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Best of Texas Awards 2016 - Winners Announced

In its 15th 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.

Innovative Texas Agencies Honored with 2016 Best of Texas Digital Government Awards

June 20, 2016 -- The Texas Workforce Commission, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the City of Austin are among the agencies honored at the 2016 Best of Texas Awards presented at the annual Texas Digital Government Summit in Austin by the Center for Digital Government.

"Texas technology leaders are making significant changes to improve services to citizens," said Todd Sander, executive director of the Center for Digital Government.  “It is important to recognize the people behind the scenes and showcase the ways technology innovations can improve lives and create efficiencies. Congratulations to this year's Best of Texas Award winners!"

Highlights from the 2016 Best of Texas winners include:

  • The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is recognized for their implementation of a new business intelligence tool that uncovers potential Unemployment Insurance (UI) fraud. TWC estimates the new tool has reduced the time required to detect, research, and document suspicious UI activity by 50 percent. Coupled with a new, more comprehensive predictive analysis capability, TWC has prevented fraudulent claim payments of more than $5 million.
  • The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is honored for a new mobile app for, which allows clients to create a self-service account online for benefits applications, status and management. Now 75% of all client documents are self-service - reducing calls, lobby traffic and data entry for staff to focus on timely eligibility decisions.
  • The City of Austin Police Department (APD) is recognized for a new mobile application designed to make it easy and convenient for two-way communication with a member of the public using Twitter and Facebook, in order for the public to anonymously submit a tip with a picture included, and for  APD to send out instant, time-sensitive alerts to a large number of citizens.
The Best of Texas Awards program recognizes public-sector professionals and local government organizations for their dedication and contributions to advancing information technology in Texas. 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.

2016 Award Recipients:

Demonstrated Excellence in Project Management
Jessica Southwick, Senior Project Manager
Tarrant County

Best IT Collaboration Among Organizations

  • eGovernment 2.0 Transformation, Tarrant County
  • Consolidated Call Center Project, Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
Best Application Serving an Agency's Business Needs

  • ViPS - Attorney Voucher Processing System of Harris County
  • Game-Transforming Human Resources: Customers First, Lone Star College
Best Data Analytics/ Business Intelligence Project

  • Improve Fraud Discovery Project, Texas Workforce Commission
Best Application Serving the Public

  • Online Judicial Search Application, Collin County
  • Justice Court Innovation and Technology, Travis County Justice of the Peace, Precinct Two
Best Mobile/Wireless Project

  • Your Texas Benefits Mobile App - Empowering HHSC Clients, Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Most Innovative Use of Social Media/ Citizen Engagement

  • Mobile Application, Austin Police Department
For the story on the winners, please visit

During the reception, the 12 Outstanding IT Service and Support Awards (listed below) are also presented to those dedicated to Texas public service. 

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.

  • Joy Hall Bryant, Program Director, IRM Outreach, Texas Department of Information Resources
  • Kevin Cross, T2 Infrastructure Lead, Office of the Attorney General-Child Support
  • Amanda Grantham, Team Lead of Business Analysis, General Land Office
  • Patricia Gutierrez, PeopleSoft Systems Manager, Texas Workforce Commission
  • Chris Kanute, Systems Analyst V, Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Michael Maddux, IT Systems Manager, Health and Human Services, City of Austin 
  • Rick Means, Network Engineer, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts 
  • Meredith Noel, Lead for Analysis and Design, Texas Department of Agriculture
  • Brian Pohl, IT Support Technician III, Texas Tech University
  • Bryce Templeton, Data Standards Manager, Texas Education Agency
  • Chris Whitlock, Director, Information Technology Enterprise Telecommunication Services, Health and Human Services Commission
  • Kenny Wright, Project Manager, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation


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