Mayor Hickenlooper Announces 2nd Annual Denver Urban Fellows

Mayor Hickenlooper Announces 2nd Annual Denver Urban Fellows


CONTACT: Lindy Eichenbaum Lent
(720) 865-9016

Mayor Hickenlooper Announces 2nd Annual Denver Urban Fellows

Technical experts from city government and private sector to assist with major City initiatives.

(DENVER) Mayor John Hickenlooper will introduce the six fellows chosen for the second annual Denver Fellowship in Urban Government at Tuesday’s Mayor-Council meeting. The competitive fellowship application process resulted in the selection of four city employees and – as a new feature in this second phase of the program – two local senior executives from the private sector.

The private-sector fellows, who will receive no compensation from the City, will volunteer their time to work on reform initiatives as their schedules permit. The city employees are full-time Denver Urban Fellows; they will retain their current salaries and return to their previously held City positions at the end of their one-year assignments. All Fellows will work in the Denver Office of Accountability and Reform, which is part of the Mayor’s Office.

“The ability to tap into the existing talent and expertise of the City workforce was invaluable last year in helping to establish the city’s goals, developing performance contracts for department heads, creating the Denver Listens public feedback series, and laying the foundation for new initiatives like the 3-1-1 customer service call center and Operations Review,” said Mayor Hickenlooper. “We are grateful to our first round of Denver Urban Fellows for their efforts and we are excited about this new team. Denver citizens will reap the benefits of the improved performance measurements and customer service initiatives that these creative and enthusiastic Fellows will help create.”

In the coming year, the Fellows’ primary focus will be on Denver’s new 3-1-1 customer service initiative and the citywide departmental Operations Review initiative.

“The new private sector component of this fellowship will enable us to import ideas and experiences from the private sector in developing new programs and initiatives to benefit our employees and customers,” said Dana Bryson, director of the Denver Office of Accountability and Reform. “We are grateful to the Fellows – both old and new, public sector and private – for their willingness to help move the city forward.”

The four City employees named as 2005 Denver Urban Fellows are the following:

Nike Okediji has worked for the City for three years, most recently with the Division of Workforce Development where she helped local businesses with their workforce needs. She was previously the assistant director of an educational testing service center. She graduated from the University of Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in political science and ethnic studies and received a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Colorado.

Keith Raschke is as an environmental scientist in the Department of Environmental Health. During his 13 years of working for the City, he has served in numerous engineering and management roles. He is a Colorado registered Professional Engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and a Master of Science degree from the University of Colorado.

Matt Robbins has spent four years as a certified recreation coordinator with the City at Cook Park. Using innovation and resolve, Matt expanded programming for the youth of southeast Denver and established an annual volunteer recognition event. He also helped to create the "Game Time" document, a blueprint for the delivery of citywide youth development programs. In addition to being an Olympic athlete in field hockey, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Eastern Michigan University.

Peter Schmitt is a senior information technology developer with the Department of Safety, developing and supporting software applications for the Police, Sheriff, and Fire Departments. During his 15 years working for the City and County of Denver, he has also worked for the Building Inspection Division of Public Works. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer information systems from Regis University.

The two private sector fellows are the following:

Don Ulrich manages CH2M Hill’s Denver office, which serves Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and Kansas, and serves as a senior program manager and project management consultant for CH2M Hill’s major infrastructure programs for transportation, environmental projects, telecommunications projects, sustainable development and water resources projects. He has extensive experience in value management, project management oversight and management consulting; the 300 consulting studies he has managed have saved approximately $2 billion. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in urban planning, both from the University of Oregon.

Leslie Cullen is currently the vice president of Matrix Operations for Sirna Therapeutics, a biotech development company in Boulder. Over the past 15 years, she has worked with Fortune 500 companies as well as non-profits and city governments to produce breakthrough levels of internal operational change in accelerated timeframes. Her former clients include Dow Jones, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Genentech, the City of Northglenn, Qwest and Eli Lilly. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Massachusetts and a law degree from the University of Houston.

The Denver Office of Accountability and Reform (DOAR) is still interviewing for one to two additional private sector fellows: senior executives who have experience in customer service and/or measuring operational efficiency. Please contact DOAR at 720-865-9001 for more information.

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Posted on Jan 25, 2005 (Archive on Feb 24, 2005)
Posted by kpellegrin  Contributed by kpellegrin