On December 21 the City of South Bend announced the departure of its Chief Innovation Officer Santiago Garces, who is moving onto a new opportunity with the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Garces joined the City in 2013 after earning undergraduate degrees in political science and electrical engineering, and a graduate degree from the ESTEEM program at the University of Notre Dame. Garces co-founded the local non-profit enFocus. Named as the South Bend’s first Chief Innovation Officer in 2014, Garces established the City’s Office of Innovation, and later created the City’s Department of Innovation and Technology. Under his direction, the team has expanded the capabilities of the 311 Service Center, saved South Bend millions of dollars through creative strategic planning, and gained national attention for its work in data-driven government and private-public partnerships. Garces made an impact in the community by creating supportive relationships with local start-ups and led the charge toward digital inclusion by developing public WiFi and C.L.I.C.K. (Centers for Learning, Information, Connectivity, and Knowledge) spaces. In addition to his role as a founding board member of the MetroLab Network, Garces has advised the National Science Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies on their work in Civic Innovation.
“Serving South Bend and Mayor Pete during this moment of transformation has been an incredible honor. Being witness to people from all backgrounds working together to energize South Bend fills me with pride and hope. I will carry this to my service of Pittsburgh and Mayor Peduto”,” said Garces.
“Santi’s talent and hard work made a tremendous difference in our administration as he built an office and team that has transformed the way our city government does business,” said Mayor Pete Buttigieg. “His work helped bring South Bend a national reputation for leadership in civic innovation, and even more importantly, helped us deliver better results for residents every day. We will miss him as a colleague but we wish him well in this new and important role.”
The search for Garces’ replacement will begin shortly, and the job posting will be available on the City’s website in the coming days. Garces’ duties will be temporarily fulfilled by his Chief Technology Officer Dan O’Connor and Director of Civic Innovation Brian Donoghue.