AT&T and Government Technology have launched a nationwide platform for special districts that includes a regional awards program with three categories to recognize IT innovation and leadership. An evaluation committee will review nominations in the three categories below and select award recipients in each of the five regions. Submissions may be entered by the public or private sector. Awards will be presented at each of the corresponding regional Special District Summits. Click here for regional event registration.
This category recognizes special districts that have utilized technology to improve service delivery to citizens – for example, increased customer satisfaction, enhanced user experience, accelerated access to services, et al.
This category recognizes special districts that have utilized technology to improve internal operations – for example, efficiency and productivity improvements, cost reduction, enhanced security, improved processes, advanced sustainability, et al.
This category recognizes special district leaders who have led technology innovation initiatives that go above and beyond to positively impact the community and / or operations. The nomination should highlight vision, leadership and support of information technology.
West - March 21
Northeast - April 10
Southeast - May 15
Southwest - June 12
Midwest - June 27
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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