manor.govfresh: Big ideas for small-town America

Update: Save the Date: Sept. 20-21, 2010

When GovFresh first started, I got an email from Dustin Haisler, CIO of Manor, TX, who shared with me all the work they were doing there. At that point in time, I was new to ‘Gov 2.0’ and what could be considered ‘government innovation.’ I was skeptical. I never really thought government could innovate itself out of a paper bag. To think a small-town in Texas could do it was completely laughable.

Was this guy for real?

We talked a few days later and now communicate regularly, sometimes daily, about what they’re working on, new ideas and what’s happening in open government as a whole. Dustin has even chronicled some of Manor’s work here on GovFresh. As someone who’s worked in and with several start-up companies, I’m intrigued by Manor’s efficiency and all they’ve done with such a small IT budget.

Today, Manor is a ‘Field of Dreams’ Gov 2.0 story. When it comes to innovation, Manor has built it from the ground up, and governments from near and far have come to learn more. Manor has been featured on the White House Blog, Wall Street Journal and Austin Statesmen, to name just a few.

For a while now, people have asked me when GovFresh would do a Gov 2.0 event. When I mentioned the idea to Dustin, he half-jokingly said, “Do it in Manor.”

I half-heartedly laughed and replied, “Let’s do it.”

So, we’re doing it. We’re just getting started, but wanted to reach out to the community and any of you interested in participating (see form below).

From Dustin:

“Manor wants to help re-define what it means to have a conference. Conferences are traditionally centered around knowledge transfer, and we want to transfer immediate, tangible value to other communities like ours. We want to show other local governments that Manor is not a unique, one-time experiment. Everything we’ve done in the last three years can be replicated cost-effectively and applied within the context of their agency or community.”

Stay tuned.

Yes, send me manor.govfresh updates!

About Luke Fretwell

Luke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh, co-founder/CEO of ProudCity and co-host of the podcast, The Government We Need. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn or email at

6 Responses

  1. I’m going to touch base with the City of Huntsville – one of our clients just a few hundred miles away from Manor – and recommend this conference.

    They are doing a ton of work with their website including an awesome Facebook site and a comprehensive iPhone app that will be launching very soon.

  2. Is Manor.GovFresh a face-to-face conference, virtual, or combo of the two?
    For an event in August, which is weeks away, and money being tight, I’d like to see us exploit the experience I believe many of us have experience in managing synchronous and asynchronous meetings.

  3. Ken: Perhaps they can participate in some manner or someone would like to serve on the planning committee.

    Charles: We’re going to try to achieve both. Now we know someone’s interested virtually, we’ll definitely work to make it happen in some shape/form.

    Either of you can email me at luke@govfresh.

  4. Hi there, just viewed Dustin’s webinar on open government. Loved it. If there is going to be a virtual conference I am definitely interested. I have no travel budget!


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