MAGIC 2014 Keynote Speakers

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Ben Balter, GitHub

Ben Balter is a gov 2.0 evangelist working to hack government from the inside out, a GitHubber making government better, one repo at a time, and an aspiring attorney passionate about the disruptive potential of technology.

Named one of the top 25 most influential people in government and technology and described by the US Chief Technology Officer as one of "the baddest of the badass innovators," and by the White House Director of Digital Strategy as "lightning in a bottle," Ben is a Government Evangelist at GitHub - the world's largest software development network - where he leads the efforts to encourage adoption of open source, open data, and open government philosophies across all levels of government.

Previously, Ben was a member of the inaugural class of Presidential Innovation Fellows where he served as entrepreneur in residence reimagining the role of technology in brokering the relationship between citizens and government. Before that, he was a Fellow in the Office of the US Chief Information Officer within the Executive Office of the President where he was instrumental in drafting the President's Digital Strategy, on the SoftWare Automation and Technology (SWAT) Team, the White House's first and only agile development team, and as a New Media Fellow, in the Federal Communications Commission's Office of the Managing Director where he played a central role in shaping the agency's reimagined web presence. His paper, Towards a More Agile Government was published in the Public Contract Law Journal, arguing that Federal IT Procurement should be more amenable to modern, agile development methods.

Ben holds a J.D. and an M.B.A. from the George Washington University. When not trying to change the world, he enjoys tackling otherwise-impossible challenges to sharing information using nothing more than duct tape, version control, and occasionally a pack of bubblegum.

Mike Byrne, GIO @ Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Mike Byrne is the Geographic Information Officer at the Federal Communications Commission. Mike is a strategic thinker, interested in integrating data for positive outcomes in public policy. He has an acute understanding of government business processes, and a wide range of policy expertise. He is an expert in the design, development, implementation, and use of Geographic Information Systems for public policy and research.

Mike is a Geographer interested in advancing public policy through the use of transparent information. He has a strong geographic analysis background with the intent of strategic planning and public policy. He has worked in healthcare, information technology/telecommunications, natural resources, and infrastructure planning.

Amber Reynolds, Chair of MAGIC

Amber Reynolds is the Assistant Director of IT/GIS for Jackson County, Missouri. Her primary focus is business and strategic planning for the County's GIS Department. Amber brings over seventeen years of experience in government, not-for-profit and the private sector with emphasis on implementing, coordinating and managing new and established GIS programs to ensure the sustainability and scalability of these programs.

In addition to her duties at Jackson County, she is also the Chair of the MidAmerica GIS Consortium (MAGIC) and Chair-Elect of the Missouri GIS Advisory Council. Amber previously serviced on the Executive Board for the Kansas Assocation of Mappers. In 2012, Amber received Jackson County's Distinguished Technical Service award for her development of the County's Community and Economic Development mapping application. Amber earned her GIS Professional (GISP) designation in 2007. Amber lives in Lawrence, Kansas - home of the Jayhawks - with her husband and 4 (yes FOUR) boys.