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This is how it’s done

The Special Districts Awards Program is designed to recognize innovation and leadership within special district agencies across the country. An evaluation committee will review nominations in the three categories below and select award recipients. Nominations are due June 30th and will be presented their awards through a virtual national event. Submissions may be entered by the public or private sector. Please submit your nominations here.

For any questions regarding the awards program or submission process please contact Janet Grenslitt.

Award Categories

Technology Innovation: Citizens

This category recognizes special districts that have utilized technology to improve service delivery to citizens – for example, making physical services available online, deploying new citizen engagement solutions, enhancing user experience, et al.

Technology Innovation: Operations

This category recognizes special districts that have utilized technology to improve internal operations with employees – for example, deploying new work from home initiatives, reengineering business processes, enhancing security measures, et al.

Technology Innovation: Leadership

This category recognizes special district leaders who have led innovative technology initiatives. The nomination should highlight vision, leadership and the use of information technology.

Midwest

 

Citizens Category

Metro Waste Authority: Online Citizen Supplies Ordering

After closure of city hall and stores, MWA swiftly provided an online ordering option for purchasing stickers for large or extra garbage bags. Creating this interface required a cost/benefit analysis to properly group items for sale and develop the e-commerce infrastructure and internal tracking system.

Citizens Category

St. Louis County Library: Digital Equity Initiative

St. Louis County Government granted $4 million to SLCL to garner remote learning resources for under-equipped area school districts. In total, 39 school districts have benefited from SLCL’s Digital Equity Initiative. The library leveraged the grant funds for purchasing and distributing 10,000 hotspots, 2,500 Chromebooks and free virtual tutoring through Tutor.com.

Citizens Category

Western DuPage Special Recreation Association: Transformation of Special Needs Programs During the Pandemic

The association turned its programs virtual and educated participants and families on new ways to connect, engage and find respite. Many were empowered by learning new skills and gaining greater independence. On average, the association saw a 40 percent season-over-season increase.

Operations Category

Metropolitan Airports Commission: EOC Data Visualization and the Lunch and Learn Series

MAC created six data dashboards to visualize trends in aircraft takeoffs and landings, aircraft parking statistics and locations, passenger vehicle parking and movement data, staff availability, and personal protective equipment inventories. The dashboards enabled staff and the MAC Board of Commissioners to make critical decisions about reconstituting services for an efficient and thoughtful recovery for the airport. In addition, the Stakeholder Engagement department developed a virtual internal engagement program called “Lunch and Learn with CEO Brian Ryks” to help build connections and keep employees informed.

Operations Category

Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission: Strategy Execution Program

The primary goal of the Strategy Execution Program was to create a culture of teamwork, leadership and accountability that aligned around and executed the Ohio Turnpike’s strategic priorities. Even during tremendous challenges caused by the pandemic, the program yielded tangible, measurable improvements in tolling performance and increased management accountability and transparency.

Operations Category

Rockford Public Library: Laser-Cut Face Shields and 3D Printed Ear Guards

The library’s Maker Lab used its laser cutter to create Plexiglas face shields and the 3D printers to create ear protectors for cloth face coverings for employees. The library created and delivered hundreds of the 3D-printed ear guards for MercyHealth supply chain to distribute to its health care workers, somewhat easing their strain as they cared for patients.

Leadership Category

Jeffrey E. Small: Chief Information Officer, Great Lakes Water Authority

Under the leadership of Small, the IT Group swiftly enacted needed hardware, network and application changes that enabled as many team members as possible to work remotely. In addition to addressing immediate and ongoing technology support for worker productivity, the IT Group quickly performed a reassessment and reprioritization of the entire IT Project Portfolio.

Leadership Category

Omar Sandoval: Information Technology Director, Naperville Park District

Sandoval’s leadership inspired transformation to vital digital resources for residents such as youth arts, dance, fitness classes, podcasts, party ideas and field trips. The park district reinvented sports to become esports by partnering with a private sector company that provides cross-platform leagues (players can use any system whether Xbox, PS4 or PC).

Leadership Category

Anita Forte-Scott: President, Board of Trustees, Schaumburg Township District Library

Forte-Scott spearheaded the extension of the library’s digital resources to school and high school district students and their families, and even to those living outside the service area. To assist the community, the library also cancelled all fines and passed a $1.5 million abatement on the property tax library line item, resulting in a 9.4 percent reduction in taxes.

Southwest

 

Citizens Category

Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District: Safe Activities for Youth, Adults and Seniors

During the pandemic, the district leveraged technology to quickly respond to the needs of citizens, like offering fitness and other classes over Zoom and social media; assisting families with online learning; and utilizing electronic signage, e-newsletters, websites, Constant Contact and social media to keep residents informed on important safety information.

Citizens Category

Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority: Real-Time Passenger Capacity

Cap Metro provides real-time alerts through its mobile app and on digital messages at stations when an arriving bus reaches 50 percent seating capacity. Real-time passenger counts are provided to bus operations and dispatchers so they can add more vehicles to reduce crowding and provide for social distancing.

Citizens Category

Rio Metro Regional Transit District: Freedom to Ride

Rio Metro connects up to 4,000 veterans every month to critical services by allowing them to travel to VA major medical facilities, therapy, recreation and more without having to ask for a ride. Cloud-based mobile kiosks throughout the district provide onsite education and print free train passes.

Operations Category

Central Arkansas Library System: Meal Site Assistance

Central Arkansas Library System’s Be Mighty campaign mobilized its network of community partners and volunteers to distribute over 750,000 meals to families in Pulaski County. The system also made meal site information available online via BeMightyLittleRock.org, listing meal sites and serving times as well as an interactive map.

Operations Category

Housing Authority of the City of El Paso: Rent Café

The Rent Café allows residents to pay rent, apply for programs or get on waiting lists, apply for eligibility certifications and upload documents using a computer or smartphone. The system was in place about a year before the pandemic and proved invaluable during the crisis.

Operations Category

North Central Texas Council of Governments: Texas Unemployment Insurance Claims Assistance

By partnering with TWC, NCTCOG created a framework of technology interoperation to handle claims applications and tracking to help tackle the mountain of unemployment insurance claims. There are plans to roll this out to additional workforce centers across the state.

Leadership Category

Jesus Reyes: General Manager, El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1

Since 2000, Reyes led a series of technology innovation initiatives allowing the district to modernize its operations, increase water use efficiency, reduce costs, and ensure the resiliency and sustainability of the very limited water supplies available to the El Paso region.

Leadership Category

Touchless Flight-Boarding Development Team: Houston Airport System

The IT development team of Kevin Cloteaux and Jarvis Henson launched facial biometric comparison for a touchless international flight boarding experience to help reduce the contact of passengers due to COVID-19.

Leadership Category

Jayson "JP" Penton: Director of Platform and Cloud Services, Lower Colorado River Authority

Thanks to Penton and his team, LCRA was well prepared with the infrastructure and bandwidth needed to seamlessly transition to a remote workforce when the pandemic suddenly arrived. Now Penton is leading efforts to finish installing a mobility platform and increasing bandwidth to improve user experience.

Southeast

 

Citizens Category

Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO: Advanced Metering Technology

The district replaced 11,000 water meters with new, advanced meters that track and send usage data with wireless technology. Carbon emissions have been reduced from taking meter-reading vehicles off the road, leaks are detected and stopped faster, and customers can now receive daily information on water use.

Citizens Category

The Children's Trust: StayHome.Miami and the Book Club

StayHome.Miami features activities for infants to teenagers with original content developed by its service provides and partnering organizations, like read-aloud and storytelling books read by celebrities over video. In addition, The Children’s Trust created a renewed excitement around early reading by expanding its book club for three-year-olds to serve all children from birth to the age of five. To meet an increase in the number of books being mailed, a new IT solution was deployed that reduced staff by 75 percent and increased functionality such as making it easier for parents to register and update information.

Citizens Category

Lee County Library System: Mobile Services and the Virtual Storytime and Fandom Fest

When COVID-19 hit, the library system relied on technology to transition its Supercharged Storytime program online, turn its annual Fandom Fest celebration into a four-week long virtual event and continue its bookmobile services through contactless deposit collections.

Operations Category

Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission: Electronic Onboarding Project

The commission custom-built an online onboarding solution and launched it in two months for the summer season, which allows new employee candidates to complete and sign paperwork and process W-4s and direct deposit forms electronically.

Operations Category

ECUA Information Technology Department: Remote Workers and COVID-19 Operations

The IT department’s rapid response to COVID-19 included creation of a VPN service for employees, a VPN portal and an application portal to perform remote work. The portal and the app saved bandwidth which allowed the customer service phone lines to remain operational.

Leadership Category

Dr. Rui-De Xue: Executive Director, Anastasia Mosquito Control District

After the state lab was redirected to test for COVID-19, Dr. Xue built and enhanced mosquito virus surveillance and testing in-house. He increased aerial staffing to control hot spots for mosquito larvae and recruited four scientists to find grants and funds for applied research and technology.

Leadership Category

Brian Benn: Chief Information Officer, Atlanta Housing

Benn had a digital transformation vision with three major enterprise-wide initiatives: implementing a business continuity plan/business process assessment, enhancing cybersecurity, and bridging the digital divide by creating and spearheading the ACCESS initiative (Achieving Connectivity to Create Equity and Self Sufficiency). He also established a partnership with Georgia Institute of Technology's H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering so Atlanta Housing could leverage the expertise of the best and brightest academia has to offer to better serve participants and the community.

Leadership Category

Laetitia "Tish" Dobson: District Lodge Manager, The Preserve at Wilderness Lake CDD

Dobson responded proactively to the sudden onset of the pandemic with a comprehensive plan that CDDs across Florida used as a blueprint. It included:
• Shutting down communal spaces which was executed through email, automated messages and custom signage.
• Informing residents and transitioning to a virtual community space through eblasts, a website and newsletters, and holding public board meetings over Zoom.
• Reopening with new social distancing policies and equitable access to scarce time slots and spaces in public venues, which was achieved through automated online and phone reservations.

Northeast

 

Citizens Category

Chester Housing Authority: Building Community Video Series

The authority developed a new weekly videos series called “Building Community” to bring together community members and local experts in areas such as health and family issues to discuss topics of relevance to Chester residents each week.

Citizens Category

Delaware River Port Authority: Solar Carport System

The installation of solar carports with more than 50,000 solar panels provides covered parking and renewable energy that replaces 50 percent of the entire electrical consumption. The solar production will also be interconnected to the electrification system that directly powers the train cars.

Citizens Category

Westchester Library System: Senior Services

Working with the 38 member libraries and nonprofit partners, the WLS Department of Public Innovation and Engagement (PIE) transitioned critical services to a virtual environment, with webinars, interactive workshops and a dedicated phone/email helpline service. Tablets, laptops and hotspots were deployed to assist in the county’s We Count 2020 Census initiative and to schools and libraries that needed them for their students.

Operations Category

Brunswick Sewer District: Technology Investment and Preparation for COVID-19

Over the past decade, the district has invested in its personnel, facilities and equipment to prepare it for a situation like COVID. All operators have smartphones and unlimited data plans, and the plant and stations can all be monitored and controlled from their phones. Tablets and Chromebooks are utilized for remote operations, the district has multiple communication channels, systems are backed up and management is adaptive.

Operations Category

New York Power Authority: COVID-19 Response

NYPA was able to continue providing power to the state of New York by moving its 1,800 employees to remote work in just five days. Most importantly, NYPA provided critically needed power to established medical centers, field hospitals, makeshift tent health facilities and a converted convention center.

Operations Category

Philadelphia Parking Authority: Safe Work Playbook

The Safe Work Playbook, created in coordination with its inner agencies and divisions, allowed the authority to re-engineer its processes and practices and initiated safety protocols for employees working in the field, the office or remote. For instance, auto-dialing software enabled employees to receive robocalls and robotexts with notifications and emergency messages, and technology tools and electronic devices allowed employees to receive daily alerts through the website and social media pages.

Operations Category

WSSC Water: Operational Continuity for the Pandemic

WSSC had established an Office of Homeland Security and Police that had written plans for emergencies such as water main breaks and even a pandemic. The office has an Operational Continuity Team that dealt with the sudden transition to working remotely. WSSC also created new virtual classes and curriculum for employees to maintain state certifications.

Leadership Category

John Hanson: Chief Executive Officer, Delaware River Port Authority

Hanson led the development of the "The Journey Back to the Workplace Phased Re-Entry Plan," which includes an internal cross-functional task force to review and adapt policies and practices to maintain safe and effective operations, an internal employee survey that guided policy and helped develop a COVID-19 Workplace Resource Center portal, and a COVID-19 daily self-screening form.

Leadership Category

Richard Dickson: First Deputy Executive Director, Philadelphia Parking Authority

Dickson created a “return to work” playbook that anticipated phased implementation with 50 percent of the staff working in offices on any given day. To make this happen, he implemented contact-free time clocks, physical workstation dividers, Infrared thermometers, RFID badges and a video “walking tour” for workers to view online before their arrival back in the office.

Leadership Category

Brian J. Valentino, MPA, CEAS, ICMA-CM: Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer, Western Monmouth Utilities Authority

Valentino proactively created a weekly coordination meeting with other regional sewerage authorities within Monmouth and Middlesex Counties when the pandemic hit. The topics discussed, such as staffing levels, testing procedures, travel policies, funding opportunities, office modifications, public meetings and resource sharing including PPE, helped state government officials create guidelines and legislature. As a result, the authority has not had a single positive case of COVID-19 and is able to provide the same level of service as before the pandemic.

West

 

Citizens Category

Cordova Recreation and Park District: Drone-filmed Virtual Pool-Building Outreach and Groundbreaking Video

The district created a Virtual Pool Outreach Campaign to share the aquatic center’s renovation project groundbreaking and status with the public. Drones will also be used to give an inside look into construction. Once completed, it will be a state-of-the-art recreational space for families of all types.

Citizens Category

MCE: Public Meetings Live-Streamed via Zoom

MCE was enrolling approximately 10,000 new customers in its service, which is typically accompanied by robust public outreach largely in the form of in-person presentations. Due to COVID-19, these meetings were moved to a digital format across multiple platforms. After successfully implementing these meetings, MCE's Board of Director meetings also took this format.

Citizens Category

Orange County Water District: Virtual Outreach Response to COVID-19

When access to the OCWD facility and H2O Learning Center was restricted suddenly due to the pandemic, the district created a COVID-19 webpage, virtual tours, virtual community meetings, monthly “water education webinars” and student virtual outdoor education programs, such as water quality experiments.

Operations Category

Bremerton Housing Authority, WA: Telecommuting Implementation

Although management of low-income housing is considered an essential function, the authority implemented emergency telecommuting for 50 percent of its staff, including use of Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Customers and stakeholders were supported extremely well, resulting in telecommuting becoming permanent.

Operations Category

Mason County Public Utility District No. 1: Pandemic Response Plan

PUD 1 was the first agency in Mason County, Wash., to implement a pandemic response plan, which included implementing a paid leave policy for people impacted by COVID-19, splitting the workforce into two shifts that worked alternate weeks and establishing remote workstations. Productivity increased by allowing employees to utilize virtual options for travel and meetings, there has been a reduction in unscheduled absences and use of sick leave, and a decrease in lead time for new service requests.

Operations Category

Placentia Library District: Virtual Programs and Staff-made Masks

The district outfitted its team with tools to work from home like laptops and hot spots, Remote PC, SharePoint and Zoom. This enabled the district to offer its popular services and programs virtually like literacy tutoring, book club and storytimes. The staff also established a volunteer Sewing Committee to assemble, sew and mail masks to Placentia residents in need. One thousand masks were mailed to residents within one month.

Leadership Category

Bryan M. Sastokas: Chief Information and Technology Officer, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

During the pandemic, Sastokas’ transparency in actions and communications and empathetic approach made his staff feel like a team while working remotely -- especially during his “virtual coffee hour” and staff town halls. He refocused ITS’ priorities and issued new KPIs and goals so staff did not feel overwhelmed and could meet the changes in demand for service.

Leadership Category

Meridian Library District: Book Service Delivery

MLD quickly pivoted and launched new online services such as virtual storytimes and reference chat through its website. The district also implemented a new home delivery service that will continue beyond the pandemic to keep pace with its fast-growing community.

Leadership Category

Jason Frame: Chief Information Officer, Southern Nevada Health District

When COVID-19 hit the Las Vegas Valley, the district already had some of the newest technologies implemented. Frame not only transitioned the workforce remote, he added over 300 new employees quickly. Frame was able to get many vendors to enable trial licensing to better understand business requirements and systems. For example, he implemented virtual signatures, greatly reducing paperwork and processing time for signatures required by the governor’s office.

2019 Midwest US Winners

 

Technology Innovation: Citizens

Eight-Facility Wi-Fi Provision: Naperville Park District, Illinois

The district engaged in public-private partnerships and exchanged advertising space for free broadband equipment, installation and service at eight of its facilities to provide Wi-Fi for visitors; the district has plans to expand Wi-Fi service to an additional eight facilities next year.

SW Prime - Microtransit Service: SouthWest Transit, Minnesota

The microtransit service SW Prime is similar to popular rideshare services. Rides from the on-demand, curb-to-curb service can be requested by phone, online or a smartphone app and helps ensure communities receive equal service levels and wait times. Ridership has increased by over 40 percent each of the four years it’s been in operation.

Technology Innovation: Operations

New Technologies Usage: Cleveland Metroparks, Ohio

New technologies allow staff to quickly turn digital assets into physical ones or scan a physical asset into a system for digital analysis. These conversion processes are efficient for both production and decision-making, and result in assets that can be repurposed.

C-pass Collaboration with COTA and MORPC: Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District, Ohio

To offset building office space vacancies and increasing traffic congestion in downtown Columbus, the district paired up with the Central Ohio Transit Authority and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, asked building owners and government partners to commit resources, and leveraged the regional commuter app to offer free bus rides to downtown. In the first year, over one million free bus rides have been redeemed, and downtown building leases and transit ridership have increased.

Container Locator: Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Iowa

The Container Locator online tool provides U.S. Customs shipping container data to manufacturers to improve decision-making and increase the efficiency of the transport of containers in the shipping network. This in turn reduces the number of trucks on the interstate and the shipping industry’s carbon footprint, as well as lowers costs for manufacturers, shippers and consumers.

Continuous Auditing Implementation: Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, Ohio

Internal Audit supplements traditional practices with continuous auditing techniques, such as using computerized scripts to automate controls. The transit authority now analyzes 100 percent of its transaction data in seconds versus weeks.

Transformation to Community Space: Indian Trails Public Library District, Illinois

An extensive renovation and expansion of the library building transformed it into a vibrant, active and engaging community space. A detention pond that provides a geothermal system to cool and heat the building, a partial green roof, LED lighting and 60 solar panels have also decreased energy costs by 30 percent.

311 Parks System: Naperville Park District, Illinois

The new “311 Parks” website and mobile app allow residents to report conditions that need attention. The customized “help ticket” app helps the park maintenance department address problems proactively and track the types, frequency and locations of reported issues over time. And the trend data contributes to planning and budgeting more efficiently, leading to better service for the community.

Technology Innovation: Leadership

Demetria Simpson: President and Chief Executive Officer, Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority

Simpson’s leadership, vision for growth and innovation in the housing arena has streamlined operations and positively impacted the community. Over the past year she has implemented three transformational projects:

  • An “Intranet Employee Portal” that engages staff, promotes team collaborations and enhances agency operations.
  • After being awarded the “Connect Home USA Grant” from HUD to bridge the digital divide for low-income families, the authority gifted 150 free computers to low-income school-age youth and several months of free in-home internet access.
  • A new “Applicant Portal” allows LMHA to better serve its residents.

2019 Southwest US Winners

 

Technology Innovation: Citizens

GoFare Card: Colorado Valley Transit District

Acting like a pre-paid credit card, the GoFare Card allows people to purchase and load transit fares by website or phone. This has eliminated the hassle of finding the exact amount of cash when boarding the bus and has reduced the risk of robberies since less cash is carried on board.

Public Outreach: Fort Bend County Levee Improvement District No. 2, Texas

The district implemented a new text and email alert system, updated its website, developed a specialized infographic about the status of the levee system, and installed stream and rainfall gauges that provide real-time information – all in an effort to increase communication and engagement with residents about flood risks.

Technology Innovation: Operations

Plan for Unaccounted for Water: Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District, Texas

To meet the standard for “unaccounted for water,” the district implemented a multi-year plan, which included meter replacement, resident education, leak detection, and the creation of operation and maintenance programs.

Detour-Aware Real-Time GTFS Feed: Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Texas

The data from this feed is used for trip planning in the CapMetro Mobile App, as well as for message signs at stops and stations. It leverages new vehicle routers that provide GPS data every 10 seconds, and merges with a data set regarding any detours. Capital Metro’s prediction accuracy has since increased 30 percent for the three-minute arrival window.

State Highway 45 Southwest: Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority

State Highway 45 Southwest (45-SW) is a four-lane toll road that uses technology, including wrong-way driving detection technology and Permeable Friction Course pavement, to improve driver safety and mitigate environmental harm. 45-SW is now the model for environmental mitigation and sustainable highway development in Central Texas.

Fare Cards: Colorado Valley Transit District

Fare cards have allowed the administration to concentrate on higher-level tasks versus spending time counting change from fare boxes. They have also streamlined the flow of operations and helped track the demographics of those that use the transit system.

GoBus New Fare System: East Texas Council of Governments

GoBus recently implemented a new fare system with the use of Square credit card processing to provide a more dynamic and efficient way to collect fares from passengers. The entire operations staff was involved in educating passengers on the new system.

Technology Innovation: Leadership

Rene Vicente Torres: Information Systems Manager, Edinburg Housing Authority, Texas

Torres has done several things to improve operations at the Edinburg Housing Authority (EHA), including increasing cyber safety by adding multiple layers of security and enhancing employee communications by implementing a chat app and an “express text” app.

Tyrell T. Morris, MBA CPE: Executive Director, Orleans Parish Communications District, Louisiana

Morris successfully led the city’s efforts to combine 911 and 311 by embracing a digital low-code application development platform. Under his leadership, the agency also deployed a new mobile CAD for first responders and integrated GPS tracking of responders, which helps finds the closest available unit in an emergency – increasing both first responder and citizen safety.

2019 Southeast US Winners

 

Technology Innovation: Citizens

Project SOAR: Housing Authority of the City of Prichard, Alabama

The agency implemented innovative initiatives to increase connectivity and approved devices for 35 percent of its households. For instance, a summer camp offered basic computer training where participants received certificates and free laptops they built; training programs helped families with job applications, certifications or online degrees; and a three-month class helped senior citizens learn how to access Social Security and other sites.

Water Well Construction Module: St. Johns River Water Management District, Florida

The district developed a scalable mobile- and user-friendly Water Well Construction Module to improve productivity for water well contractors in the field, increase customer satisfaction, improve permit accuracy and accelerate the permit application process.

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI): North Springs Improvement District, Florida

The district’s AMI infrastructure uses low-power radio transmitters connected to individual water meters to send hourly readings to a network of rooftop receivers, which creates a database that works seamlessly with the billing system and eliminates property meter readings. This has decreased customer complaints and water usage, and increased revenue annually by eight percent.

Technology Innovation: Operations

Technology Projects: Bonita Springs Fire Control and Rescue District, Florida

The district reduced operating costs and increased safety by adding radio repeaters to every fire vehicle, allowing radio communication inside buildings to reach fire fighter’s face masks. In addition, the district designed a system for tracking radios, tools and expiring stocks of drugs with radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, which provided hard-dollar savings.

Data Consolidation Initiative: Southwest Florida Water Management District

The district developed a centralized GIS-based application that consolidated several disparate record keeping systems of land data into a single system available to all district staff. This initiative provides increased transparency and asset visibility and improved maintenance data.

Trust Central: The Children’s Trust, Florida

Trust Central automated The Children’s Trust processes. Data is now tracked as it moves from one business process to another, and Program Metrics captures usage data, produces dashboards, integrates nearly double the data points as previously, and produces funding strategies in under four hours. The time to execute contracts has been cut in half.

Neighborhood Master Plan: Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The Northwest Gardens Neighborhood Master Plan is LEED certified and each site has a computer lab and library for residents. After building neighborhood walking trails and deploying cameras with public access to the live stream, the crime rate dropped over 50 percent. The Housing Authority also operates the StepUP apprenticeship program that trains and educates high school dropouts with criminal backgrounds – over 15 percent of the agency's full-time workforce are graduates of the StepUP program.

Technology Innovation: Leadership

Cherrie Calloway: Neighborhood Networks Technical Trainer, Tampa Housing Authority, Florida

Calloway led the agency’s ConnectHome USA program by creating “Internet Cafes“ in several public housing developments, which brought high-speed internet to residents. Residents use the computers provided or their own devices and can receive training in several areas such as Microsoft office and social media. Calloway also manages three “smart-home communities” that offer free access to WiFi and computers and laptops. She has saved the agency thousands of dollars and enhanced the lives of residents through technology.

Shawn Hanson: Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal, Greater Naples Fire Rescue District, Florida

Under the leadership of Deputy Chief Hanson, the district implemented a district-wide Rapid Access (key) Solution to decrease emergency response times and expedite access to victims inside private and commercial occupancies and more than 50 public schools. This cloud-based emergency vehicle system also enhances security and accountability. Hanson initiated the program and partnership with local law enforcement, emergency medical services, the public school system and other fire rescue agencies.

2019 Northeast US Winners

 

Technology Innovation: Citizens

Wheels2U Micro-Transit Service: Norwalk Transit District, Connecticut

Wheels2U is a new on-demand shuttle service app that allows riders to request pickup and drop off locations. Each shuttle has a tablet that tracks trip statistics and provides an app that drivers use for navigation, live traffic conditions, and real-time pick-up and drop-off information. Since the app, ridership levels are growing at a rate of 20 percent each week.

meterUP Mobile Pay App: Philadelphia Parking Authority, Pennsylvania

The authority created a custom mobile parking payment app “meterUP” and engaged in extensive digital marketing campaigns throughout the city educating people on its use. Usage has grown from 7 percent of parking transactions to nearly 30 percent, and the app store rating is 4.8 out of 5.

Technology Innovation: Operations

Web-based Applications: Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, Pennsylvania

After being outfitted with iPads, plumbers and field technicians can populate work orders in an app within 60 seconds, and locate and map their assignments using GIS integration and web-mapping services. The assignment procedure is so streamlined that they can now drag and drop assignments on a dashboard.

Technology Innovation: Leadership

Margaret Zampini: Manager of IT Communications and Customer Services, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Zampini successfully led a multitude of technology projects that spanned the authority’s strategic priorities. She used project governance as a strategy for the department’s mission, and initiated a research project to refine current financial policies to ensure Technology Department needs were balanced with other business departments.

Philip True Savino: Chief Technology Officer, Public Parking Authority of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

True’s leadership strategy has been to reduce capital and operating costs while increasing resources and efficient processes. He has successfully implemented cloud and IoT technologies, including the “Wanted Plate” stealth alerting using license plate recognition (LPR) and an LPR deployment in conjunction with online registration for the Residential Parking Program.

Ai Yamanaka: Data Analytics Program Manager, Aviation Department, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Yamanaka built a data analytics team in the Aviation Department, which uses analytical tools to maximize facility efficiency. She is also creating an aviation data analytics warehouse and data dashboard to maintain live-assessment and operational data and vital key performance indicators for the busy airport system.

2019 West US Winners

 

Technology Innovation: Citizens

MyWater MNWD: Moulton Niguel Water District, California

The district deployed a secure, cloud-based portal where customers can pay bills, view their water usage, learn about water conservation programs such as turf replacement and rebates, sign up for paperless bills and watch conservation videos – all from their mobile phones.

Mobile App: South Coast Air Quality Management District, California

In addition to viewing new air quality forecasts, a new one-stop mobile app lets residents access an interactive map, temperature and weather, alert notifications, and the location of hundreds of alternative fuel stations. Previously available only for IoS, the application now has an Android version as well.

Food Handler Card Testing System: Southern Nevada Health District

The Food Handler Card Testing System was developed to assess and test safe food handling practices of individuals applying for a Food Handler Card, which is required for everyone who works with food or beverages in Southern Nevada. The new system administers 11,000 tests per month in five locations, is available in 18 different languages, and has reduced customer fees by 50 percent.

Technology Innovation: Operations

Mobile App and Supporting Infrastructure: Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District

Over the past five years the district made the transition from a paper-based field data collection system to an infield mobile application using tablets. The database provides the foundation to track disease surveillance, target outreach campaigns and deliver useful data that maximizes connectivity for field staff.

Mobile Special Technology and Aerial Response (MSTAR) Concept Vehicle: Menlo Park Fire Protection District, California

The district created this unique mobile response platform to support public safety connected devices, such as drones. MSTAR Concept Vehicle provides acres of on-scene Wi-Fi, drone quick launch, satellite video streaming and computing support – which is significant progress in creating a connected emergency response capability.

myEBS Search: Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

This web application provides employees with a personalized, intelligent dashboard, alerts and search capabilities for their financial information. Used on both desktop and mobile devices, myEBS Search has improved productivity and efficiency, saved costs and enhanced security for internal operations.

Real-Time Distribution System Monitoring Using Mobile Technology: Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Mobile technology now enables Real-time water quality monitoring in the water distribution network. The district also automated processes for collecting samples and entering data. Data is now entered directly into mobile devices - resulting in improved data integrity and reliability, and more efficient business processes.

Technology Innovation: Leadership

Stefan Jaskulak: Chief Financial Officer/Director of Administrative Services, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, California

Casey Hiatt (pictured): Acting IT Manager accepting award on behalf of Stefan Jaskulak

Jaskulak drove the formation of an integrated administrative services business line with training, conferences and co-location. He also provided a roadmap for the next three years of organization-wide process and technology improvements. Under his leadership, the district has a foundation to sustain its recent organizational growth and diverse programs, as well as to meet the challenges of an ever-evolving environment.

Ron Moskowitz: Chief Information Officer, South Coast Air Quality Management District, California

Within one year, Moskowitz implemented policy and governance changes that have greatly aligned IT closely with the goals of the district. He has spearheaded several successful projects, including the district’s mobile app, the “Replace Your Ride” program and online filing for permit applications. His project management skills and experience contributed to the increased efficiency and quality of every aspect of these projects.

Lauren Skiver: CEO/General Manager, SunLine Transit Agency, California

For the past five years, Skiver has helped the agency move to a performance-driven environment and has delivered a very robust capital program. Under her leadership, the alternative fuels program and the zero-emissions fleet continue to grow. She also initiated the “Rethink Transit” initiative – which includes an app-based ride-share service, micro-transit and “quick bus” routes. Skiver is committed to providing clean renewable fuels and is a founding member of the Zero Emission Bus Alliance (ZEBRA), where she currently serves as chair.

2018 Northeast US Winners

 

Technology Innovation: Citizens

Public Awareness/Public Information Campaign: Brunswick Sewer District, Maine

The public awareness campaign started as a proactive public education approach to gain support for a treatment facility upgrade – which required a 40 percent increase in rates – but resulted in the district being a key partner in the community. After a year-long campaign utilizing its newsletter, website, Facebook, local cable, YouTube videos, an interactive poster of the system that works with QR codes, two kiosks and a walking trail, the referendum passed with 72 percent approval.

Technology Innovation: Operations

Transform NY - mNTCS Transformer Monitoring & Diagnostic System: New York Power Authority

mNTCS – a monitoring and control system for transformer management – is a “system of systems,” operating across multiple standards and interfaces with multi-vendor assets and sensors. mNTCS delivers a complete real-time picture of the transformers’ conditions and includes a vital predictive ability. This initiative enabled NYPA to achieve significant cost avoidance and provide New Yorkers with uninterrupted, low-cost power.

Technology Innovation: Leadership

Emily Schapira: Board Member and Executive Director, Philadelphia Energy Authority

Schapira has been the executive director of the Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) since 2016 and a member of the board since 2011. Schapira joined PEA to develop and execute the Philadelphia Energy Campaign, a $1 billion, 10-year initiative to advance energy efficiency and clean energy across Philadelphia, while creating over 10,000 jobs. So far, 225 jobs were created in the first year of the Energy Campaign, with more than $50 million in active projects through Fiscal Year 2019; more than 160 homes are participating in the Solarize residential solar energy program; and more than 50 free energy audits for small businesses were completed.

2018 Southeast US Winners

 

Technology Innovation: Citizens

Landlord Program Enhancements: Atlanta Housing Authority, Georgia

The Atlanta Housing Authority created a Landlord Portal to give landlords immediate access to inspection results and request re-inspections after remediating noted deficiencies. The authority also provided inspectors with tablets to support mobile property inspection filing, improved efficiency and a reduced carbon footprint. So far in 2018 the authority has made 1,000 new housing units available to participants, helping to bring more affordable housing to the city.

Technology Innovation: Operations

Remote Monitoring of Plant Operations: Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District, Florida

During Hurricane Irma, the district’s operations departments used real-time remote monitoring processes, including multiple cameras, various “level” indicators, automatic start and stop functions, historical trends and alarm set points. This enabled continuous operations before, during and after the hurricane – and helped keep personnel safe.

Technology Innovation: Leadership

Edward L. Johnson: Chief Executive Officer, Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX)

Johnson leverages technology to achieve his vision of mobility management – putting individuals in the most cost-effective and direct mode of travel for themselves and for LYNX. In 2017, he rolled out free Wi-Fi on all 300 LYNX buses and implemented four mobile apps. Johnson’s leadership is also instrumental in the Central Florida Autonomous Vehicle Partnership, which is working to demonstrate the effectiveness of autonomous vehicles in the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor, as well as developing the plan for the integration of autonomous and connected vehicles, called the Autonomous Vehicle Mobility Initiative (AVMI).

2018 Midwest US Winners

 

Technology Innovation: Citizens

Website Redesign: Chicago Park District, Illinois

By leveraging citizen testing and feedback, using open source platforms, implementing mobile-responsive design, and integrating the procurement portal and contract library for streamlined bid submission, the Chicago Park District (CPD) was able to redesign its website and drastically improve the user experience. CPD has since seen a 13 percent increase in online revenue and a 25 percent increase in page load time.

Technology Innovation: Operations

Wet Weather Map: Great Lakes Water Authority, Michigan

The Great Lakes Water Authority developed a GIS map that displays real-time data along its interceptors and at its rain gauges, which increases transparency and improves communication and response times during wet weather events. The map is color-coded with flashing symbols to indicate rate of precipitation, opening gates, water levels and what is happening up to 20 miles upstream. The map is accessible from mobile devices, which has tripled the number of users.

Technology Innovation: Leadership

Wesley Goodwin: IT Manager, Applications, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, Ohio

Goodwin was the visionary behind – and now manages -- Greater Cleveland RTA’s “Trip Planner.” The app offers riders personalized multi-modal transportation options like rail, bus and trolley alongside features that allow users to find landmarks, amenities, entertainment and city services – all in real time. Goodwin also created the IT Major Projects Dash Board, and managed both the transit app project and the district’s transition to mobile ticketing, which now brings in more than $340,000 monthly.

2018 Southwest US Winners

 

Technology Innovation: Citizens

GPS.MyGovernmentOnline: South Central Planning and Development Commission, Louisiana

The MyGovernmentOnline Software Partnership Program provides seamless cross-boundary services -- for permits and licensing, planning and zoning, and public works, including in-field use -- to hundreds of jurisdictions across 10 states, lowering costs and providing digital conveniences such as mobile apps, text notifications and digital plan review.

Technology Innovation: Operations

Fort Bend County Levee Improvement District No. 2, Texas

As part of the district’s technology initiative, the pump station/emergency operations centers installed separate high-speed internet connections linked by a fiber optic line and all cameras now capture high-definition video and easily monitor flood levels. In addition, all district assets were inventoried using a GIS database that is available to inspectors in the field. These efforts have made operations more efficient, effective and secure, and have enhanced flood protection for multiple hospitals, Sugar Land City Hall, two major transportation arteries and 9,000 homes and businesses in the district.

Technology Innovation: Leadership

Michael Parks: Deputy Executive Director for the Brazos Valley Council of Governments, Texas

Parks brought stakeholders and experts together to offer broadband service to the rural areas of Central Texas and provide a better future for the residents of Brazos Valley. He convinced the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) Healthcare Connect Fund to declare funds available to rural area hospitals, clinics, school nurses and county jails. He also formed COGnet, a fiber-sharing and management consortium comprised of healthcare facilities, schools and local government. Finally, he worked with Texas A&M University to design a double-ring architecture that provides bandwidth, speed, quality and reliability.

2018 West US Winners

 

Technology Innovation: Citizens

Flood Early Warning System: San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority, California

The interactive Flood Early Warning System website provides real-time information via text and email alerts to citizens about where and when flooding is possible or expected in residential and business areas of three cities along a flood-prone creek in the heart of Silicon Valley. Utilizing data from newly installed rainfall and in-stream flow gauges, and tapping into recently updated hydraulic modeling, this public interface provides location-specific notifications to previously flooded neighborhoods two hours in advance of potential overtopping.

Technology Innovation: Operations

Regional Streetlight Program: Western Riverside Council of Governments, California

The Regional Streetlight Program is designed to assist 11 jurisdictions in transferring their streetlights to local ownership and retrofitting them to energy-efficient LED technologies. The program provides cost savings for the nearly 48,000 streetlights, reduces local and statewide energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent, and enables revenue-generating and smart city opportunities.

Technology Innovation: Leadership

Dante Ramirez: Principal Accountant for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, California

Ramirez is an innovator in creative and effective uses of technology in the finance arena. He initiated application improvements for several processes in the accounting department, which resulted in saving hundreds of staff hours, improving the accuracy of records and reducing erroneous payments. Ramirez’s initiatives overall have increased the efficiency, integrity and reliability of financial data.

2017 East US Winners

 

Technology Innovation: Citizens

Social Media Initiative: Homewood-Flossmoor Park District, Illinois

The park district has improved communication with the public through Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. Using social media, the district has been able to enhance program awareness and participation and better publicize job openings.

Technology Innovation: Operations

Fiber Optic Resource Sharing Agreement: Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA)

This agreement between the city of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County enabled the sharing of fiber optic cable and other resources, and has expanded to include several state agencies. The tremendous level of inter-governmental collaboration has paved the way for other collaborative efforts, such as joint procurements of IT products and services.

Technology Innovation: Leadership

Robert Presnell Jr.: COO, Detroit Water and Sewerage

Presnell developed and implemented strategy to enhance customer experience, resulting in lower customer wait times, faster response times, improved revenue streams, lower cost of service and stronger communication channels. Technology initiatives include investment in a start up for a mobile-friendly, self-service application; payment kiosks across the city with real-time billing data and several payment options; and the ability for customers to reserve a place in line at the service centers through their mobile phone.

2017 Southwest US Winners

 

Technology Innovation: Citizens

GPS.MyGovernmentOnline: South Central Planning & Development Commission

The commission created an asset tracking system that uses GPS, wireless infrastructure and cloud services to manage everything from government fleet vehicles to sandbags. The system has improved efficiencies and cost effectiveness, and currently serves 10 jurisdictions.

Technology Innovation: Operations

Central US Interoperability Hub - "CUSIOP Hub": Kansas Turnpike Authority, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, North Texas Tollway Authority, Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, Fort Bend County Toll Road Authority, Harris County Toll Road Authority, and Texas Department of Transportation

This multi-state effort lets citizens in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas use one account and a common transponder to pay tolls across 1,300 miles of toll highways. It helps facilitate toll transaction communication among seven tolling authorities in the three states and keeps costs low for these authorities and customers.

Technology Innovation: Leadership

Joe Iannello: VP and CIO, Capital Metro

Since 2011, Iannello has spearheaded modernization and service improvement efforts at Austin’s public transit authority, including the launch of one of the nation’s first mobile ticketing systems. Iannello is a board member of the Austin CityUP Consortium – a public/private consortium that facilitates smart city initiatives, and has been named one of Computerworld’s 2016 Premier Technology Leaders.

2017 West US Winners

 

Technology Innovation: Citizens

E-Citizen Mobile Civic Engagement Platform: Jurupa Community Services District

JCSD provides water, sewer, street lights, frontage landscape maintenance, graffiti abatement, and parks and recreation services to over 120,000 residents. To streamline citizen requests and employee response, the district developed a multi-jurisdictional community engagement smartphone app that provides residents with a one-stop method to report non-emergencies.

Technology Innovation: Operations

Pipeline Risk Visualization: San Diego County Water Authority

By taking various data sets from multiple sources and combining them into an open-source database, this initiative increases transparency into pipeline risk for all stakeholders. Staff, executives, the board of directors, rate payers and the surrounding communities can now easily consume data, which assists in making better and more targeted pipeline rehabilitation decisions.

Technology Innovation: Leadership

Randell Iwasaki: Executive Director Contra Costa Transportation Authority

Iwasaki led several initiatives -- including implementing intelligent transportation systems, drones and new toll technology -- to increase driver safety, ease traffic congestion and make the environment greener. He makes recommendations on how local, state and federal transportation funds are used in Contra Costa County, and spearheaded a public-private partnership to support GoMentum Station -- a 5,000 acre, secure autonomous vehicle testing site in Concord, Calif.

2017 Southeast US Winners

 

Technology Innovation: Citizens

MARTA Mobile Ticketing System: Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority

The mobile ticketing system improves the public transit experience for citizens by eliminating wait times at ticket vending machines and providing real-time arrival/departure and safety information. In the near future, the mobile app will also provide real-time car parking availability status on all MARTA garages.

Technology Innovation: Operations

Virtual Desktop Initiative: Atlanta Housing Authority

By replacing 90 percent of its physical desktops with virtual desktops, the housing authority simplified support, reduced costs, improved security, provided remote access to employees and enhanced customer service. All users now have the same desktop experience, which has created a more stable environment. An additional benefit has been a reduction in the district’s carbon footprint.

Technology Innovation: Leadership

John M. Daane: Director of Information Technology Emerald Coast Utilities Authority

Daane created a 5-year master plan for IT that tackled system replacement and resulted in increased service levels, cost savings and new staff skillsets. This initiative has reduced physical servers by 70 percent, increased services by 30 percent and increased bandwidth by 500 percent.

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