State and local IT employees from across Texas gathered together Monday, June 13, to accept their trophies at the Center for Digital Government’s (CDG) Best of Texas Awards ceremony at Government Technology Conference Southwest in Austin, Texas.

The ceremony spotlighted the best of of government IT, including re-procurements, in-house developed applications, green IT, applications addressing internal needs, citizen-facing Web-applications, and several other focuses.

Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) Executive Director Karen Robinson kicked off the honors by presenting two IT Leadership awards followed by 11 Project Excellence Awards. After those accolades, 33 individuals from state and local agencies lined up on stage to collect Outstanding IT Service and Support Awards.

Janet Gilmore, the DIR’s assistant director of e-government services, had the unique honor of collecting awards in both the Leadership and Project Excellence categories. Gilmore’s leadership award recognized her “demonstrated excellence in project management.” Gilmore handled the DIR’s re-procurement efforts on Texas.gov. In 2009, the DIR signed a contract that switched the state’s portal vendor from BearingPoint to NIC USA Inc. The re-procurement was an arduous, multiyear process that generated a new vision for the state’s portal. She said the transition to NIC went smoothly, largely due to the stressful period of time she spent on the re-procurement.

The job required the vendor to align with the state’s security requirements and deploy several new online services. For example, the revamped Texas.gov will serve as a content management system for numerous state and local agencies in Texas. Smaller agencies will get the services for free, while larger ones will pay a modest fee, reported Gilmore.

In awarding Texas.gov for project excellence, the CDG pointed to the site’s Web 2.0 technologies. For example, the portal uses a crowdsourcing tool called Get Satisfaction that enables users to submit questions and ideas about Texas and rank the questions and ideas submitted by others.

“It’s about interactivity rather than just presenting information to the end-user and having it go one way,” Gilmore said.

The CDG also commended Texas.gov’s “action-based information architecture.” Essentially that architecture is a set of techniques aimed at getting users to the most popular information as quickly as possible. For example, the search bar is placed at the top of the site and is designed to retrieve the most popular data relevant to a user’s search. The site also displays statistics about what transactions are happening on Texas.gov at any given time.

“For example, you could see that more than 5,000 people renewed their driver’s license last week. You’re able to give some meaningful information to people so they can actually see what it’s possible to do through the website,” Gilmore said.

Below is a full list of winners.

LEADERSHIP AWARDS

Demonstrated Leadership in Management of Information Technology    

Vijay George, Chief Information Officer, Lower Colorado River Authority

Demonstrated Excellence in Project Management

Janet Gilmore, Assistant Director of eGovernment Services

Texas Department of Information Resources

PROJECT EXCELLENCE AWARDS

Best Application Serving the Public

Texas.gov | Official Website of Texas, Texas Department of Information Resources

Best Application Serving the Public

My Bexar Community Dashboard, Bexar County Information Technology

The Green IT Award   

Commitment to Sustainability Project, Bexar County

Best Application Serving an Agency’s Business Needs

Fire Service Information at Your Fingertips, Austin Fire Department

Best Application Serving an Agency’s Business Needs

myUTPA - Social Networking and Collaboration Portal

The University of Texas-Pan American

Best Application Serving an Agency’s Business Needs

Foundation School Program System, Texas Education Agency

Best IT Collaboration Among Organizations

Common Integrated Justice System (CIJS), Collin County

Best IT Collaboration Among Organizations

Joint Emergency Operations Center (JEOC), Fort Worth

Best In-House Developed Application

Off-Duty Scheduling System, Arlington Police Department

Best Wireless Project

Mobile Criminal History, Harris County District Attorney’s Office

Most Innovative Use of Technology

Anonymous Wireless Address Matching for Travel Speeds, Houston TranStar

OUTSTANDING IT SERVICE AND SUPPORT AWARDS

Rick Johnson, Help Desk Manager, Austin Independent School District

Stephanie Moorer, System Support Network Supervisor, Austin

Regina Pickard, Webmaster, Bexar County

Jamie Bindock, Project Manager, Department of Aging and Disability Services

Swati Dokka, Project Manager, Department of Aging and Disability Services

Heather Hall, Director of Applications Management/PMO, Department of Aging and Disability Services

Monty Hall, Senior IT Manager, Fort Worth

Wayne Egeler, Assistant Director, Communications Technology Services (CTS), Department of Information Resources

John Hoffman, Assistant Director, CTS, Department of Information Resources

Todd Kimbriel, Director, e-Government and IT Policy, Department of Information Resources

Linda Markey, Project Manager, CTS, Department of Information Resources

Carl Marsh, Director, CTS, Department of Information Resources

Vivian Brandt, Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Web Master

Kathi Deaton, IT Operations Branch Manager for Austin Metro, DSHS

Rikk Escamilla, DCS Contract Manager, DSHS

Laura Kouns, Requirements Analyst, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Kathy Arellano, Director Information Technology Operations, Health and Human Services Commission

Laura Wolbrueck, Director, Enterprise ITMS, Health and Human Services Commission

Jeri Cloud, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Project Management Office and Medicaid/CHIP Division IT Support Director, Health and Human Services Commission

Ron Weiss, Director, Health and Human Services Commission

Victoria Black, IT Change Management Specialist, Lower Colorado River Authority

John Templeton, IT Manager, Office of the Attorney General

Verna Ramsey, Mainframe Programmer, Office of the Attorney General

Barbara Rodriguez, Internal Change Control Board Manager, Texas Education Agency

Sandra Tate, Business Operations Manager, Texas Education Agency

Nick McFarlane, Network Administrator, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission

Trini Botello, Information Security Officer/Data Center Services Customer Representative, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Derek Marshall, Telecommunication Manager, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Woody Gill, Project Coordinator, Texas Workforce Commission

Lisa Richardson, Deputy IT Director, Texas Workforce Commission

Cynthia Park, Project Manager, Texas Youth Commission

Diana Sawyers, Manager of the Project Management Office, Texas Youth Commission

Clynisse Smith, Financial Analyst, Texas Youth Commission

Andy Opsahl  |  Features Editor