Santiago Garces North America 2023

As a kid growing up in Bogotá, Colombia, Santiago “Santi” Garces witnessed the near collapse of the national government and the general disillusionment of national politics, along with creative and unconventional approach to solve issues at the local level. Those experiences developed a lifelong passion for making government more efficient and effective for citizens. Santi joined the City of Boston as Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) to help push forward Mayor Wu’s vision of building a government that earns the trust of its people.

As CIO, Santi oversees the Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) and a team of nearly 150 employees. DoIT provides and maintains mission-critical technologies for the City’s more than 18,000 employees and hundreds of thousands of constituents.

Before becoming CIO of Boston, Garces was the Executive Director of the Department of Community Investment in South Bend, Indiana, and formerly served as CIO of South Bend and of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

In South Bend, Santi oversaw planning, zoning, housing, and sustainability, leading a generational transformation in housing investments in the city. He also spearheaded the largest neighborhood planning effort in South Bend’s history, as well as $1 billion in economic development projects. As CIO of South Bend, Santi won national recognition, including the Bloomberg’s Mayor’s Challenge for the Commuter’s Trust, for creating an innovative platform that allowed companies, the government, and individuals to provide transportation and secure workers with reliable options to get to work. He also helped create CLICK centers, which were a partnership between libraries, the City, and other nonprofits to provide access to computers and training within a 15-minute walk of low-income residents.

Before working in civic tech, Santi helped found enFocus, a nonprofit dedicated to providing innovative solutions for government and industry. He is a graduate of Notre Dame with degrees in Electrical Engineering, Political Science, and a master’s degree in Technology Entrepreneurship.