The 5281 Award recognizes individuals and teams that exemplified the STARS (Service, Teamwork, Accountability, Respect and Safety) values, supported sustainability practices, and help to deliver a world class city by achieving one or more of the City's Five Goals:

  1. To spur new economic opportunities.
  2. To increase opportunities for Denver’s Kids.
  3. To foster a strong relationship between our residents and Denver’s safety departments and strengthen the safety net to protect our most vulnerable residents.
  4. To transform city government to provide the highest quality services at the lowest possible costs.
  5. To re-energize the city’s commitment to environmental, economic and social sustainability to make Denver the most livable city in America.

2014 Winners

At DIA integrating two separate business units -- Contract Administration and Contract Procurement -- into one unit was going to be a challenge. Getting the staff to buy into learning one system would take a true leader. Enter, Hyde Archuleta. She identified an immediate area of development in the training of the two teams. Since there were no documented user guides for the various systems, and having to learn the system herself; Hyde developed more robust “how-to” notes that employees from both units could understand. Because Hyde’s notes worked so well, they served as the basis of the Contract Management unit’s official user manual for four systems. Additionally, Hyde has been able to exceed expectations of Contract Administration by taking only 3.80 days to audit and process invoices versus the norm of seven days. And, in Contract Procurement, she has procured 56 contracts in just 194 days. As one of her team members said, “Hyde is one lean, mean Contract Management customer-centric machine!”
In 2012 Dr. Nita Mosby Henry spearheaded a critical agency redesign which focused on changing the look, touch, and feel of how Human Resources was delivered throughout Denver City Government. These changes included a name change from CSA to Office of Human Resources or OHR – to reflect the close strategic relationship with the agencies it served, and delivering a dedicated complete HR Service Delivery team for thirteen City agencies. She paved the way for City and County of Denver to become a true learning organization through the development of Denver City Employee University (“City U”) - the first ever modernized training and development program for all city employees, and in just two months has reached over 900 employees, of which 171 employees have completed courses. She has also inspired a reformed city-wide wellness program that is on the path to becoming a national model. Her commitment to the community is found in two programs – the Inclusivity Project, which leads the City to be more inclusive of the community it serves, and Denver P.A.T.H.S. (Personal Advancement To Higher Success) which enables OHR to help program participants with the valuable stepping stones that lead to employment, professional success, and economic empowerment. Additionally, under Nita’s leadership, OHR returned over $400,000 to the City’s General Fund; processed over 88,000 employment applications; and in 2013 hired its first military veteran from the “Boots to Suits” program that is a partnership with the University of Colorado-Denver.
Sherri takes her job to the streets, literally. When Sherri, a Right-of-Way construction inspector, took on the Highpointe Development Project in Southeast Denver she became an integral part of the entire project. Due to the complexity of the project, and its close proximity to the residential neighborhood many challenges arose – from parking for residents and site workers, detours to other right-of-way issues. Sherri not only managed multiple contractors, but she assumed the role of “representative” for the City, District Four, and even the residents in the development area. Sherri spent many hours at the site working with contractors to correct the problems, but also worked on communication with the residents and was available to them at any time. She was in constant communication with the District 4 council office, to inform them about the project schedules and the daily concerns of the neighborhood. Her involvement and efforts helped smooth out a very contentious situation. As a result, Sherri’s provided the highest level of service and helped the project moved forward in a timely manner, and created better communication between the Council office, the City, the contractors and the residents.
David’s combined respect for self and others, and ability to know almost everything about anything City related, puts him at the top of customer service delivery. David’s knowledge of the City, its agencies, staff, and history is nothing short of amazing -- his team calls him, a “one-man Wikipedia.” Employees from City agencies have relied on David to provide expertise in the area of training and development, and other software knowledge. In August 2013, David assumed the role of Program Manager of the newly created Denver City Employee University(CityU). It became his responsibility to advise, coordinate, and create new policies and procedures for the delivery and tracking of all Employee Training, all while integrating a new training service provider with existing City systems. Through his leadership, the entire Office of Human Resources Training team has learned to navigate the intricacies of multiple systems. He continues to travel throughout the numerous City agencies to ensure that they are introduced to and comfortable with the utilization of the City U programs and processes. With David’s help the City and County of Denver is creating greater professional growth opportunities for all City employees.
Alex Polzine is a problem solver, no matter what it takes. In June of 2013, when he supervised the DIA Tower Road Snow Handling Facility Upgrade Project, he made some critical time and money saving decisions to get the project completed on schedule and under budget. Due to budget restrictions everything had to be done in-house from design, to equipment specs, purchases, construction and installation. Also, Alex and his team were fighting a hectic completion schedule through the rainiest season Denver had seen in years. All of this meant that Alex had to use his employees to peak advantage to deliver the highest quality of services as the lowest possible costs in order to get the project done before the snow season. Throughout the project Alex was faced with several challenges like an inoperative plumbing design issue, which his team was able to diagnose, fix and have working in just one day. Another challenge was retrieving a transmitter from on top of a pole. Now this is the interesting part of Alex’s “get it done” work ethic. During the project the team was given a free transmitter to be used for the airport’s de-icing control system. The problem was that the transmitter needed to be retrieved from a tall pole via a bucket truck. Due to the extremely rainy weather the truck couldn’t be used, which kept delaying the process. As time became critical, Alex made a command decision. Not wanting to endanger anyone else, Alex safely climbed the pole himself and retrieved the transmitter. The team built a tower for the transmitter, and had it up running for the de-icing control system just in time for the snow season. The project manager estimates that Alex and his team’s efforts throughout the project saved DIA over $250,000.
Curtis was nominated for his proven cost savings and possible revenue generating processes for the City and County of Denver. He was responsible for identifying the requirement for a new offender monitoring system for the City’s Safety Department. Curtis developed a new Request for Proposal (RFP) procurement process that was not only for Denver vendors, but an opportunity for national vendors to win a contract with the City. Because of Curtis’s vision to expand the RFP process, the City was able to obtain two systems that resulted in an estimated cost savings of $60, 000 in hard costs, and further soft cost savings associated with man-hours. Curtis’s actions in the RFP process is being felt nationwide and have provided Denver an opportunity to generate additional revenue. In January of 2014, Curtis presented the bid results to the US Communities board of directors, and purchasing representatives from other US cities and counties. The pricing that was received from Curtis’s process was very favorable, and if these other municipalities use Curtis’s process 1% of the fees vendors receive will be submitted to Denver as the lead agency in the process. The estimated funds remitted to the City’s General Fund may be as high as $100,000.
Since the inception of voters approving Medical marijuana to be sold in the City of Denver, Ruthie had been the sole source of contact, expertise, willingness and licensing for the entire City of Denver. She kept Excise and License, and the City afloat during this process by being a consummate professional and exemplifying the STARS values through top customer services, planning and communication to everyone involved. Ruthie volunteered when no one else wanted to touch the new licensing process that would need to be created from scratch with no template to follow. She committed her days and nights to the project and stayed past midnight to ensure licenses were issued and customers were finger printed. Because of Ruthie’s efforts both the marijuana industry and the City have seen a positive financial impact from this new niche market. Additionally, Retail marijuana is up running and successful in Denver and if it were not for Ruthie’s dedication to developing a licensing process for the Medical marijuana industry, there would not be as many eligible Retail marijuana stores, which are also contributing to the City’s financial impact.
Dave has always built excellent relationships with our internal and external customers. His conflict resolution, communication and customer service skills put him at the forefront of resolving one issue with an airline’s concern over water quality for potable water cabinets for the airplanes. Dave immediately put the airline’s concerns at ease by providing the water quality report and changing out sun damaged water hoses, which were discolored. Dave was also instrumental in the design of Tower Road Chemical Tank Project. The initial was bid for $413,000, and he was able to eliminate unnecessary cost and items bring the estimate cost down to $233,000 – saving DIA approximately 42% on the project. Not only are Dave’s customer service skills top notch, but his ability to provide cost saving ideas on projects demonstrates his commitment to DIA and his department.
Amber was actively engaged in reviewing processes and procedures related to Wastewater Management’s lien notification mailings as part of her Peak Academy project. She found that Wastewater was spending up to $50,000 annually mailing notifications letters via certified mail versus first class mail. Amber coordinated with the City Attorney’s Office and Wastewater financial management and determined that there were no legal requirements or financial constraints that would require Wastewater to continue using certified mailings. After submitting a suggestion to her supervisor to approve changing the mailing process for lien notifications, the process was approved. The City saw a hard cost savings of $46,000 in annual postage expenses and soft savings related to staff time and resources directed to more critical functions. She has received accolades from Public Works and Governing Magazine for her work.
Derek successfully communicated and designed several of the Office of Economic Development’s programs and plans. His methods were instrumental in effectively reaching the internal City decision makers, the public, and businesses of OED’s programs, services, efforts and outcomes. Derek worked closely with the City and OED Leadership, program staff and non-city partners to develop materials that helped communicate clear measurable outcomes, reports and metrics. Because of Derek’s efforts, the results were -- increased city-wide awareness of OED programs like JumpStart 2013 (OED’s annual work plan), OED’s three-year strategy summary, Mayor Hancock’s Smart Jobs brochures, and supporting presentations. Derek’s ability to increase awareness around OED’s programs, media briefings and social media highlights created an improved clarity and increased support coordination with other City agencies and community partners, and is being modeled with other City programs and partners.

2014 Team Winners

In 2013, Denver Human Services identified two main issues 1) customers were not getting public assistance benefits in a timely manner and 2) children were spending too much time in the child protection before finding permanent placements. DHS needed to find a way to address these issues without increasing staff costs. DHS formed a LEAN Team comprised of four individuals who were responsible for leading the charge to a massive improvement in the system. Over several months the LEAN Team conducted an outstanding 19 Rapid Improvement Events that helped remove waste from processes, engaged staff in business improvements and educated staff on implementing the outcomes of the RIE.  Through the LEAN Team’s work, DHS reached it’s goals of creating a process that led to people receiving public assistance benefits in a more timely manner and kids spending less time in child protective services. The LEAN Team’s leadership has inspired a vision that is taking Human Services to the next level of service delivery for the community they serve.
In the spring of 2013, DIA’s Airport Infrastructure Management Division was given the challenging task of completing the Tower Road Snow Handling Facility Upgrade Project. The airport was being held to budget limitations and a tight schedule. The division had to do the project in-house, start to finish, from design to installation. The team faced many issues from a pumping system that needed to be upgraded, to installing a new a fluid monitoring system, and so much more. In other the words, the whole site needed to be demolished and rebuilt, all before the snow season started. The team worked out a plan and devised a strategic plan that would help them reach their goal. The project had three objectives: Meet the operational needs of the users, minimize material usage, and capture product spills during the truck loading operation, while providing environmental controls to help manage any tank or pipe leaks. Through the project, the team used their resources and expertise to do the project in-house. By doing all of the Engineering and Project Management themselves, the team saved a total of $1.1 million dollars.
The Fees and Fines Committee was a citywide committee that came together to recommend the Mayor waive credit card convenience fees from on-line payments from the public to the City and County of Denver. Removing this fee would incent customers to pay on-line, which is the cheapest and most efficient way for the City to do business. The committee reviewed a cost analysis of all tender acceptance types and also surveyed other jurisdictions in Colorado and across the country. They found that the City and citizens will save and estimated two million dollars annually. By eliminating the fee the City is now on par with private businesses, that don’t pass along credit card fees to customers. Denver is well ahead of other governmental entities in this regard and is continuing to provide world-class customer service.

The My Denver Recreation Team was tasked with creating a brand new quality recreation program to serve over 60,000 Denver kids within a six month time frame as a result of the successful 2A Initiative. They had to determine a method to track and provide identification cards to every school-aged child in Denver that could also work as their library card. They had to develop a program that provided healthy, creative, structured programming at 24 recreation centers across the City. The team worked collaboratively with libraries, the Mayor’s Office of Children’s Affairs, and with other city experts. Recognizing that overcoming childhood obesity is a driving factor in program development, they consulted with Children’s Hospital experts to assist in program development and tracking. Because of the My Denver Recreation team over 38,000 Denver kids have signed up for the My Denver card. To date, 60 percent of eligible children in Denver have accessed recreation centers.

Additionally, the United States Conference of Mayors awarded the “Livable City Award,” to the City and County of Denver, on behalf of the My Denver Program.

Car Share companies had showed interest in entering the Denver market for a while; however, policy and rules and regulations didn’t exist to support the permitting of the vehicles. Robert Ferrin and Cynthia Patton eagerly chose to tackle this project and implement policy to allow a vibrant car share system in Denver to compliment the current transportation infrastructure. This effort would spur economic opportunity and would re-energize the City’s commitment to environmental, economic and social sustainability to make Denver the most livable city in America. In 2009, Denver entered into a car share pilot program, and three years later Robert and Cindy started to formalize the policy and attract local and national car share companies. As a part of the process and to help guide policy, they worked with other cities to research car share programs. Implementation included a public hearing to adopt the policy, rules and regulations. The adoption of the new policy and rules & regulations resulted in several private car share companies entering the Denver market in 2013 with over 400 vehicles. The program has resulted in permit revenue to the City of $276,000 and $77,000 in estimated sales/ownership tax revenue. Car share companies that have recently expanded service to Denver include Ego, Car2Go, Zip Car, Hertz247, Occasional Car, and Enterprise Car Share. The program continues to grow and yields success in our city.

2014 Awards Ceremony

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