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Best of Texas Awards 2015

In its 14th year, the Best of Texas Awards program recognizes public-sector professionals and local government organizations for their dedication and contributions through information technology to public service in Texas.

2015 Best of Texas Award Winners Announced at the Texas Digital Government Summit in Austin

June 24, 2015 -- The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Travis County Criminal and Civil Courts, and the Houston Independent School District are among the winners of the 2015 Best of Texas Awards that will be presented Friday by e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government during the awards reception at the annual Texas Digital Government Summit in Austin.

"Those in the government information technology arena have again demonstrated that major strides continue to be made each year with the application of new technologies,” said Todd Sander, executive director of the Center for Digital Government.  “Reducing online wait time, ensuring IT projects are completed under budget and on time, using social media to return unclaimed property, stemming fraud and saving $80 million in administrative costs by improving business processes are all examples of this year’s innovative uses of information technology to better manage government for citizens. Congratulations to this year's Best of Texas Award winners!"

Highlights from the 2015 Best of Texas winners include:

  • In administering the state’s unclaimed property initiative, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts found that one in four Texans has unclaimed property from forgotten bank accounts, uncashed checks, security deposits and utility refunds. A successful social media campaign, using targeted geographic social outreach, generated claims by Texans totaling more than $5 million.
  • The Travis County Courts Technology Team developed data discovery dashboards, allowing decision makers in the criminal courts and the new office for management of indigent defense to interact directly with accurate, immediately-accessible data. Users can ask questions, perform sophisticated comparisons, and develop   visualizations and summaries.
  • For three years Houston Independent School District worked to create an enterprise database, plus Analytics for Education (A4E) dashboards and reports for principals, teachers and administrators, as well as query tools for the PowerUser Reporting Environment (PWR). These tools make it possible to make a difference for HISD’s diverse student population. For example, “high usage” by principals of the Principal Dashboard has resulted in an average 3.2 percent higher probability of both Hispanic and African American students having improved performance in STAAR grade 5 reading.
Winners are selected based on a number of criteria, including collaboration among agencies, innovative use of technology, economic benefits and improving public services and business processes. During the reception, the 15 Outstanding IT Service and Support Awards (listed below) also will be presented to those dedicated to Texas public service.

2015 Award Recipients:

Demonstrated Excellence in Project Management
Alan Girton, Senior IT Solutions Manager
City of Fort Worth

Best Application Serving the Public

  • National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS), Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
  •, Texas Health & Human Services Commission

Best Application Serving an Agency’s Business Needs

  • TxSmartBuy System Upgrade to Cloud-based eCommerce Technology, Texas Comptroller Of Public Accounts
  • Game Warden Mobile Hunting/ Fishing License Verification, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Best IT Collaboration Among Organizations

  • Fort Worth Regional Radio Communications System, City of Fort Worth
Best In-House Developed Application

  • Medical Examiner Application, El Paso County
  • Parent Center, Judson Independent School District
Best Mobile/Wireless Project

  • Providing for the Mobile-First Student, The University of Texas at San Antonio
Most Innovative Use of Social Media

  • Texas Unclaimed Property Social Media Campaign, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Best Data Analytics/ Business Intelligence Project

  • Analytics for Education (A4E) Dashboards and PowerUser Reporting Environment (PWR), Houston Independent School District
  • Courts Data and Indigent Defense Project, Travis County Criminal and Civil Courts
For the story on the winners, please visit

Outstanding IT Service and Support Award Recipients:

Recognizing the dedicated work of public servants who work day after day - as team members, team leads, IT project leads and managers - upholding the highest standards of public service.

  • Michael Augustine, Programmer VI – Texas Student Data System Lead, Texas Education Agency
  • Tom Benavides, Infrastructure Services Manager, Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Aaron Brown, Senior IT Enterprise Architect, City of Austin/ Communications & Technology Management
  • Tien Brown, Programmer, Texas Parks and Wildlife
  • Morllo Faulkner, Network Analyst, Department of Aging and Disability Services
  • Wynne Hexamer, Lead Developer, Texas Department of Agriculture
  • Jim Kilchenstein, Systems Analyst VI, Texas Department of Public Safety
  • Lori Kreitner, Lead, Park Support Branch, IT Customer Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife
  • Michele McCune, Contract Analyst, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Project Management Office
  • Patrick McSorley, Team Leader, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
  • Paul Morris, Database Administrator, Texas Workforce Commission
  • Teresa Salas, T2 Technical Release Manager, Office of the Attorney General
  • Simon Skedd, Director of Network Services, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
  • Srinivas Thallapureddy, Senior PeopleSoft Developer (Systems Analyst), Employees Retirement System of Texas
  • Grace Windbigler, Director – Technology Sourcing Office, Texas Department of Information Resources


The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute focused on technology policy and best practices in state and local government. The Center provides public- and private-sector leaders with decision support and actionable insight to help drive 21st-century government.

The Center is a division of e.Republic, the nation’s only media and research company focused exclusively on state and local government and education.

For more information, please contact:
Janet Grenslitt, Director of Surveys and Awards