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Executive Director Appointed to Lead Riverside "Smart Community" Initiative

Executive Director Appointed to Lead Riverside "Smart Community" Initiative

(October 5, 1999)

Steve D. Berry has been appointed executive director of Riverside Community Online, a local partnership developing an Internet-based "smart-community" initiative allowing residents, businesses and organizations to conduct more commerce, research and information-gathering tasks online.

Berry's appointment is effective on Oct. 11. He will lead the effort begun by a partnership of government agencies, educational institutions and business to develop the infrastructure and World Wide Web gateway necessary to foster a more technologically competitive community.

Prior to joining Riverside Community Online (RCOL), Berry held a variety of executive positions with the waste management firm Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI), including municipal contracts and business development manager for Los Angeles and Orange counties and Inland Empire District vice president. In those positions, he assisted BFI in adopting new information technologies, including developing the company's first web sites.

"One of the bold moves we need to take is involving and evolving the community" in adopting and using advanced information technologies, Berry said. He said a great deal of his effort at RCOL will be devoted to bridging the "digital divide" - a documented nationwide trend of lower rates of computer ownership and use by members of underrepresented minority groups and low-income families.

Riverside Community Online was established in 1998 to improve community access to online information and opportunities, increase the technological competitiveness of the region and better prepare the workforce for an increasingly technological society.

"Successful communities of the future will be 'smart communities' - communities that maximize their use of advanced information technologies to improve their economic competitiveness and quality of life," said Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge, chair of the board of directors of Riverside Community Online. "We are fortunate to have Steve lead this effort. His extensive knowledge and expertise in these advanced technologies, as well as his broad community involvement, will be critical in moving this initiative forward."

Riverside Community Online has three principal efforts:

* Further developing the World Wide Web gateway ( providing access to a variety of useful features, including a community calendar of events, local news and weather, educational institutions, government and community organizations, health care, and business, real estate and employment opportunities.

* Identifying and nurturing opportunities to update the community's information technology infrastructure with higher-speed Internet connections, including Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) services, fiber optics, coaxial cable and wireless Internet access.

* Working with schools to devise strategies for incorporating more technology in the public school curriculum, enabling greater access by students and teachers to the vast information resources on the Internet and allowing students and parents more convenient electronic access to teachers and administrators. Berry himself has established two e-commerce businesses locally -, a "virtual" trash collection company that brokers collection contracts for businesses, and, a brand new online retailer. Berry, who was with BFI for more than 12 years, earned his bachelor's degree in business administration at California State University, Sacramento. He is past president of the Hunter Park division of the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce and just completed a term on the Riverside Arts Foundation Board of Directors.

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