SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The top IT projects and technologists in California state and local government were honored this week during GTC West 2012.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Digital Government and Government Technology, the annual conference and Best of California awards presentation brings together hundreds of IT workers from across California.

The director of the California Department of Motor Vehicles and three other IT professionals were honored Wednesday, May 30, by the state for their public service.

DMV Director George Valverde was given the inaugural 2012 Vision and Innovation Award during a ceremony wrapping up the final day of the conference. Valverde has served the state for more than 30 years. Valverde is credited with leading an overhaul of the DMV's customer appointment system, as well as a range of mobile technologies and self-serve kiosks.

Two more officials were inducted into the new California Information Technology Hall of Fame: Dave Lema and Russ Bohart.

Two other public servants headlined the people and projects that were recognized on Tuesday, May 29.

Harold Tuck, the retiring CIO of San Diego County, received the award for Developed Leadership in Management of Information Technology. Tuck manages the county’s IT functions, all of which have been outsourced to the private sector. He developed a strategic IT plan that prioritized customers, staff effectiveness, connectivity and information transparency and access.

“The county of San Diego’s motto is the noblest motive is public good, and we do that every day,” Tuck said of his team’s work.

Karen Ruiz, California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) Pension System Resumption project director, received a Leadership Award for Demonstrated Excellence in Project Management. Ruiz said the system, which will replace 49 legacy systems and 60 support systems with a single system to manage pension and health benefits for public employees, succeeded after “gutting” the entire CalPERS IT infrastructure in pension and health.

“This was really a massive undertaking for six years, and to have finished it is just a phenomenal effort in and of itself, and to have finished it successfully is even better,” Ruiz said.

Awards ceremony emcee Todd Sander, executive director of the Center for Digital Government, said government is often targeted for failed IT projects, and he highlighted the importance of recognizing success in government IT.

“We wanted to make sure that the very best things that do happen in government -- the very best work, the practices, the procedures, the examples of innovative technology -- are identified and shared as well as exceptional leadership,” Sander said.

California Technology Agency Secretary and state CIO Carlos Ramos, who handed out awards and offered comments during the ceremony, introduced the individuals receiving awards for Outstanding IT Service and Support. Ramos said the award offers government the chance to recognize IT leaders in their successful work.

“The purpose of [the award] is to honor those that are out in the trenches that actually make it happen,” Ramos said. “These are the folks that are the face of IT, that support their customers, support the different state agencies and, in many cases, the public.”

Another round of awards is coming Wednesday, as the state will name IT hall-of-fame inductees.

Below is a list of the winners of Tuesday's awards:

IT Leadership Awards

Developed Leadership in Management of Information Technology

Harold Tuck, Chief Information Officer, County of San Diego

Tuck developed a strategic IT plan, prioritizing customers, workforce effectiveness, connectivity and information transparency and access.

Demonstrated Excellence in Project Management

Karen Ruiz, Pension System Resumption Project Director, CalPERS

Ruiz Directs Pension System Resumption project, a new system that will replace more than 49 legacy systems and create a single system for managing pension and health benefits for public employees.

Project Excellence Awards

Best Application Serving an Agency’s Business Needs

Accessibility Assessment Solution, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

The Accessibility Assessment Solution improves access in high security locations for inmates with physical and developmental disabilities by combining Android mobile tablet capability with SharePoint technology to allow mobile property assessment, eliminate manual, paper processes and eliminate lengthy back-office processing.

Best Application Serving an Agency’s Business Needs

Integrated Justice Information System (IJIS), San Joaquin County Information Systems Division

IJIS, a system linking more than 6,000 users with 18 agencies and other law enforcement in San Joaquin County, integrates state and federal systems, allows mobile interaction between police vehicles and call centers and has improved efficiency and probation record access while reducing paper use and saving more than $500,000 in payments and fees.

Best Application Serving the Public

MyFTB Account for Businesses, California Franchise Tax Board

MyFTB provides an online system for California business taxpayers and tax representatives to access account information and self-service tools, reducing calls to the Franchise Tax Board by 77 percent and allowing callers with more complex tax problems access to services that result in more accurate tax returns.

Best Application Serving the Public

Redlands311, City of Redlands

Redlands 311, a smartphone application for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows, allows residents to submit to city staff in under one minute pictures, videos, audio and comments or complaints that are spatially identified through the phone’s GPS.

Best IT Collaboration Among Organizations

Routing on Empirical Data (RED) Project, California Technology Agency

The RED Project, a collaboration among more than 500 state, local and private stakeholders, created a Web-based system that used the location of a wireless caller and the cell tower to determine jurisdiction for the emergency, improving caller access from 57.6 percent to more than 98 percent and saving $21.4 million.

Best In-House Developed Application

Online Water Ordering System (OWOS), San Diego County Water Authority

The OWOS online application, developed in-house with no-cost, open source database and development software that saved $69,000 in development costs, allows 24 agencies to make three daily orders for treated and untreated water at 98 facilities within San Diego County.

Best Mobile/Wireless Project

Mobile Device Management (MDM), California Department of Health Care Services

Department of Health Care Services employees use the Mobility Device Manager (MDM) to access work information on personal mobile devices, saving an estimated $262,000 on formerly state-issued mobile phones.

Most Innovative Use of Social Media

DMV Social Media, California Department of Motor Vehicles

The California DMV accomplished its social media strategic plan in 2011 and now uses Facebook and Twitter to proactively post information and respond to social media inquiries within two hours, increasing Twitter followers by three times, Facebook “Likes” by four times, and Tweet mentions to an average of 1,066 per month.

The Green IT Award

Cloud Applications for Local Sustainability Programs, City of Thousand Oaks Public Works

Through the city’s Green Business Certification Program and using a cloud database service and a graduate student intern that saved $300,000 in development costs, Thousand Oaks developed a series of sustainability applications allowing 4,000 local businesses improve environmental considerations of their businesses. The city credits the applications with a 25 percent reduction in energy use, a 15 percent reduction in water consumption, a 10 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, and 95 percent reduction in paper use.

The Green IT Award

Data Center Retrofitting and Modernization Project (RaMP), California Technology Agency

The Retrofitting and Modernization Project resulted in energy-efficiency measures, such as systems that turn off unnecessary air conditioners, at the Gold Camp Data Center. The project has saved more than $48,000 and benefited 160 state and 1,800 local government entities that use the facility.

People’s Choice Awards

Best Public-Sector App

Enhanced HealthCare-Associated Infections Recording System, Department of Public Health

Best Private-Sector App

“Where are the jobs?” by SymSoft solutions

Outstanding IT Service and Support Award Winners

Ignacio Estevez, city of Sacramento

Kim Heartley-Humphrey, Office of Systems Integration

Gary Data, Department of Consumer Affairs

Antonio Vispetto, Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Kenny Moore, Department of Public Health

Mathew Decker, Department of Veterans Affairs

Alicia Bugarin, Office of Systems Integration

David Matteoli, CalPERS

Stephen Crandell, CalPERS

Syed Hamid, CalPERS

Bradley Behrens, Deptartment of Insurance

Joe Rackelmann, CalFire

Dan Marksbury, CalFire

Joe White, California Conservation Corps

Helen Chau, Department of Water Resources

Ray Kataoka, Department of Water Resources

Atlas Hill, California Natural Resources Agency

Pam Wales, Franchise Tax Board

Alisa Claypool, Employment Development Department

Mike Baker, Office of Technology Services

Jerry Henson, Department of Health Care Services

Donna DiClementine, State Controller’s Office

Bruce Gauthier, Information and General Services, Nevada County

Tran Ngo, Department of Finance

Derek Chan, Department of Motor Vehicles

Shakir Awan, San Joaquin County

This story was published in conjunction with Techwire.net.

Ashley Nelson  |  Contributing Writer