Russell Nichols

Back Writer

Russell Nichols is a freelance writer who focuses on technology, culture and mental health. His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Governing Magazine and Government Technology

By this person

Startup of the Month: HealthSherpa

Guiding customers to health insurance coverage

When HealthCare.gov — the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchange website — went live in 2013, it was slow, buggy and hard to navigate — a digital mess. Two weeks later, three programmers in the Bay Area launched HealthSherpa.com, an alternative website to help online shoppers understand their options under the ACA and see plans and prices quickly.

Apr 3, 2019 Russell Nichols

Startup of the Month: Pheronym

In the mood for pest control

Nematodes pose a conundrum to farmers. The worm-like microscopic creatures are everywhere. Some are parasitic, infecting plants and destroying crops — but others actually  attack insect pests. The ability to target the “bad” while leaving the “good” unharmed would be a boon for agricultural production.

Mar 13, 2019 Russell Nichols

Seal or No Seal

Clean carpets, proper ventilation and special filters may help keep allergens out of the workplace. Another strategy entails sealing cracks in a building to make sure unwanted particles can’t sneak in.

Apr 24, 2018 Russell Nichols

Passing Up a Good Thing?

Mike Malinowski, president of the Streamline Institute, had a plan.

With 26 industry professionals, he set out to create a program that streamlines permitting for construction in the Sacramento region. The idea was that with clear standards for building document content and organization plus a checklist used by all participating jurisdictions, plan examiners, building officials and design professionals could be on the same page.

Mar 7, 2018 Russell Nichols

Meeting of Minds

In 2014, the City of Sacramento’s construction valuation (which tracks the dollar amount of issued permits) was $390 million, but by June 2018, that valuation will be about $1.5 billion (adjusted for inflation), according to Ryan DeVore, Sacramento’s community development director.

Feb 20, 2018 Russell Nichols