Vermont Press Releases

IBM awards Burlington Smarter Cities Challenge grant


Nove. 14, 2012

Mike Kanarick

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger and IBM officials today
announced that IBM has selected the City of Burlington to receive an
IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant (#smartercities). The grant
provides Burlington in 2013 with a team of IBM’s top experts 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. Burlington is the
smallest US city to earn the grant.

“What a great day for the City of Burlington,” said Weinberger. “We
truly are honored that IBM has recognized and believes in our strong
vision for Burlington’s sustainable energy future and will dedicate
substantial resources toward providing our City with the knowledge and
tools we need to achieve our renewable energy goals.”

The City of Burlington expects to focus its grant on creating a
strategic plan to save energy costs and efficiently reduce greenhouse
gas emissions by leveraging:

The City’s new Advanced Meter system;
The long-standing political will of the City, the State, and
Burlington institutions; and
Existing energy efficiency and renewable energy resources.

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.

The IBM officials who joined Mayor Weinberger at today’s press
conference at Burlington Electric Department included: Janette
Bombardier, Vermont Director of Site Operations and Senior State
Executive; Marian B. Lawlor, Senior Manager, Corporate Citizenship and
Corporate Affairs; Chris Gillman, Senior Engineering Manager; and John
M. Cohn, IBM Fellow, Corporate Technical Strategy.

“Congratulations to the City of Burlington for earning an IBM Smarter
Cities Challenge grant in 2013,” said Bombardier. “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 City team who participated in the press conference included:
Barbara L. Grimes, General Manager of Burlington Electric Department
(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.

Just after the press conference, Mayor Weinberger, Nolan, Sullivan,
and Driscoll boarded a BED van bound for the 2012 Smarter Cities
Challenge Summit in Palisades, NY. The summit begins this evening and
continues throughout the day tomorrow, including an opening plenary
session by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, President of the US
Conference of Mayors, and a variety of panels with distinguished city
leaders and urban thought leaders from around the world. Weinberger
and the Burlington team also will meet with IBM’s Smarter Cities
experts during the summit. Weinberger has been invited to speak
during the summit on a panel for 2013 Smarter Cities Challenge
winners, where he will share Burlington’s plans to most effectively
leverage its grant.

After the summit and well before the IBM team arrives for its
three-week pro bono consulting engagement this spring valued at
$400,000, the IBMers already will be hard at work studying sustainable
energy in Burlington. After the team arrives in Burlington, its
members will work with City officials to analyze data and solicit the
input of dozens of local agencies and advocacy groups. IBM then will
provide detailed recommendations for how Burlington might efficiently
and effectively address sustainable energy and its goal of reducing
its reliance on non-renewable energy sources.

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

· 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

· Urban Planning – taking a more systematic, data-driven
approach to housing policy, downtown revitalization, zoning, and

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

· Curitaba, 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

The need to use innovative approaches that address civic challenges
has never been greater. In 2008, according to the United Nations, more
than half the world’s population began living in cities for the first
time. These population centers are more economically powerful,
politically influential, and technologically advanced than at any time
in history. But they also struggle with increased demand for services,
along with budgetary and operational challenges.

Smarter Cities Challenge is a variant of IBM’s Corporate Service
Corps, a pro bono consulting program that assists government with
projects that intersect business, technology, and society. Since its
launch in 2008, Corporate Service Corps has sent more than 2,000 of
IBM’s top talent based in 50 countries on more than 200 team
assignments in 30 countries. While Corporate Service Corps focuses on
the developing world, IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge addresses urban
concerns in both industrialized and developing countries.

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.

The Smarter Cities Challenge is sponsored by IBM’s Corporate
Citizenship program and IBM’s International Foundation. IBM has been a
leader in corporate social responsibility and citizenship for more
than 100 years.

To learn more about IBM’s corporate citizenship initiatives, visit: and To
find out more about IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants, please visit
IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge website at Follow them on Twitter

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