Business Monday

20 Under 40: Ernie Hsiung

ERNIE HSIUNG, 37: “I want to bridge the gap between technology and being a better Miamian. The idea is to teach people about technology with the hope that they will use it to be more civically engaged citizens and build great things.”
ERNIE HSIUNG, 37: “I want to bridge the gap between technology and being a better Miamian. The idea is to teach people about technology with the hope that they will use it to be more civically engaged citizens and build great things.” MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Software developer facilitates civic engagement through technology.

Age: 37

Occupation: Software developer for Rackspace, founder of Code for Miami

Family status: Partnered

Lives in: Miami

Ernie Hsiung is on a mission to build Miami’s tech community by creating networking opportunities for software developers and programmers. Hsiung admits that when he first moved to the area from San Francisco, he experienced culture shock. Miami was a less mature tech community than he had come from, but he felt the city had potential.

To help raise the tech community profile, he started Code for Miami, “a civic hacking brigade” of volunteer developers, community leaders and concerned citizens that meets Monday nights at the LAB Miami in Wynwood. Code for Miami has been working with the governments of Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami and surrounding municipalities to help improve the way local governments and community organizations use the web.

Just this month, Hsiung learned that he landed a Code for America fellowship, a 10-month opportunity to work intensely with a municipality to see how technology can address its needs. Fellows work in one of seven municipalities; Miami-Dade County is on the list. Hsiung will learn later this month where he’ll be assigned. For the following 10 months, he will commute between San Francisco and his assigned city. Post-fellowship, he plans to return to Miami to continue helping South Florida build a better community through technology.

From Hsiung: “I want to bridge the gap between technology and being a better Miamian. The idea is to teach people about technology with the hope that they will use it to be more civically engaged citizens and build great things.”

About Hsiung: “Not only is Ernie a leader in the technology space in Miami, but he is translating that scene into community service in a way that is special. He’s empowered all of us to be leaders in how we interact with government to make our cities run better. He also puts emphasis on inclusivity. He is great at making all kinds of people feel welcome and empowered … that’s real leadership.” — Rebekah Monson, co-captain of Code for Miami brigade

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