Following a four-month stint as interim director, Paul Sommer is taking on the City of Ottawa’s new information technology role officially.
“I’m looking forward to finding creative ways to use technology that will benefit city employees and people living in the City of Ottawa,” Sommer said.
Sommer has been employed by the city for the past 10 years, when an IT specialist position opened in 2007, according to Herald archives. He took the position after gaining 10 additional years of experience with positions such as an internship with Harley Davidson in Kansas City, Missouri, Hometown Computers on Main Street and a Lenexa business named U.S. Central.
“I am pleased that Paul has accepted this position,” Richard Nienstedt, city manager, said in a news release. “He is a proven leader not only in his field but also within the City of Ottawa organization. I look forward to his leadership inside our organization and in the community of Ottawa.”
According to the release, Sommer is a “2014 graduate of Leadership Franklin County and recently completed a three-year term on the board of trustees.” He was promoted by the city to IT manager several years ago, but serving as interim director helped him prepare for the new role. The interim position taught him more of the budgetary and personnel management side, Sommer told the Herald in an April interview.
He has also been a major player in helping stream live city commission study sessions and commission meetings for the city on Facebook Live, as well as helping establish Ottawa’s Municipal Broadband Network and putting wifi hotspots in City and Forest parks.
In addition, he is a “certified fiber optic specialist in testing and outside plant technician,” the release said. He lives in Ottawa with his wife, Laura, and their two sons, Ben, 13, and James, 9.
Sommer follows in the footsteps of Chuck Bigham, who had been the IT director for the past 12 years, when he announced his retirement in January.