Brigade Spotlight: AMA with Noel and Hannah

In December 2012, the Brigade added two new members to staff: Noel Hidalgo and Hannah Young. Noel joins us as the Program Manager for New York City and Hannah as the Program Coordinator across the entire Brigade program. As we kick off 2013, we wanted to introduce Noel and Hannah by the way of a mini-AMA.


Why Code for America?

At this time, there is no other organization that is bringing together the top thought leaders in civic technology and building a better tomorrow. For the past few years, building a leaner and more agile government structure is what I have done for New York. I have a much more detailed answer to this question in “Why I am coding for America.

What’s your #1 goal this year?

To build a sustainable civic technology community where there are clear lines of communication and mutual aid. Eventually, demonstrate that my position as the City’s civic hacker coordinator should be a position within City government.

What’s the most interesting thing happening in civic technology in NYC right now?

New York is in the middle of an open government / open data / technology renaissance. At every stage in government, and with the community’s help, technology is becoming THE transformative agent to create greater efficiency, participation, and transparency. New York’s Open Data Law, Local Law 11 of 2012, is the middle of implementation. Not only did it set a new standard in municipal open data laws, but has built a set of transformative gears that will make New York the most open city in America. BigApps, our municipal apps competition, is the longest running apps competition in America and will launch this year as a community problem solving campaign. Our City’s technology community is stronger and recognizing what it needs to do to ensure a healthy economic ecosystem. All in all, there is not just one interesting thing. There are a suite of complementary actions that are building a 21st Century New York.

Best tip you’ve ever gotten as an organizer?

Be the first one to extend a hand, offer your name, and when you want results, never, never, never give up.

Favorite song or artist you listen to while coding?

Harold Budd, not only do we share a birthday, but his music floats into my brain and makes me focus.


Why Code for America?

My background is in politics, government, and journalism but when I moved to San Francisco, I was pulled into the tech startup scene and got hooked. When I heard about Code for America, this place that combined an urgency of civic duty with the energy and innovation in tech, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I’m also jazzed about the community organizing piece of my position.

What’s your #1 goal this year?

Optimize our campaigns, web infrastructure, and activities based on data from 2012.

Who is your civic hero?

Robert Kennedy, hands down.

Best food to serve at a hackathon?

It’s fun if it goes with the theme of the hackathon. We just had a potluck themed hackathon and had BBQ. I’ll add, such a substantial midday meal like that dramatically increased the amount of coffee needed on hand, as we found out.

What’s a typical day at Code for America HQ?

To avoid the cheesy “there is no typical day” answer, I’ll say that the one thing all days at CfA have in common is an interesting problem to tackle. Also, a lot of really talented and passionate people come through the door frequently. It’s pretty incredible to be around this much energy.

More questions? Reach Noel at [email protected] or Hannah is at [email protected] or [email protected].

Comments? Hit us up @codeforamerica.

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