- Published: 09 September 2022
As the director of innovation and technology and chief innovation officer for Coral Gables, alumnus Raimundo Rodulfo runs the city's smart city infrastructure.
Raimundo Rodulfo '16 and his team are on the verge of helping the City of Coral Gables' administration roll out citywide electronic processes and a high-tech, new development service center off Biltmore Way, which will be a one-stop shop for all permitting, code enforcement, planning and zoning needs. It’s part of a broad campaign to modernize the city’s systems—a task that Rodulfo and the city’s leaders have been working toward for years.
The FIU graduate loves to find new ways to make life better, more convenient for the residents of Coral Gables as well as provide savings that make sense. As the director of innovation and technology and chief innovation officer at the City of Coral Gables, a position he’s held since 2016, he credits his master’s degree in engineering management from FIU and his 30 years of professional experience across sectors and industries as the foundation for all his projects.
I have to apply a process- and efficiency-oriented mentality to improve the city’s technology-powered operations,” says Rodulfo. “Running a smart city infrastructure and services is very complex.”
In addition to being the first city in the nation to implement an AI-powered integrated/modular smart city pole, and one of the first cities in the nation to use manned drone technology to monitor large crowds and respond to 911 calls before responders are able to arrive, Coral Gables also uses smart lighting and communication infrastructure that incorporate Wi-Fi, 5G, CCTV, traffic, environmental and safety sensors to improve public safety, mobility and economic opportunities.
Rodulfo has improved citywide efficiencies in the innovation and technology department, including support and financial balance scorecard performance; he reduced response times for fire and police. He also continued building and developing human capital. Because of his work, his research, methodologies and findings have been published in journals, and he is a frequent guest speaker for other organizations on what it takes to prepare the infrastructure for municipalities to serve constituents and move toward sustainability.
The city has received numerous awards, including the Smart Cities Council Innovation Excellence Award and the IEEE Smart Cities Contest Jury Award in 2022. Coral Gables also achieved first place in the Digital Cities 2018 for cities of up to 75,000 population; first place in the U.S. Open Cities Index in 2019 and 2020; and Smart 50 Award in Urban Infrastructure. The city is also recognized as one of the eight Smart Cities to Watch in 2020 by State Tech Magazine and was one of the 12 finalists worldwide in the Gartner Eye on Innovation Awards for government in 2021.
A proud Panther, Rodulfo built an office library with textbooks from his time at the university as a Master of Science Engineering Management student. He often boasts about the real connections he made in his classes, the tangibility of his degree and the pathways he used to lead one of Miami-Dade County’s main cities through a transformation to become a hyperconnected, transparent and efficient smart city.
“The things I was learning, I immediately applied to what I was doing,” he says. “My team was challenged with implementing technology that makes sense to improve processes, and with taxpayers’ dollars. There's a lot of scrutiny on how you deploy solutions, the cost of technology and how you maximize efficiency.”
Before returning to the classroom, Rodulfo spent 20 years gaining significant experience in his field. But he wanted more and an MBA didn't quite fit. The master’s degree in engineering management offered the best of both worlds — leadership, business acumen and engineering management.
“I had my hands full in the city. But, you know, it was the best decision. I had great professors with Dr. Schmahl and Dr. Chen, and all the classes in systems engineering and enterprise systems were extremely relevant. The classes helped me a lot to replace legacy systems,” he adds. “There was a lot of alignment, a lot of the things I was learning there, I immediately applied to what I was doing.”
>Rodulfo leveraged everything he learned in Schmahl’s class from the academic research to the methodologies and the associated mathematics, he says. The class refreshed his knowledge from engineering school, updated his skills and he was able to achieve his Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.
“People, process and technology. These are the three elements that graduates need to be able to handle well to be successful working for organizations and especially for smart cities like Coral Gables. The master’s degree in engineering management combines those three major elements.”
Rodulfo concludes: “Engineering and enterprise systems will continually be impacted and disrupted by this Fourth Industrial Revolution, and the next one. I found that the master’s degree program helped me a lot, and I would say that the future is bright for anybody who's graduating from that program, especially from FIU, which offers excellence in the faculty and in the curriculum.”
Autor(en)/Author(s): Monica Smith
Quelle/Source: FIU Florida International University, 01.09.2022