Governor recognizes State employees for their public service

DENVER – Tuesday May 3, 2016 – This afternoon, Gov. John Hickenlooper and Department of Personnel & Administration Executive Director June Taylor recognized 20 State employees for their superior service to the people of Colorado.  The lunch at the Governor’s mansion was part of Public Service Recognition Week, for which the first full week of May each year is designated by Congress and the Governor to honor public employees and educate the public about the many ways government workers make life better for all Americans.

To celebrate the important contributions of our State employees, the Governor and the Department of Personnel & Administration asked each State executive branch agency to select a single employee who most exemplifies the significant and invaluable contributions public servants make to the quality of life in our state.  These honorees were selected for regularly demonstrating efficient, effective and elegant service to the people of Colorado:

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Colorado Energy Office – Gregg Hefner – Senior Accounting Manager

Gregg is the consummate professional, an ideal employee and co-worker. Gregg performs his job admirably, consistently producing quality work products and demonstrating an unwavering and selfless dedication to the office, his job duties, and the people of Colorado.  Gregg exemplifies the three E’s – Effective, Efficient, and Elegant – in his day-to-day approach, but the intangibles are truly what set Gregg apart from others. Gregg not only serves the role of Senior Accounting Manager for the Energy Office, he also serves in the role of mentor, advisor, confidant, and friend. His integrity is unrivaled, and he has a unique ability to unify those around him to work together to achieve a common goal and mission. In doing so, Gregg has changed the Energy Office - he has left his mark of excellence on the accounting and operations that are the bedrock of the office, but even more so, he has left an indelible mark on those around him for whom he serves as a role model, both on a professional and personal level.

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Department of Agriculture – Steve Bormann – Inspection and Consumer Services Division Director

Steve Bornmann has been a dedicated employee of the Department of Agriculture for 29 years, and the Division Director for the Inspection and Consumer Services Division since 2009.    With Steve's leadership, CDA’s Metrology Laboratory, which provides weights and measures services, has achieved one of the highest accreditations in the country.  The laboratory is now the only one of its kind providing weights and measures services in the state.  The laboratory also tackled the analysis of hemp for its THC levels, and analyzing pesticides being used at marijuana grow facilities.  Steve also took on a failing pet protection program and quickly made significant improvements. The program is now receiving the Colorado Association of Animal Control Officers’ Agency of the Year award.    Steve's division provides consumer protection services and inspections that touch every person in Colorado. He sets a shining example for operating efficiently, effectively and elegantly. 

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Department of Corrections – Kevin Hall - Food Service Captain

Kevin Hall has been with the Department of Corrections since May 1995. He promoted to Food Service Captain at Four Mile Correctional Facility in Canon City on Oct. 1, 2013. Since assuming this role the food service unit has seen a dramatic increase in staff morale and production levels. Kevin always displays an enthusiastic attitude, and actively promotes positive teamwork within the unit. Kevin has the ability to effectively walk the fine line of empowering staff while still holding them accountable for the duties of their position. He has a personable and approachable supervisory style, and a genuine concern and support for his staff to be successful at both their job and in their personal lives. Kevin is not only a dedicated leader within the DOC, but also within his community. He volunteers for the Orchard of Hope Foundation, using his dedication and positive attitude to improve the quality of life for cancer champions. Kevin is always there to assist and support his staff, co-workers, friends, and family, no matter what the situation or time of day. His professionalism, commitment, integrity, and generous spirit are the epitome of successful public service.

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Department of Education – Misti Ruthven - Director of Postsecondary Readiness

After spending seven years with the Colorado Department of Higher Education Misti Ruthven joined the Department of Education in 2012 as the Secondary Initiative Principal Consultant, and was quickly promoted to become the Director of Postsecondary Readiness.  Misti’s background in higher education and experience at CDHE make her a uniquely valuable asset to CDE’s postsecondary readiness efforts. Misti is a thought leader.  Her work on systems and practices to increase student financial aid form completion has resulted in major successes. Successful completion of financial aid applications results in more students following through and actually attending college. The Counselor Corp program, which is run out of her unit, elevates the capacity of Colorado educators to help all students engage in high quality ICAP experiences. In addition, Misti is a strong internal collaborator, helping colleagues make strategic connections in support of providing an ever increasing quality of support to educators in the field.

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Department of Health Care Policy & Financing – Mark Queirolo  - Integrated Health Specialist

Mark is an outstanding public employee for a variety of reasons.  First and foremost, Mark has a deep commitment to the mission of the Department and to those served through the Medicaid program.  In addition, he brings a level of professionalism and a calm demeanor to the department’s work environment that is a model for all employees to emulate.  Lastly, Mark is dependable and willing to take on any new task assigned to him. He led the work on the review of the Fort Lyon campus, and in the last six months has stepped in as a core member of the ACC 2.0 team, providing incredible knowledge, work effort and energy to that mission critical project.

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Department of Higher Education – Dawn DiPrince – Director of Community Museums, History Colorado

For the past two years, History Colorado has been fortunate to have an outstanding, dedicated leader among its team. Dawn DiPrince, director of El Pueblo History Museum, has demonstrated incredible ambition by transforming programming and operations at El Pueblo History Museum.  During her time as director, El Pueblo History Museum has developed into a community center where people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds are able to find meaning and wonder in their shared history. By providing scholarships to more than 85% of the students in the Hands-On History after school program, and working with underprivileged schools, Dawn has ensured that all students in Pueblo County have access to a safe and engaging learning environment. Through Dawn’s community outreach and passion for telling the history of Pueblo and Colorado, visitation to the museum has tripled in the last two years.  In 2015, Dawn took on the role of director of community museums, and instantly enhanced program development and operations of the six community museums throughout Colorado. Dawn is a champion for History Colorado, and they are grateful to have her on the team.

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Department of Human Services – Ruben Sandoval – Training and Restorative Community Justice/Transition Coordinator – Grand Mesa Youth Services Center

Ruben Sandoval has dedicated nearly 19-years of his life to something he loves - his work with youth at the Grand Mesa Youth Services Center in Grand Junction. Sandoval cares deeply about providing the youth in his charge with positive ways to change their lives, and successfully transition back into the community. One of the innovative programs he coordinates, in partnership with a local youth advocacy group, provides opportunities for youth to give back to their community by participating in projects that help pay off court ordered restitution. Under his leadership, in just the last 21 months, youth from Grand Mesa Youth Services Center have helped the elderly with chores, snow shoveling, and landscape projects for businesses and community members in need resulting in the payment of over $17,500 in restitution.

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Department of Labor & Employment – Christy Gonzales – Workforce Development Board Liaison and MIS Manager 

Christy is an exceptional employee, contributing to her team, her division and to the agency as a whole.  She works tirelessly for CDLE whenever called upon regardless of how full her plate may be.  New tasks are handled with enthusiasm and confidence.  She collaborates with all those around her, engaging in teamwork to get jobs done, adapting to any bumps in the road, and demonstrating sheer excellence in the end product.   Her skills and work ethic were clearly demonstrated when she assisted HR with a new performance evaluation pilot. This was no small task, going far beyond the vision to put together training videos, all in addition to her regular workload. She then thought of ways to make the application more approachable, and when it was time to launch, she eagerly assisted with the new process becoming an advocate and facilitator for coworkers. This is just one example of Christy going above and beyond; there are many more, such as serving as Chair of the Values Committee, assisting other divisions and programs with “Go To Meeting” technology and making sure everything goes smoothly.

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Department of Local Affairs – Melissa Thate – Housing Program Assistant 

When you look in the dictionary at the definition of team player, you should see a picture of Melissa Thate.  She has an infectiously positive attitude and will work toward any goal and on any project that will support her team, and help Coloradoans.  In 2015, Melissa put her analytical skills to work when the budget passed, and the State Legislature required that the Division of Housing report on how their efforts to fund affordable housing saves the State money. Melissa compiled data from multiple imperfect sources, identified and corrected errors, and presented the data in a compelling manner – on time – for the Legislature. Melissa now leads all of our reporting efforts.  Her affinity for data and analysis will continue to benefit the Division as funding resources are studied. Local Affairs and the people of Colorado are fortunate to benefit from Melissa's expertise.

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Department of Military & Veterans Affairs – James Poteet – Veterans Service Officer

James Poteet is a senior State Veteran’s Service Officer for the Colorado Division of Veteran Affairs in Denver, Colorado. James is directly responsible for improving the economic development of nine thousand veterans and their families.  He is also tasked with the organization and training of newly-hired County Veteran Service Officers in a two-day boot camp that includes exposure to an on-line data system, use of reference materials to include United States Court of Appeals for Veteran Claims decisions, as well as scholarly and scientific research materials utilized to establish Veteran entitlements for the entire State.  James is considered a subject matter expert in the field of Veteran Affairs and is called upon by Federal government employees, Colorado County Veteran Service Officers, non-profits, and Veteran service organizations for educational and strategic assistance to help them fulfill their duties.  James’ superior performance and devotion to Colorado’s veterans and their families is in keeping with the highest traditions of the Colorado Department of Military and Veteran Affairs.

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Department of Natural Resources – Henrietta Turner – Licensing, Reservations and Retail Manager 

In her 33-year career, Henrietta Turner has embodied the best of what it means to be a State of Colorado employee. As a Colorado Parks and Wildlife employee, her dedication to Colorado’s natural resources is the foundation of her superior service. Henrietta deftly harnesses efficiency in her projects: bringing electronic licensing to CPW, integration of Child Support Enforcement into DNR recreational licensing, and spearheading integration of Parks and Wildlife products into one system. Her effective leadership is imprinted on the people and outcomes it has touched. She chooses to trust and respect staff to make decisions and directs their work to meet the project and agency goals. Henrietta embodies elegance through leadership and service. She personifies the importance of teaching us to be stewards of the resources and dollars entrusted to us; and to find joy in serving the people of Colorado. Henrietta’s integrity and dedication to all aspects of DNR, and her sincere interest in the success of its employees and mission, has left an indelible and positive mark on the people of this state.

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Department of Personnel & Administration – Cindy Goure – Manager of IDS Southern Region Operations

Cindy's responsibility includes the production scanning and data entry operations at the Integrated Document Solutions center in Pueblo.  IDS has partnered with the Department of Revenue for the past couple of years on completely re-engineering how the State handles incoming tax returns for millions of citizens.  The stress of the roll out of the new tax pipeline process has been relentless on Cindy and her team.  Often, this has entailed working evenings and weekends for weeks at a time.  Although the workload has been overwhelming at times, Cindy managed to maintain the morale of her team throughout, while clearing every hurdle that came their way.  Because of Cindy's efforts and leadership, her team proudly rallies around the slogan, "We never fail."  And they never do!

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Department of Public Health & Environment – Leslie Akin – Performance Improvement Specialist

Leslie Akin is here today because of her exemplary work as the department’s Accreditation Coordinator. She has worked for over two years to coordinate and lead the effort for CDPHE to become an accredited state health department. She worked independently to research the accreditation process, networked with other health departments, and has gained expert knowledge of the standards, measures and process for accreditation. In addition, Leslie started the Colorado Accreditation Coordinator’s Network which is designed to help support Colorado Local Public Health Agencies that are also working towards accreditation. Above all, Leslie’s professional, friendly and adaptable work style makes her a valued team member who has helped create improvements at CDPHE that will have long lasting impacts.

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Department of Public Safety – Susan Medina – Public Information Officer, Colorado Bureau of Investigation

Susan Medina has served as the Public Information Officer for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation since 2011.   Because the CBI's primary mission is to support other state and local law enforcement agencies, Susan is frequently called upon by small agencies to handle their media relations.  She does so with professionalism that is second to none. Her exceptional skills and commitment were recently illustrated when she handled a difficult press conference for the Park County Sheriff's Office following the tragic shooting death of Park County Corporal Nate Carrigan. Susan also oversees the CBI internal and external communications program, coordinates all Open Records responses, chairs the Cultural Values Team, and serves as a secondary PIO for the Colorado Department of Public Safety. Susan works tirelessly on behalf of the State of Colorado to serve its citizens with the utmost professionalism, transparency and dedication. She truly exemplifies excellence in public service.

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Department of Regulatory Agencies – Karen McGovern – Colorado Medical Board Program Director

Karen McGovern exemplifies the three E’s through her management of the Colorado Medical Board.  Karen’s leadership as Program Director has enhanced license mobility through the adoption of a forward-looking telehealth policy garnering national recognition from Politico, and paving the way for healthcare boards to encourage telehealth practice.  Karen also steered a contentious stakeholder process resulting in balanced, fair guidelines for physicians recommending medical marijuana. Karen pursues Lean to ensure the Board efficiently protects consumers, reducing the time for case resolution by decreasing the time from case opened to Board review by 67 percent.  She also masterminded efforts to decrease legal spending by half-a-million dollars, while reducing backlog and lowering licensing fees. Karen is a leader in the Division, and shares best practices by mentoring others.  She exceeds expectations as a public servant as evidenced by her volunteer efforts to clean out an abandoned physician’s practice so that patients could retrieve their records.  Her public role personally exposed her to a security threat this year, and Karen’s brave handling of the matter protected her staff and members of the Board.

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Department of Revenue – Susan Spriggs, Legislative and Strategic Coordinator

Sue Spriggs regularly tracks legislation and works on internal communications for the Department of Revenue. Outside of her normal duties, however, Sue directs and coordinates Department efforts for committees and events that celebrate the efforts of state employees. One of her most notable efforts is leading the committee that created the “Starfish Award.” This award is presented by the Executive Director each month, recognizing employees that have made a positive difference to our customers.  Sue has also spearheaded committees to provide assistance to organizations that help the disadvantaged, such as “Pencils for Pupils.” Sue consistently goes above and beyond to recognize the efforts of everyone else, and does so much to provide an upbeat work environment.   She is dedicated to her job and to the employees of DOR.  For these reasons SHE deserves to be recognized today for her hard work and her leadership efforts within the department.

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Department of Transportation – Jason Fernandez – Transportation Maintenance II

Earlier his year a woman was driving southbound on Hwy 285 in a car with two infants and a friend, when she hit some black ice and slid off the road over a ledge and down a huge hill into some trees.  Jason observed some unusual tracks on the road and decided to investigate.  He found a car more than 100-feet off the road, down beneath a massive tree where no one would have ever seen them. Jason pulled the two women and their children out of their wrecked vehicle, helped them up a snowy hill, and placed them in his vehicle to get warm. He then contacted the Colorado State Patrol and Triple A for further assistance.  While the victims stayed inside his vehicle to get warm, Jason waited outside in the cold for the arrival of the CSP, Triple A, and the women’s families, making sure everyone was safe and accounted for before returning to his duties.  Jason is here today because he embodies the definition of a real hero.

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Governor’s Office – Lisa Carpenter, Deputy for Strategic Operations

Lisa’s duties technically fall under the policy shop, but she is the absolute go to for everyone in the Governor's office.  Due to her wealth of knowledge she eagerly jumps in and helps everyone and anyone in the office with any and every task. She routinely takes on projects consistently outside her area, and is truly a team player.  She can be counted on anytime something needs to be done.  There is not a single event or action Lisa takes that qualifies her for today’s recognition.  Every day is a testament to her optimism and dedication to the myriad of talents that it takes to run a Governor’s office.  In this regard Lisa is an irreplaceable asset, day in and day out, in the Governor's office.

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Office of Economic Development and International Trade – Kerry Miller – Accounting Manager

Kerry Miller has been a change maker ever since joining OEDIT in June 2015, stepping in to lead the accounting function in the midst of system conversion challenges, team turnover, and agency leadership transition.  She has consistently demonstrated EFFICIENCY in both process evaluation and process improvement across all aspects of agency transactional management, and has EFFECTIVELY designed and produced recurring monthly financial reports, and improved internal controls for budget management.  Above all, Kerry has approached her role first and foremost by focusing on customer service, ELEGANTLY by partnering with OEDIT program staff to resolve issues, seek creative solutions, and collaborate - all in the spirit of meeting program objectives and delivering results for OEDIT beneficiaries.  Kerry continues to move the needle on the accounting function towards that of a strategic partner for each of our diverse OEDIT divisions, elevating the team based on trust, teamwork, and consistency.

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Governor’s Office of Information Technology – Grant Gardner – Service Desk Manager

As one of OIT’s Service Desk Managers, Grant Gardner has a tremendously positive impact on agency customers, as well as his fellow employees. One co-worker wrote: “During the fifteen years that I have known Grant, I have always been impressed by his outstanding diligence and his high level of customer service. He demonstrates unmatched credibility and sincerity in his work, working with other teams and our customers.”  What really speaks volumes is that a customer also asked that he be considered for today’s honor.  He writes, “Grant runs a team which has high morale, a clear mission, and good camaraderie – exactly the conditions that make emergencies unlikely. Instead of heroics, Grant’s team produces politeness, elegance, quick service, and honest interactions. If more managers were like him, Colorado state government would be even more effective, efficient and elegant.” OIT couldn’t have said it better!

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