Gov. Polis Announces Tom Clements Better Government Award Winners

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

DENVER - Today, Governor Jared Polis announced the winners of this year’s Tom Clements Better Government Awards, which recognizes individuals and teams that go above and beyond to make Colorado a better place. 

The Tom Clements Award highlights the work of those who have elevated the performance of state government and strive to leave Colorado’s government better than they found it. Winners of the award will be invited to a virtual event with the Governor, legislators, and business leaders to showcase their accomplishments and highlight their impactful state government work. The award categories include: Outstanding Service in Government, Outstanding Innovation in Government, Chief of Staff Operational Excellence Award, and 2020 Pandemic Response. 

These awards honor Tom Clements, who was tragically killed in March of 2013 during his tenure of service to the state as Executive Director of the Department of Corrections. In honor of his legacy of improving state government and his love of public service, the Tom Clements Better Government Award recognizes the work of individuals and teams who, like Tom, enhance the performance and outcomes of state government. This prestigious award inspires teams to elevate the impact of their work and further cement Colorado's commitment to building a lasting culture of operational excellence.

“This award shines light on Tom’s legacy of excellence and his commitment to the state of Colorado. This year’s recipients not only devoted their time and energy to improving the state, but did so during an unprecedented pandemic. Each and every one of this year’s recipients made their work for Colorado a priority, and because of that, Colorado is a better place today,” said Governor Polis. 

Award winners were nominated through their Departments and submissions were judged by a panel of nonprofit partners and business leaders in Colorado. Judges reviewed submissions to understand how data was used to drive outstanding service and innovation, and how an individual or group’s work aligns with the Administration’s goals.

The winners of this year’s awards are:

Outstanding Service in Government:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Colorado Department of Human Services 

    • Mia Donley, SNAP Education & Outreach Coordinator

    • Megan Hrdlicka, SNAP Compliance ME Specialist

    • Max Young, SNAP Education & Outreach Administrator

  • Honorable Mentions: 

    • Nate Walowitz, Regional Broadband Director, Department of Local Affairs

    • Cheryl Petrossi, Nurse Case Manager, Department of Corrections

Outstanding Innovation in Government:

  • Bonnie Silva, Director of the Office of Community Living at the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing and Randy Kuykendall, Director of Health Facilities & EMS Division at the Department of Public Health and Environment

  • Honorable Mentions:

    • Ron Simenhois, Physical Scientist Research/Scientist, Department of Natural Resources

    • The Department of Regulatory Agencies Electrical and Plumbing Inspectors, Inspector Supervisor Michael Frenze, Director of Investigations & Inspections, Kevin Huff, Program Director, Cheryl Ruiz-Lucero, & Deputy Director for Legal Affairs, Karen McGovern

Chief of Staff Operational Excellence Award

  • Colorado Department of Public Safety led by Executive Director Stan Hilkey

    • The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management directed by Kevin Klein

    • Colorado State Patrol led by Chief Matthew Packard 

    • The Colorado Bureau of Investigation directed by John Camper

    • The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control directed by Mike Morgan 

    • Division of Criminal Justice directed by Joe Thome

    • Executive Director’s office, Deputy Executive Jana Locke 

Special Category: 2020 Pandemic Response:

  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment COVID Leadership Team:

    • Scott Bookman (DCPHR Division Director)

    • Emily Travanty (Scientific Director & Interim Director, State Public Health Laboratory)

    • Rachel Herlihy (Communicable Disease Branch Chief & State Epidemiologist)

    • Sarah Tuneberg (Senior Advisor for COVID-19 Testing, Containment, and Technology and Director of the COVID-19 Innovation Response Team) 

    • Jessica Bralish (Office of Communications Director)

    • Ann Hause (Office of Legal and Regulatory Compliance Director)

    • Mara Brosy-Wiwchar (Chief of Staff to the Executive Director)

    • Joi Simpson (Office of Human Resources Director)

    • Eric France (Chief Medical Officer)

    • Jamison Lee (COVID-19 Fiscal Response Team Director)

    • Rachel Jervis (COVID-19 Outbreak Fusion Center Director)

    • Mike Nugent ( Deputy Executive Director)

    • Diana Herrero (Deputy Director of the Division of Disease Control and Public Health Response)