Innovation

San Antonio Innovation

Innovation

The Team

The Office of Innovation team is made up of experienced professionals with diverse backgrounds and training in process improvement and/or project management methodologies.

Brian Dillard photo

Brian Dillard • Chief Innovation Officer

Brian Dillard is a third-generation Eastside San Antonio native. Born and raised in the former Wheatley Courts area, Brian attended Wheatley Middle School and graduated from Sam Houston High School in 2001. Mr. Dillard holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force where he served ten years Active Duty. Brian currently works in the City of San Antonio Office of Innovation as the Chief Innovation Officer.

Brian is the former President of the Dignowity Hill Neighborhood Association and has served as a Board Member for VIA, the Ella Austin Community Center, and the San Antonio Centro Partnership. Brian is an alumnus of Leadership San Antonio (LSA43), Leadership SAISD, and San Antonio New Leaders Council.


Smart City Team

Emily Royall Photo

Emily RoyallSmart City Coordinator

Hello, World! I’m here to work with my team to build an inclusive future for San Antonio. I believe every citizen regardless of background should be able to use technology to participate to the fullest extent in society, if they so choose. As Smart City Coordinator my job is to coordinate projects that use technology to deliver public services while keeping an eye on transparency, security, equity and accessibility for everyone. I studied Neuroscience and Plan II at the University of Texas at Austin, and have a Masters in Urban Planning from MIT. In my spare time I work in my art studio, Ouvert at Bluestar! I love to listen and learn from others so please don’t hesitate to connect with me over Twitter or LinkedIn.

Candelaria Mendoza

Candelaria Mendoza • Smart City Coordinator

Candelaria Mendoza’s passion for enhancing the quality of life for her community has led to a successful career in public service. As the youngest daughter of a migrant farmworker family, she understands first-hand the many challenges that community members encounter on a daily basis as well as the important role public servants can play. Her position in Smart Cities marries her passion with her perspective as she gets the amazing opportunity to focus on creatively solving community challenges by collaborating with many organizations to create a connected, inclusive and resilient San Antonio.

Candelaria is from eastern Washington State, but considers San Antonio her second home. She received her bachelor’s at Washington State University (Go Cougs!) and her Masters of Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. She has led many successful initiatives throughout her career that include: information and technology strategy, budget development, capital projects, early literacy, strategic planning, digital inclusion, and community engagement. She enjoys being a lifelong learner, eating, and traveling, but most importantly spending time with her two sons: Julian and Alejandro, three fur babies: Poncho, Bebe, and Roxy as well as her partner in life Joe Colunga.

Thomas C. Guerra

Thomas C. Guerra • Smart City Specialist

Thomas C. Guerra is a San Antonio native and a product of public schools in Southwest ISD and San Antonio ISD. Growing up on government assistance programs in underserved communities and experiencing housing instability and family violence inspired him to a life of public service. The core of his drive is aimed at dismantling systems that perpetuate the cycle of poverty while building systems that direct toward equitable life outcomes for all.

Thomas's professional career spans community and economic development, education, and policy advising with LMI, minority, and LBGTQIA+ communities at the national, regional, and local levels. He has a decade of leadership managing organizational strategic planning using an equity lens, integrating new technologies, and building cross-sector partnerships. Thomas currently serves on the Citywide Equity Committee, Alamo Regional Data Alliance, Japanese Tea Garden Committee with the SA Parks Foundation, and Altrusa San Antonio.

Thomas holds a Bachelor of Science in Urban Studies and Planning from MIT and Master of Public Administration in Urban and Social Policy from Columbia University in the City of New York's School of International and Public Affairs.


Research & Development

Kate Kinnison

Kate Kinnison • R&D Administrator

Since joining the Office of Innovation in 2012, Kate has designed and led several transformative initiatives including CivTechSA, SASpeakUp and the City’s restaurant inspection letter-grading system. As the City’s first Research & Development Administrator, Kate will continue to help the City of San Antonio think outside the box and take risks. Prior to the Innovation Office, Kate’s professional life included various roles at the Texas Legislature, New York City politics, corporate law and as a community organizer across the United States. She attended Trinity University (Connecticut) and the LBJ School of Public Affairs. She’s certified in Lean Six Sigma, Dispute Resolution and as a Yoga teacher. Raised in Texas, her family’s deep roots are in upstate New York, but her 7th generation Texan husband, Chance, and their two children, Miles and Stevie, help solidify her Texas status.

My empathic nature drives me to lessen the pain that people feel, so being able to give back and improve services for our City is a great channel for that. I’m interested in user-centered design, experimentation and utilizing applied research to make evidenced-based decisions in government. I love to collaborate and build transformative pathways, so please reach out if you have ideas you believe will improve quality of life for our community.

Rhia Pape

Rhia Pape

Rhia Pape was born and raised in San Antonio and has a great affinity for her city. A desire to serve others has always been the driving force in her personal and professional life. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Education and Organizational Leadership from The University of the Incarnate Word. Before working with the Department of Human Services as a Sr. Management Analyst, Rhia was a Special Education Teacher and Behavior Specialist in San Antonio public schools. These experiences offered a unique perspective when she sat on the Bexar County Child Welfare Board. She is also an active member the Urban Management Association of South Texas.

Rhia’s contributions to the team include her skills in behavioral science and data analysis with a keen focus on equity and inclusivity. While she spends most of her free time with her family, you can also find her enjoying the outdoors or reading a good book.


Process Improvement

Matthew Reat

Matthew Reat • Senior Innovation Specialist

As a native Texan and proud resident of San Antonio, I have a passion to take the experiences, skills, and knowledge I have gained from over 20 years as an executive and consultant and use them to drive transformational change in the way we deliver value for those in our community. My team and I use specialized techniques from the fields of process improvement, user centered design, data science, and project management to define, develop, and grow solutions within the City’s various departments. My credentials include a Bachelor’s of Science in International Economics (BSIE) and a Master’s of Business Administration from Texas Tech University (MBA). I am also certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP), Scrum Master Certified (SMC), and Green Belt in Lean Six Sigma (LSSGB) and Disruptive Lean Six Sigma (DLSSGB).

Eddie Johnson III

Eddie Johnson III • Innovation Specialist

San Antonians! I am excited to work as a part of your Office of Innovation for the City of San Antonio. As a transplant to the city via Minnesota, I have become accustomed to the thriving history, nice weather, and enjoyable cultural San Antonio has to offer. Having come from a different part of the country, I understand that every city has their individual challenges. One of my objectives as part of the Office of Innovation is to further advance San Antonio past that of what my predecessors were able to accomplish.

As a professional, I have IT business analysis and operational change management experience within the public and private sector. Outside of my professional career, I have served on a number of boards to include the Ella Austin Community Center, Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of San Antonio, Inc., and in a number of other capacities as a mentor, community engagement advocate and social change agent. Educationally, I obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2011, and a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Public Administration from Strayer University in 2018.

I look to use my experiences to improve customer service, and increased process and program efficiencies offered by the City of San Antonio. Aside from that, I hope to close gaps, create opportunities and implement valuable change for our community.

THE TEAM

WHAT WE DO

OUR IMPACT

RESOURCES

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