Features

Paul Gerndt – City of Wyoming  

Leveraging next-gen IT solutions 

Paul Gerndt, the director of information technology for the City of Wyoming, Michigan, is a beacon of innovation and strategic leadership within the city’s technological landscape. With a wealth of experience and a visionary approach, Gerndt has spearheaded numerous projects and initiatives to ensure the IT department’s continuity and success for years. 

Paul Gerndt | Director, Information Technology | City of Wyoming  

Paul Gerndt | Director, Information Technology | City of Wyoming

Recognizing the evolving dynamics within the department, Gerndt has prioritized investing in leadership and development to groom the next generation of IT leaders. In response to a changing of the guard characterized by a mix of long-tenured staff and younger talent, he has implemented a progressive staffing model that offers clear career paths and growth opportunities.  

This forward-thinking approach benefits newer hires by providing them with a career roadmap and fosters a culture of continuous learning and professional advancement embraced by seasoned staff. 

“Understanding the human aspect of service delivery, I see my role as helping IT professionals find the balance in letting the technology do what technology does best while allowing the humans the same,” he says. 

Driving innovation 

One of Gerndt’s notable achievements has been implementing a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution, born out of the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the existing VPN solution struggled to meet the organization’s network requirements for critical client-server applications, Gerndt and his team piloted a VDI implementation, recognizing its potential as the ideal solution.  

Paul Gerndt | Director, Information Technology | City of Wyoming  

“The ongoing implementation aims to provide standardized desktop environments, streamline software usage, and enhance cybersecurity measures across departments, ensuring compatibility and efficiency,” Gerndt explains.  

In addition to his strategic initiatives, Gerndt remains committed to leveraging technology to improve the city’s operations and service delivery. Implementing technologies like Microsoft 365 and VDI has enhanced efficiency and facilitated remote work capabilities, which was particularly crucial during the pandemic. As the city transitions to a more digital workplace, Gerndt says integrating AI and machine learning technologies will further streamline processes and enhance service delivery to residents and businesses. 

Looking ahead to the rest of 2024, Gerndt is focused on driving innovation and leveraging existing technology investments to support the city’s transition to a more mobile and diverse workforce. Projects such as implementing Microsoft 365 features, like Teams and SharePoint, and developing effective workflows underscore his commitment to fostering a digital-first approach within the organization. 

Visionary leadership 

Gerndt leads a dedicated team of eight full-time employees, including himself. His approach to leadership focuses on investing in each team member and promoting a healthy work-life balance. Gerndt understands the importance of supporting his team members holistically, recognizing that personal stressors can impact professional performance. 

Paul Gerndt | Director, Information Technology | City of Wyoming  

To tackle recruiting and retention challenges, Gerndt adopts a promote-from-within approach, attracting IT professionals early in their careers with opportunities for advancement and challenging work.  

“Professional development is highly valued, with staff encouraged to pursue continuing education opportunities, supported by the City of Wyoming’s generous tuition reimbursement program,” he says. 

In nurturing the organization’s next group of leaders, Gerndt believes in the inherent leadership potential in every individual. He fosters self-awareness among his staff and encourages them to lead with positivity. Partnering with organizations like Humanergy, Gerndt provides leadership training to enhance the skills of his team members across all levels, not just management. 

As for the challenges he faces, Gerndt navigates the delicate balance of adopting new technology at the right time. Avoiding the bleeding edge while ensuring the timely implementation of innovative solutions is a constant struggle, he says. He emphasizes the importance of identifying the right technologies to implement, considering factors like ROI and end-of-life cycles. 

Despite the challenges, Gerndt finds immense satisfaction in his work, particularly when technological improvements positively impact people’s lives. His biggest career challenge has been advocating for IT’s strategic involvement in organizational decision-making processes. Gerndt says that integrating IT into strategic planning leads to better outcomes for the organization.  

A passion for IT 

Gerndt’s journey into the world of IT traces back to a high school course that introduced him to computers and basic programming. Fascinated by the idea of crafting programs to tackle real-world business issues, he quickly developed a deep appreciation for the potential of IT. 

Paul Gerndt | Director, Information Technology | City of Wyoming  

With a computer and information science degree from Ferris State University, Gerndt embarked on his professional career with zeal. Joining the City of Wyoming, Michigan, in August 1996 as an information systems supervisor, he demonstrated exceptional leadership and technical prowess, steadily climbing the ranks within the organization. 

With an unwavering dedication to mastering the intricacies of IT, Gerndt rose through the city’s ranks, earning recognition for his contributions. In January 2022, Gerndt reached a significant milestone in his career, assuming the role of director of information technology. 

“I can say that this was the culmination of years of hard work and commitment,” he says.  

Beyond his professional endeavors, Gerndt is a self-described techie and outdoorsman at heart. Finding solace and inspiration amidst nature, he cherishes moments spent exploring the great outdoors with loved ones. 

“Business is like nature—it is breathtaking, diverse, harsh, vast, resilient, and rewarding. As extensions of the natural world, we are fortunate to have technology to help us improve the world,” Gerndt says.  

 

Published on: April 24, 2024

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