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Best of Texas Awards 2018 - Winners Announced

In its 17th year, the Best of Texas Awards program recognizes public-sector professionals and government organizations for their dedication and contributions through information technology to public service in Texas.

2018 Best of Texas Awards Recognize Innovative Texas Public-Sector Agencies

May 31, 2018 -- The Texas State Guard J6, Texas A&M’s Division of IT and the City of El Paso were among the agencies honored at the 2018 Best of Texas Awards presented by the Center for Digital Government at the annual Texas Digital Government Summit this week in Austin.

"Governmental and educational leaders in Texas are leveraging technology to improve cybersecurity, enhance citizen service and advance emergency response, among many other things,” said Teri Takai, executive director of the Center for Digital Government.  “Congratulations to this year's Best of Texas Award winners for the vital role they are playing in advancing information technology in Texas."

Highlights from the 2018 Best of Texas winners include:

  • Texas A&M's Division of IT was honored for their creation of a web game in which players tracked a hacker known as “Bad Bull” across campus by answering cybersecurity questions and riddles about Texas A&M traditions. Players enabled location services on their devices and followed clues. The game cleverly used geolocation for an interactive experience, while explaining the dangers of enabling location services and the importance of cybersecurity.
  • The City of El Paso was honored for implementing “Ask Laura”, a customer service chatbot avatar with both audible and text messaging on screen and the ability to continue service from the side of the screen. The voice and look are customizable, and the software provides analytics and reporting. Used on four departmental websites so far, ‘Ask Laura” is meeting the city’s efforts to deliver an outstanding customer service experience to citizens.
  • The Texas State Guard J6 was recognized for its Readiness Management System (RMS), which works with their mobile app to alert command about force readiness and precise location. The system was used during Hurricane Harvey. Built and maintained by a volunteer Texas State Guard force, RMS has already saved Texas taxpayers over $4
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.

2018 Award Recipients:

Demonstrated Excellence in Project Management
Jeff Kersey, Sr. IT Tech Analyst
City of Fort Worth

Best Application Serving the Public

  • Ask Laura -  Virtual Information Officer, City of El Paso
  • Texas Reality Check, Texas Workforce Commission
Best Application Serving an Agency's Business Needs

  • Hurricane Harvey: Mobile Apps for Response & Recovery, Harris County
  • Texas State Guard J6 - Readiness Management System, Texas Military Department 
Best Business Analysis/Data Analytics Project

  • Texas Labor Analysis, Texas Workforce Commission
Best IT Collaboration Among Organizations

  • eLICENSING System, Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Texas Career Check, Texas Workforce Commission
Best Mobile/Wireless Project

  • Mobile Electronic Traffic Citation System, Bell County
  • Keep Tradition Secure, Texas A&M Division of IT
Most Innovative Use of Social Media/ Citizen Engagement

  • Inland Fisheries Texas ShareLunker Mobile App, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
For the story on the winners, please Click Here.

During the reception, the 11 Outstanding IT Service and Support Awards (listed below) were 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:

  • Cynthia Bluntzer, Operations Manager, Texas Department of Insurance
  • Jessica Moore Bonner, Business Analyst, Texas General Land Office
  • Philip Campman, IT Manager Watershed Protection, City of Austin
  • Hung Kang, Programmer V, Team Lead, Texas Education Agency
  • Senthil Karunanidhi, Programmer VI, Texas Lottery Commission
  • Chris Koster, Systems Engineer Sr., Travis County
  • Gloria Posada, IT Business Analyst III, IT Department, City of Corpus Christi
  • Steven Pyle, Assistant Director of Operations, Texas Department of Information Resources
  • Tracy Rhinehart, Supervisor, Applications Administration, Lower Colorado River Authority
  • Greg Robinson, Manager of Server Operations, Texas Workforce Commission
  • Rick Williams, Team Lead Client Administration and Support, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

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