On April 25, 2019, the City of Winter Haven made the following announcement about the formation of a Smart City Advisory Committee:

City of Winter Haven Smart City Advisory Committee

he City of Winter Haven is formally embarking on a Smart City initiative to improve lives, and bring government and citizens together. As part of this important initiative, the City is forming a Smart City Advisory Committee.  

City Manager Mike Herr stated, “For many years, we have been investing in resources, such as the fiber optic infrastructure. Late last year, the City appointed Hiep Nguyen as the Smart City Officer. His leadership and vision combined with the previous infrastructure investments, positions the city to fully support and move forward on this smart city endeavor.” Smart City Officer Hiep Nguyen went on to say, “The City is committed to using the appropriate technologies to keep our community safe, our residents engaged, the economy growing and the quality of life improving. This new Smart City Advisory Committee will offer significant advice regarding important strategies to support smart city innovation.”

A “smart city” is a city that uses information and communication technologies to increase operational efficiency, share information with the public and improve both the quality of government services and citizen welfare. Mayor Brad Dantzler stated, “The City’s future will be driven by entrepreneurial and technological advancements. This designated smart city focus will ensure Winter Haven is headed in the right direction and it will provide citizens with what they need to have the best quality of life.”  

Winter Haven EDC Executive Director Bruce Lyon was excited to learn of the creation of the Smart City Advisory Committee and went on to say, “We applaud the City Commission and City Manager for leading this initiative. Their leadership and support of the increasing need to understand and embrace advances in technology and innovation will be important to sustaining Winter Haven’s resilient economic growth and high quality of life.”  Greater Winter Haven Area Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Katie Worthington Decker shares the same enthusiasm by stating, “The City leadership and Commission understand we have an opportunity to be trailblazers in how technology can improve city services and quality of life of our citizens. We have already proven to be progressive thinkers when it comes to the expansion of technology, but the formation of this committee commits to it in a very public way.

The purpose of the Smart City Advisory Committee is to explore smart city opportunities, strategies, and partnerships. The committee will engage internal and external partners for collaboration and communications to recommend innovative smart city development for the City of Winter Haven. The Smart City Advisory Committee will be an inclusive cross-section of our community. Thirteen voting members will include representatives from groups including Education, Technology, Business Services, Real Estate, Logistics or Manufacturing, Hospitality /Entertainment, Aviation, Healthcare, non-profit partners, community members, a City Commissioner and City staff.

City Manager Mike Herr stated, “A smart city uses multiple smart strategies to develop relations with colleges and universities to promote economic development. Our Community Partners are exceptional in how they go about achieving their mission so we have an exceptional community. Our City team of employees must challenge ourselves every day to embrace best practices so we have an improved bottom line and our citizens can pay the least amount possible in taxes, but continue to have the best municipal service.”  

Those interested in being involved should complete an application by contacting City Clerk Vanessa Castillo at 863-291-5600 or vcastillo@mywinterhaven.com.