilitates city departments in serving the community. Collaborating with government agencies statewide and solving complex problems underscore the rewarding aspects of his role. 

“I believe in fostering a culture where every team member feels valued and empowered to contribute their unique skills and ideas. Together, we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of technology, finding innovative solutions that enhance the services we provide to our community,” Fadden says. 

Fadden’s journey reflects a quest for the right fit. From diverse roles like facility maintenance to telecommunications, his path eventually led to a fulfilling career in public sector IT. Fadden embraced opportunities for growth and leadership. Fadden’s passion for technology and public service shines through with each role, setting the stage for continued innovation and success. 

Balancing passion and profession 

Fadden’s fascination with technology traces back to his innate curiosity and love for innovation. The ever-evolving nature of technology initially drew him in, fueling his desire to understand how things work and to explore new possibilities in the workplace. 

While technology was always a passion, Fadden’s career path initially diverged from municipal government. Growing up in a family where both parents held government positions, he was exposed to the stability, satisfaction, and defined benefits associated with public service. In hindsight, Fadden wishes he had ventured into public service earlier in his career. 

However, fate eventually led him to the City of Everett, where he joined in October 2015. His decade-long tenure in various IT roles within the Washington State Department of Corrections had equipped him with valuable skills and experiences, paving the way for his transition to the City of Everett. 

Fadden’s contributions to the city’s technological advancements did not go unnoticed. In February 2024, he was appointed IT director, marking a significant milestone in his career. This recognition underscored his capabilities and achievements, solidifying his position as a leader in leveraging technology for the betterment of the community. 

“My enthusiasm for the opportunity to lead and support the city’s IT Department stems from the talented and dedicated professionals I have the privilege to work with. Being a part of this team from the beginning has been so much fun. I look forward to seeing the results of our continued creative and innovative approach to providing meaningful change and progress for our city departments and constituents,“ Fadden says. 

Published on: July 2, 2024

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