Host Amy Koonin Taylor hands over the reins of the show to Michael Allegretti, Rubicon’s Chief Strategy Officer, as he interviews Shonte Eldridge, Amazon Web Service’s former Executive Government Advisor.

Engaging because of their rapport, inspiring because of their shared experiences and knowledge, and timely because of the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic; this episode is a unique and entertaining look into the future of cities and government!

On Rubicon’s involvement in Amazon Web Service’s “Climate Next” video series:

ELDRIDGE: “The documentary series that we just did highlights Santa Fe and how they leverage Rubicon. This is not just climate […] elevating how governments are functioning is definitely something that we’re involved in. And climate being one of those things, and making sure that constituents are getting the services they need. I think that’s one of the things that was really highlighted during the last two years with the pandemic. Governments realized that they did not have the resources to adequately serve all residents, not just the ones that had the internet, not just the ones who were tech-savvy, but now we’re really changing how we are engaging our constituents. And so, Amazon Web Services definitely plays a role in that, and we are definitely making sure that we are at the forefront to help governments who want to make that leap.”

On the importance of governments thinking differently since the COVID-19 pandemic:

ELDRIDGE: “I think the one thing that governments realize is how much they’re relying on paper and how much they’re relying on manual processes. Because I couldn’t imagine, when I was in government, I had to maybe move people from one building to another, or one floor to another. In March of 2020, the entire government basically went home, which meant all of their files, all their records, especially if they were using their own servers or legacy in-house systems, were left on-premises. And so, how do you provide services for people who need benefits when their paperwork is physically in an office. And governments really realize, we have to do things differently and we also realize that not everybody is available to come into an office five days a week. We have different structures now: families, people taking care of their parents or their kids, they need to be able to work and have a flexible schedule. But getting off those legacy systems, getting off of all the paper, and really making it easier for not just the constituents to get the services, but also the employees to do their jobs from anywhere.”

On her vision for the future of cities:

ELDRIDGE: “​​The next smart city is really about people getting the services quickly in the way that they want to get them. And I think that is, for me, that’s a smart city. And, people are able to not have to be on the phone for three hours just to get a simple question answered. To me, it’s about being convenient, that I think is the way of the future. And again, if nothing else has taught us over the last couple years, people want convenience. They want their groceries delivered to their door in some instances. They want a microwave and a yoga mat delivered to their house in two hours. We’ve all gotten used to being able to have technology at our fingertips. But I think for me, having it available to everyone, regardless of their age, the demographics, where they live, that to me is what I would like to see for the future of cities.”

On one piece of advice she’d give to her younger self:

ELDRIDGE: “Relax, it will all work out.”

Listen to more episodes of the Town Haul Podcast.

Amy Koonin Taylor is Marketing Content and Media Manager at Rubicon. To stay ahead of Rubicon’s announcements of new partnerships and collaborations around the world, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, or contact us today.