Gov. Polis announces the 2019 Tom Clements Better Government Award

DENVER — Gov. Polis today announced the 2019 Tom Clements Better Government Award winners. These awards recognize individuals and teams who are elevating the performance of state government, improving customer service and ensuring better outcomes for everyone who interacts with the State of Colorado. The two award categories include Outstanding Service in Government and Outstanding Innovation in Government. 

"The best way to honor a great man like Tom is to take the baton and carry on their work. To celebrate those who are engaged in the work not just for a paycheck, or for a career, or for glory, but because they are on a mission to do good," said Governor Jared Polis. "This year's winners have gone above and beyond to deliver exceptional services and improve state government. Their dedication to public service and the impact on their communities inspire us all."

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. 

Outstanding Service in Government: Lt. Shawna Nygaard (Department of Corrections)

Lt. Shawna Nygaard is the Volunteer Coordinator for Sterling Correctional Facility and devotes enormous time and energy in helping all internal and external stakeholders feel comfortable in the prison environment. She brings humanity and empathy to every interaction while keeping safety and security foremost in her mind. She has without question been a primary catalyst for innovation and normalization. 

Outstanding Innovation in Government: Central Management Unit (Office of the State Controller, DPA)

The State Controller Central Management Unit deserves recognition for their innovative approach to improving customer service with the State's vendor community and department staff through the payment modernization project. This project led to a $1 million savings with ongoing savings each year for the State, improved customer relations, and reduced the State's environmental impact. The team takes pride in their work and their roles as public servants and stewards of taxpayer dollars. Their teamwork, dedication, and responsiveness have elevated the agency and State among the vendor community as well as improved efficiency and effectiveness within other State agencies. 

Each year, a panel of judges is convened from top leaders within the academic, nonprofit, and private sectors to identify exemplary work in state government. 

This year the following individuals served as judges:

  • Lisa Clements, VP Population Health, Beacon Health Options 
  • Joe Kuntner, Director of Public Sector, Slalom Denver 
  • Andy Feinsten, President, University of Northern Colorado 
  • Taylor McLemore, Managing Director, Able Co. 
  • Rosemary Rodriguez, Executive Director, Together We Count (Colorado)