Otto Khera

Director of Rural Initiatives and Grants, Western New Mexico University

Otto Khera is currently Director of Rural Initiatives and Grants for Western New Mexico University in the small and aspiring “smart town” of Silver City, New Mexico. There he organizes entrepreneurial and economic development programs that support the university and surrounding communities. Otto has over 25 years of experience in higher learning and the private sector, with 20 years of online learning leadership and management at the University of Southern California and Arizona State University, and in consulting and instructional design for major education technology firms such as Instructure, Blackboard, and numerous edtech startups. In the early 90s he led the Axon Television project and in 1996 he founded the regional southern New Mexico newspaper Desert Exposure.  

Tuesday, April 16
3:00 pm - 4:15 pm • Smart Developments—Ports, Bases and Campusesagora
Campus-like setting are like cities in terms of infrastructure requirements, services for employees, residents and customers, environmental goals and more. In this Agora, representatives from a variety of jurisdictions will describe the ways in which they are future proofing their facilities to meet the demands of their stakeholders today and tomorrow.
3:00 pm - 4:15 pm • Building Back Stronger: Equitable Resilience Practicesboardroom
Acute weather events and natural disasters disproportionately impact socio-economically disadvantaged communities. In this lab session, learn from city officials who are rebuilding after major natural disasters to create infrastructure parity.
Wednesday, April 17
11:00 am - 12:15 pm • City Readiness Hub: US/Mexico Consortiumcity readiness hub
Our City Readiness Hub sessions offer a unique opportunity to hear from cities who are “in the trenches” on their journey to becoming a smart city. Featured Cities will highlight current challenges and will then receive targeted advice from Mentor Cities—other smart city practitioners who are further along the path to creating more livable, workable, and sustainable cities. Mentors have been carefully selected from those cities already designated as “Readiness Challenge winners and finalists” and paired with Featured Cities who are facing similar issues.