Public- and private-sector IT professionals attended the annual GTC West Conference on Wednesday, August 21, in Sacramento, Calif., to celebrate government leaders who’ve completed notable technology projects, and the achievers had advice for other government workers.

Government Technology and the Center for Digital Government presented the Best of California awards to honor more than a dozen programs and applications in the public sector. Recipients spanned various California regions in city, county and state government.

Recipients who spoke to Government Technology following the afternoon reception credited teamwork as the reason for their respective wins.

Cathy Cleek, CIO and division chief for California’s Franchise Tax Board, accepted the award for Best IT Collaboration Among Organizations on behalf of California’s tax agencies: the Franchise Tax Board, the Board of Equalization and the Employment Development Department. They won for their collaborative effort, the Financial Institution Record Match Project, otherwise known as FIRM. The project allows the government to collect delinquent tax dollars more efficiently.

Cleek feels that stakeholders should spend less time talking and more time listening for the sake of group projects like FIRM.

“I really think that listening skills are so critical in collaboration,” she said. “I think there’s a reason why we have two ears and one mouth and we need to do more listening and less talking, oftentimes, so that would be my advice to people is to make sure, when you come together, to really listen.”

Eddie Appell, senior IT analyst in the Technical Services Division of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, also stressed the importance of teamwork. His department won the award for Best In-House Developed Application for the Web-based Known Person Finder (WebKPF) application, which allows police officers to search online for information about possible offenders. Sacramento’s law enforcement community wouldn’t have completed it without compromise, Appell explained.

“It’s easy to get bogged down in minor details, so it’s important to prioritize and … to be willing to give up a little bit so that you can come to some consensus and move forward and be open to new ideas and not be stuck,” Appell said. “I think that’s what bogs teams down a lot is just being stuck demanding one way to do it when there are multiple ways to do it.”

Hilton Collins, Staff Writer
Hilton Collins  |  GT Staff Writer

By day, Hilton Collins is a staff writer for Government Technology and Emergency Management magazines who covers sustainability, cybersecurity and disaster management issues. By night, he’s a sci-fi/fantasy fanatic, and if he had to choose between comic books, movies, TV shows and novels, he’d have a brain aneurysm. He can be reached at hcollins@govtech.com and on @hiltoncollins on Twitter.