Introductions Thread


Say hi to everyone in this thread!

Hi! I’m Tom, the Developer Evangelist on the Network Team.

I got involved with Code for America about five years ago when I first attended OpenOakland. At the time, I didn’t know anything about the Brigade network – even though I lived in San Francisco I commuted to OpenOakland and kept working on for years.

Eventually, I applied to be a CfA fellow last year and worked with Multnomah County (Portland, OR) to develop You might have seen it on the Summit main stage this year if you didn’t blink (it was featured for about 30 seconds.)

And now I’m here. My role at CfA is to help brigades get connected with the technical support they need to create successful projects.


Hey everyone! I’m Chris Alfano, a former captain and founder of Code for Philly, and current at-large member of the NAC

I got my start in civic hacking getting to work on open source software inside a very innovative public high school in Philadelphia called the Science Leadership Academy that reimagines school for the 21st-century. I was working there when the first class of fellows came to town. I became super jealous of the work they got to do, but was too attached to Philly to go to SF for 6 months myself. Around the same time, I helped found a small development team called Jarvus Innovations, and we were fortunately able to host and sponsor some hackathons in our office. In between those two worlds, Slate was born, which has been my biggest focus since.

Straddling the tech startup and public service scenes I was impressed by how much unconnected energy existed between the two, and heartbroken that Code for America wouldn’t be in our town any more to make connections after the 2nd class of fellows. I started circulating a proposal for a “civic hacking militia”. Needless to say, that name didn’t stick… but I caught wind of Code for America’s upcoming brigade program and made the tough call to sideline my stubborn Philly pride and bet on being part of national movement. I haven’t looked back since!


I’m Cyrus Sethna, co-founder and a former captain of Open Uptown, Chicago’s Code for America brigade. I currently work for the U.S. Digital Service in Washington, D.C. by way of the General Services Administration and Peace Corps mission to Guatemala.

My interest in civic tech dates back to my days in middle school-- curious about technology as a hobby, I wasn’t able to understand why our school’s IT professionals relied on tools and practices I felt were outdated, unreliable, or both. @tdooner and I spearheaded an initiative to start the first-ever computer club and vulnerability disclosure program. When I went to college, I had to pick a major-- and as I began my career in public service: staffing campaigns and working for a State Senator in Ohio, the tech was always bad-- but this was the price to pay for doing work with deep impact.

It wasn’t until an 18F friend lured me to Chi Hack Night, with the promise of empanadas, that I realized our movement is real-- I found a community of bonafide technologists with a service mindset, delivery-driven, impact junkies.

It was an honor to have participated in the first Brigade Congress last October in Philly and to have attended by first Code for America Summit. I’m constantly inspired and humbled by our network of amazing, passionate, and hardworking civic technologists. I look forward to continuing to build momentum and the next opportunity we have to connect on our projects!


Hi everyone! I’m Ryan Koch, Co-Founder and Co-Captain at Open Uptown and Host of the civic tech focused podcast Civic Tech Chat. My involvement with civic tech through politics at first. When I lived in Ohio I was pretty involved with local politics as a campaign manager, volunteer, and county party committee member at various times. The path though eventually lead me to run for office with a focus on K-12 Computer Science education. I lost, but managed to lobby my opponent for a bill which subsequently became a law with some much needed reforms. After that experience, I wound up in Chicago and I learned about CfA from @tdooner and @csethna which led to my engagements with the brigade and podcast. I also had the pleasure over the past year of attending a Brigade Congress and Summit, both teaching me quite a bit.

Now I work to organize this neighborhood group and I am always on the lookout for people, projects, and topics to highlight within our movement on the podcast. So if you want to be on the program or know about some folk(s) that should, let me know!


How did I miss this thread?! :stuck_out_tongue:

Hi all, I’m Nina Kin! I’m currently a co-captain of Hack for LA and an at-large member of the NAC. I got involved with Hack for LA in mid-2015 when I volunteered for their National Day hackathon and I’ve been with the leadership team since late-2015. I’ve also been a Systems Analyst at the County of Los Angeles Auditor-Controller for 11 years.

I started going to HFLA when the County launched their Open Data portal. I started going to events, learning about open data/civic tech, and it’s been non-stop ever since! I love the people, the community, and the atmosphere. It’s a welcome change from (1) entrepreneur networking events where mentioning that I work in government only brought on awkward responses and (2) dealing with jaded government employees who don’t care about collaboration.

The last 3 years have been an awesome roller coaster of learning not just about civic tech, but how to manage projects, manage people, how to communicate, and how to push myself out of my comfort zone! I look forward to seeing everyone again at Brigade Congress!