In just two short years, Gainesville, Florida has eclipsed many similar peer cities to become a national icon of the new American city. First as the epicenter of a citizen-centered movement that is radically altering the way that local government provides services to community members. Now as a living city laboratory that is the embodiment of strategic community partnership initiatives. At the nexus of the two you’ll find Anthony Lyons, Gainesville’s iconoclastic City Manager who is quietly but most assuredly, overturning traditional paradigms of local governance with quixotic, but determined persistence.
Fast Company Magazine, a cutting edge media firm with a focus on innovation and technology says, he “is rethinking the role of local government in community life.” Thanks to new strategic community alliance brokered with the state’s preeminent and world-class educational institution, the University of Florida (UF), Anthony is imaging new linkages between points of need and professional expertise within the city of Gainesville. An historic agreement between Gainesville, Florida and UF is serving as a catalyst for everything from autonomous bus transportation to re-imagining ways to use existing data and infrastructure to improve broadband access for city residents. Anthony is working to develop a citizen centered problem- solving community culture that keeps asking, why until underlying causal factors are teased out and solved.
He is on a mission to make the City of Gainesville the most citizen- centered city in the world. In a recent article entitled A Three-Step Guide to Better UX in Government published by Data- Smart City Solutions - An initiative by the Ash Center at Harvard Kennedy School and Bloomberg Philanthropies, Gainesville’s efforts to improve user experiences are highlighted. Whether creating game-changing breakthroughs that exponentially improve the citizen experience or innovating to better government responsiveness to the needs, aspirations and desires of the people that it serves, Anthony isn’t just jousting with windmills, he’s successfully changing the citizen/government landscape with every challenge he encounters.
Anthony was appointed Gainesville City Manager by the City Commission in April 2016. He is responsible for a team of more than 1500 city employees. He has also served as Gainesville’s Interim City Manager, Interim Planning and Service Director as well as two tenures as the City’s Community Redevelopment Director. He has received nearly 50 awards from international, national, state, and local organizations in recognition of his community building achievements. His penchant for design aesthetics is informed by a Bachelor Arts degree in Art History from Indiana University Bloomington. He is a husband of 23 years and a father of a twelve-year old.