Development Services Systems Manager
City of Las Vegas
In years past, Dire Straits; more recently loves the blues.
A consultant’s study of the Las Vegas development approval process in 2011 found city departments were highly inefficient due to agencies operating as silos—you’d have to apply separately for a zoning change, a building permit, a business license, and so on, and each office would ask anew who you are, and start its own file. Rick was tasked not only to integrate these silos, but to apply state of the art software—streamlining the process not just for developers but for citizen homeowners trying to repair a patio or install a new water heater.
First, process gaps between departments (eg, building safety, planning, business licensing, and public works) were bridged by having organizations report to a new Executive Director of Development Services with a tighter focus on development than traditional reporting to the city manager. To underscore the technological nature of the mission, Rick dubbed it (with the help of an employee naming contest) “EDDI” for Electronic Development Department Integration.” Then, acting as an in-house prime contractor, he assembled best of breed solutions from seven different vendors since no single vendor seemed adequate: an interactive voice system from Voxeo, a document management solution from Bentley Systems, a document markup tool from Bluebeam, etc . As a builder applies for permits and licenses, web services operate seamlessly in the background to avoid the need for in-person visits, redundancy, and delays at multiple sites. And the cherry on top: making Amazon’s Alexa chatbot (and later Google Home) an interface for users. Cost of the three-year rollout of this “ecosystem of information delivery”: $8.5 million (they’re currently at the end of year 2).
Wide participation of staff in the design and implementation phases leads to a wide spirit of adoption.
Rick’s Personal Background
Rick grew up in Mumbai, was an undergrad major in commerce at local Sydenham College, came to Virginia for his MBA (’87). He was in software systems consulting in the 90s and ran his own consulting company in Florida for eight years. In 2003, looking for a “western” pace of life, he came to Las Vegas.
Daily transcendental meditation; vacationing with wife and their two dogs (a Shih Tzu and a Lhasa Apso); practically any kind of technology and its application.