Mayor’s Office

Mayor Miro Weinberger Welcomes IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Global Team Members and Kicks Off Pro Bono Consulting Engagement


April 2, 2013
Contact:  Mike Kanarick

Mayor Miro Weinberger Welcomes IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Global Team Members and Kicks Off Pro Bono Consulting Engagement; Team to Analyze and Recommend Ways for City to Become Greener Through Use of Sustainable, Renewable Energy Sources

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger and the City of Burlington today welcomed to town a global team of IBM’s top experts and kicked-off a three-week, pro bono consulting engagement to analyze and recommend ways Burlington can become an even better, greener place in which to live and work through increased reliance on and use of sustainable, renewable energy sources.  The project is being funded by an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant (#smartercities) announced in November 2012 and valued at $400,000.  Burlington is the smallest US city to earn the grant and the second smallest City on the globe (after Geraldton, Australia).

“What an exciting time for the City of Burlington,” said Weinberger during this morning’s news conference in the Lakeside Pavilion of the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center.  “We truly are honored that IBM recognized and believes in our strong vision for Burlington’s sustainable energy future and has dedicated substantial resources toward providing our City with the knowledge and tools we need to achieve our climate goals.  We offer a warm welcome to our diverse and dynamic team and look forward to working with its members these next three weeks and to receiving the team’s report and recommendations.”

The City of Burlington expects to focus its grant on creating a strategic plan to economically reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors, including energy, heating, and transportation, by leveraging:

  • The City’s recent smart grid investments;
  • The long-standing political will of the City, the State, and Burlington institutions; and
  • Ongoing energy efficiency and renewable energy resource development efforts.

The diverse global team members (detailed bios below), all of whom joined Weinberger for the kick-off, include:

  • Leonard Hand, Executive Information Technology Architect, from Rochester, New York;
  • Robert Laurim, Vertical Industry Expert, from Munich, Germany;
  • Jorge “Lutt” Luttgardes, CIO Latin America Office Leader, from Sao Paulo, Brazil;
  • Isabelle Murard, Energy & Utility Solution Center Leader, from Nice, France;
  • Gabriela “Gaby” Orwick, Acquisition Integration Executive Consultant, from Portland, Oregon; and
  • Christian Raetzsch, Systems & Technology Group Technical Executive, from Prague, Czech Republic.

"Congratulations again to the City of Burlington for earning an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant,” said Marian Lawlor, Manager, IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs.  “Burlington distinguished itself among its peers by convincingly demonstrating its preparation and willingness to make the kind of improvements that will lead to improved quality of life for its residents and to Burlington becoming a smarter city.  We consider it a privilege to share with Burlington the talent and expertise of our most gifted employees, who are the envy of the industry.  They have premier skills in a range of disciplines – all useful for helping to build smarter cities and a smarter planet."

The engagement includes the following activities:

  • Week One – Discovery Week – the global team will tour Burlington and interview key City officials and community stakeholders, including individuals from the Mayor’s Office and City Green Team, Burlington Electric Department (BED), UVM, Fletcher Allen Health Care, the Burlington School District, and more;
  • Week Two – Synthesis Week – the team will consider and discuss the information its members have gathered and will conduct follow-up interviews with original and additional stakeholders as needed;
  • Week Three – Findings Week – the team will solidify its findings and report out to the community at a culminating event on Thursday, April 18 at 4:30pm in City Hall’s Contois Auditorium; and
  • Post-Engagement – the team will prepare, between 30 and 60 days after the end of the engagement, a detailed, written report with recommendations for how Burlington might efficiently and effectively address sustainable energy and its goal of reducing its reliance on non-renewable energy sources that will be delivered to the City.

The officials from IBM’s Essex Junction, Vermont offices who joined Mayor Weinberger at today’s kick-off event included:  Lawlor; Jeff Couture, Communications Manager; and John M. Cohn, IBM Fellow, Corporate Technical Strategy.

The City team who participated included: Barbara L. Grimes, General Manager of BED; Kenneth A. Nolan, Manager of Power Resources; Mary Sullivan, BED Communications Coordinator; and Carina Driscoll, Assistant to the Mayor for Innovation and Mayoral Initiatives.

Launched in 2011, the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a three-year, 100-city, $50 million competitive grant program.  The program, which is IBM's single-largest philanthropic initiative, assigns a team of six top IBM experts to each winning city to study a key issue identified by the City's leadership.

For year three of the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge, cities around the world once again competed vigorously to benefit from IBM's talent. The winning cities proposed innovative projects and areas of focus for IBM experts. These included strategies that address:

  • Sustainability - setting policies around billing rates, electric vehicle use, and solar power generation on an upgraded power grid;
  • Economic and Workforce Development - reducing local dependence on a single industry;
  • Social Services - creating an ecosystem that supports independent living for a growing senior citizen community;
  • Capital Budget Planning - enabling citizens to request expenditures, while analyzing their potential impact; and
  • Urban Planning - taking a more systematic, data-driven approach to housing policy, downtown revitalization, zoning, and permits.

In 2012, IBM provided expert counsel to 33 cities worldwide that had earned IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants.  These included engagements in:

  • Cheongju, Korea, where IBM recommended smarter transportation strategies;
  • Dortmund, Germany and Malaga Spain, where IBM formulated plans for economic, workforce, skills development;
  • Jacksonville, FL, where IBM outlined steps for downtown revitalization;
  • Louisville, KY, where IBM showed how the city could use data to identify, predict and mitigate conditions that trigger asthma;
  • Nairobi, Kenya, where IBM created a plan for traffic management;
  • Geraldton, Australia, the smallest city (2011 census population 26,872) to earn the grant, where IBM suggested ways for the city to become a leader in smart grid technology adoption and digital services; and
  • Curitiba, Brazil, where IBM suggested approaches to sustainability and citizen engagement.

In years one and two of the Smarter Cities Challenge, IBM completed work in 64 cities globally, deploying nearly 400 of its most talented experts who delivered concrete and measurable results to winning cities.

Visit the CitizenIBM blog to read about some of the lessons learned during previous IBM Smarter Cities Challenge engagements and to better understand the challenges that cities face.  To find out more about IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants, please visit IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge website at  Follow them on Twitter @citizenIBM.

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IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Global Team:

Leonard Hand – Rochester, New York, USA - Executive Information Technology Architect
Leonard Hand is an IBM Senior Certified Architect with an infrastructure discipline (networking, cloud computing, etc.).  He performs many roles beyond information technology (IT) Architect, including: instructor, methodologist, mentor, innovator (6 US patents) and programmer, to name a few.  As an Infrastructure Architect Len understands the importance of looking at the big picture and all possibilities, but at the same time has a pragmatic (rubber meets the road) perspective that enables his solutions to work in the real world. Len is currently engaged as the technical lead on a special assignment called the IBM Asset Factory.  Prior to IBM, Leonard worked as a software consultant and as an environmental controller programmer.  He is a Summa Cum Laude Graduate of SUNY Oswego.  Leonard has built his own home; enjoys his family, wrenching classic car and motorcycles, while managing his farm in central NY. 

Robert Laurim – Munich, Germany - Vertical Industry Expert
Robert Laurim is a vertical industry expert pulling together hardware, software and services to support his clients.  All his career moves have been with leading IT companies in support of various business segments such as automotive, aerospace, manufacturing, broadcasting/media, utilities, public and defense. He is experienced in growing markets, startup situations, and turnarounds. His working style is straightforward and customer-focused.  Prior to joining IBM Germany in 2003, Robert worked for several other high tech firms.  Robert holds a Degree in Industrial Engineering from Munich University of Applied Sciences.  His hobbies include a variety of outdoor activities including scuba diving. He’s also very interested in antiques, modern history and literature.  Robert lives with his wife and two daughters in Munich, which is located in Bavaria, southern Germany. 

Jorge “Lutt” Luttgardes – Sao Paulo, Brazil - CIO Latin America Office Leader
Jorge “Lutt” Luttgardes is currently the CIO Latin America Office Leader, responsible for the overall IBM IT operations in Latin America. In his last two positions, he worked in the IBM Consulting Division, as the  Operations Executive and in Applications Services Delivery, respectively. Before that Lutt worked in the finance area with his last position as the Latin America CFO for the IBM Consulting Division.  During his 19 years in IBM, Lutt has rotated through several areas with experience in Application Management, Planning, Pricing, Treasury, Accounting, Business Development, Business Controls and Delivery Excellence.  Lutt speaks English and Spanish in addition to his native Portuguese.  He has a MBA from Fundacao Don Cabral, a post-graduate degree in Administrative Finance from Fundacao Getulio Vargas, and graduated in Data Processing Technology from Pontificia Universidade Catolica.  He was born in Rio de Janeiro and lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he is married and has two daughters. He likes sports and plays soccer and tennis.

Isabelle Murard – Nice, France - Energy & Utility Solution Center Leader
Isabelle Murard is the Energy & Utility Solution Center Leader at IBM Nice-Sophia Antipolis, France. She is a senior IBM certified Project Manager and certified Service Oriented Architecture Associate. For the past 3 years, Isabelle has led the team in charge of Technical Consulting for IBM Business Solutions serving the Energy & Utility market at a global level. Isabelle has spent the majority of her IBM career working with all IBM lines of business, as well as with Business Partners, Independent Software Vendors, Consultants and Systems Integrators.  During her career, she has worked in EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) for IBM voice products, in software development, in system design, in end-to-end solution design, in project and team management.  Living in Vence on the French Riviera, Isabelle enjoys outdoor sports like hiking, skiing & sailing. On a volunteer basis, she teaches project management at the Nice University.

Gabriela “Gaby” Orwick – Portland, Oregon, USA -  Acquisition Integration Executive Consultant
Gabriela “Gaby” Orwick is a Corporate Development Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Integration Consultant at IBM.  In her current role, she partners with IT business development leaders with focus on acquisition integration strategy, cross-IBM synergies, and the optimal approach to mitigate integration risk.  Previously, as an M&A integration Project Manager in IBM Software Group, Gaby led diverse global teams to develop comprehensive plans and deliver successful integration of acquired companies. Gaby is a certified Project Management Professional®, has extensive experience leading complex projects, and has earned the highest level – Thought-leader – recognition in IBM’s Managing Projects and Programs capability.  In May 2011, Gaby had the privilege of serving as an IBM Corporate Services Corps volunteer, consulting with the Cebu City government in the Philippines on organizational design and revamping Human Resources programs, esp. in recruiting and performance management practices. She thrives on applying her energy, focus, ideas and expertise to driving positive change, and making lasting business and community impact.

Christian Raetzsch – Prague, Czech Republic - Systems & Technology Group Technical Executive
Christian Raetzsch is an IBM Executive with more than 25 years experience in the IT industry.  Currently Christian leads the IBM Systems and Technology Group (STG) technical team in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia.  Prior to joining IBM, Christian worked with Austrian banks to develop and introduce software for provide advisory services to clients.  Christian started his career in IBM Austria as sales representative, working with manufacturing clients, followed by leadership positions in IBM’s Services Business and STG. Work assignments with IBM included several international roles in mature markets like Germany, as well as in Growth Markets in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia, and Middle East, Egypt and Pakistan.  Christian was born in Austria in a small village in Tirol, an area famous for it’s beautiful landscape, mountains, and skiing.  He holds a degree in Civil Engineering from the Technical University in Graz, Austria, as well as a certificate in management from the Open University Business School, UK.  Christian is married and has 2 grown daughters who are both just now finishing their university education. Christian is very much looking forward to apply all his educational and professional experience to work with the city of Burlington to make its strong vision of a sustainable energy future reality.


Marian Lawlor – Vermont, USA - Manager, IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs
Marian manages IBM’s philanthropic initiatives for Vermont and Michigan and IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Burlington.  Marian joined IBM in the ‘70s at IBM Burlington where she has held technical and management jobs in areas as diverse as product engineering, data processing, product planning, technical vitality, and community relations. Marian chairs the regional Workforce Investment Board and serves on a number of education-related boards. Marian received her BA from Emory University and her MS from the University of New Hampshire.  In her spare time, Marian enjoys traveling and relaxing at her seasonal camp on Lake Champlain. 

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