Technically the Best
June 8, 2009 12:51 PM
Last Friday was Dick Grasmick's last day as the City's Information Technology Director. Dick spent three decades working for the City of Madison. His tenure started when dBase III and the Commodore were all the rage and ended with a prediction that the ubiquitous computer mouse would soon be replaced by directing your computer with thought commands.
Through all that and especially through his last six years as IT Director, Dick was the consummate professional and one heck of a decent guy. If there is anyone out there who does not like Dick Grasmick, well, I don't want to know them.
Dick was actually my first managerial hire. During the transition in April of 2003 outgoing Mayor Sue Baumann graciously allowed me to make the final decision on the new IT director. She strongly recommended Dick, I took her advice, and I was never disappointed. Because of his strong management skills, I even asked Dick to fill in as interim Parks Superintendent for several months because I knew he would be a steady hand on the tiller there just as he was at IT.
Dick has presided over one of the best IT departments anywhere. Just one example: our website gets a half million hits a day and routinely is recognized as one of the best in the country.
Interestingly, Dick combined a love of high technology with a love of primitive camping. He will soon be off on his annual canoeing trip to the deep wilds of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. (He promises to leave breadcrumbs for Dean Brasser who will follow some weeks later. Dean will also follow Dick as interim IT director until we can find a permanent replacement.) He's still a young guy with more to contribute, but he's earned some time to reflect on a career well spent.
We'll miss him, but probably his greatest contribution was to leave us with a staff so excellent that I have no doubt that the department will continue to be the best in the nation.