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The 2009 IBM Global Public Sector Innovation Excellence Leadership Award

The IBM Global Public Sector Innovation Excellence Award honors exemplary organizations that take their place at the forefront of public sector innovation. They are making not just small improvements, but transformational, game-changing ones that will help change the world. They represent the value of collaboration, the significance of culture and are role models for all leaders. May they inspire us all to continue on and deepen our own innovation journeys.

James G. Argiropoulos

First Deputy Chief of Staff, Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC)

“Innovators are people who are very open minded to change. You have to be very customer focused. I think innovation is about the passion and desire to do the right thing. Here, it’s all about protecting our first responder and the citizens of Chicago. You have to be striving, effective, motivated, and you cannot under any circumstances, stop pushing forward. The moment that you do that, you’re going to fail.” - James G. Argiropoulos, 2009 Oral History

Jim Argiropoulos was appointed First Deputy Chief of Staff for the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) on September 16, 2007. Shortly after his appointment, he was named Communications Co-Chair for the Illinois Terrorism Task Force. 

Prior to his appointment, Argiropoulos served as Director of Information Systems for OEMC and implemented the functional requirements and database table layout for the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system currently used in Chicago for 9-1-1 and Homeland Security systems.  Argiropoulos has been involved with the ongoing technical development of the OEMC since February 1995, and prior to that served in the Chicago Police Department Communications section, where he began development of the City’s current Computer Aided Dispatch System. 

In 1991, Argiropoulos was the Watch Manager for the Southwest Central 9-1-1 Dispatch in Palos Heights, Illinois, where he was responsible for operations of the Computer Aided Dispatch system, Mobile Data Terminals, microwave and Enhanced 9-1-1. This multi-jurisdictional dispatch system served 23 police and fire agencies.

Prior to that, Argiropoulos served as Director of Emergency Management for Whitley County, and is credited for the development and implementation of the County’s Enhanced 9-1-1 system as well as that area’s first central dispatch system for all law enforcement, fire agencies, Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services.  Also during that tenure, Argiropoulos coordinated one of the largest rescue/recovery operations in Kentucky, which spanned 23 days, and involved numerous state and local agencies.

Argiropoulos has been active in emergency services since age 15, when he became a cadet volunteer member of the Williamsburg, Kentucky Fire/Police Communications section. Later he served as a Lieutenant in the Fire Department and was the first and only Paramedic for the department during his 11-year tenure.

The Nominating Committee for the 2009 IBM Global Public Sector Innovation Excellence Leadership Award:
Norm Lorentz
Strategic Advisor
Partnership for Public Service
Curtis Clark
Global Executive Director
IBM Public Sector Innovation
Roger Rehayem
Principal, Emerging Technologies
IBM Global Services