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John TolvaPresident

PositivEnergy Practice

John is the president of PositivEnergy Practice, an urban systems engineering firm based on data-driven decision-making for sustainable new building design, retrofits, and urban master planning.

His career has focused on developing and applying technology to improve the urban environment. From 2011 to 2013 he was Chief Technology Officer for the City of Chicago, leveraging technology to streamline public services through more efficient data-sharing, digital communications, and next-generation infrastructure. He led the development of ‘The City of Chicago Technology Plan’, an initiative that sets forth a series of public-private strategies to accelerate economic growth, build educated and digitally-engaged communities and workforce, improve government services, and reduce costs through technology.

In 2012, the White House recognized John as a ‘Champion of Change’ as part of a group of creative individuals engaged in building stronger communities through innovative approaches to problem-solving.

Prior to joining the City, he was Director of Citizenship and Technology at IBM Corp, where he worked on the firm’s ‘smarter cities’ initiative, advising cities how to incorporate data analytics into planning and operations. John led the City Forward project, the first global aggregator and visualizer of urban data sets. In 2006 he was honored as one of ’40 Under 40’ in the business community by Crain’s Chicago Business.