NASCIO Honors Three Public Servants with State Technology Innovator Award

LEXINGTON, Ky., Thursday, October 15 —The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) presented the State Technology Innovator Award to three deserving public servants during the 2020 NASCIO Virtual Annual Conference. The NASCIO State Technology Innovator Award honors outstanding state government employees who have made contributions to advance state technology policy through the promotion of best practices, adoption of new technologies and advancements in service delivery. Nominations were gathered from NASCIO members as well as non-members and selected by the NASCIO Executive Committee.

The following are the recipients of the 2020 NASCIO State Technology Innovator Award:

Everton Heron
Information Systems Technology Manager, TennCare, Tennessee

Leveraging 20+ years of experience in implementing and integrating technical solutions, Everton has played a key role in ushering TennCare into an era of exciting new capabilities. Leading 65+ vendor relationships and 30+ TennCare employees, Everton acts as the bridge between the TennCare compliance and technology organizations. His vision has streamlined redundant approvals and shortened compliance processes that once took four weeks to three days, making for efficient, customer-centric service for 1.7 million members. His work on the Tennessee Eligibility Determination System, which leverages cutting-edge cloud computing and automation, provided Tennesseans with increased access and ownership of their healthcare. Everton led the migration of Tennessee’s data and applications to the cloud, minimizing costs and maximizing security. Additionally, his expertise of state regulations and cloud computing created an alliance among state agencies and supporting vendors for other state programs.

Kierston Howard
Deputy Director, Dept of Labor and Employment, Colorado

When COVID-19 hit Colorado, the Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) experienced an enormous surge in unemployment claims, taxing their systems, call centers, and unemployent insurance teams. Kierston Howard, Deputy Director of Unemployment Insurance, realized there was a shortage of people to tackle the amount of claims coming in. She acted quickly and turned to technology to help triage all the requests and get citizens access to the information they needed to resolve their unemployment claim issues. Kierston leveraged the power of artificial intelligence launching a virtual agent to offload calls from CDLE’s taxed call center and triage the most frequent questions and requests from claimants. Since the launch in July, there have been more than 350,000 virtual agent sessions with less than 15% of sessions resulting in requested callbacks. Citizens no longer receive busy signals when calling in for help and are getting access to representatives who can assist them with their claims.

Douglas Smith
Chief Information Officer, Dept of Legal Affairs, Office of the Attorney General, Florida

Douglas Smith, Chief Information Officer for the Florida Office of Attorney General, led the effort to onboard an innovative approach for modernizing the entire IT application portfolio using cloud-based technologies. Mr. Smith’s efforts to modernize the enterprise content management back-office applications as well as the case management and customer relationship management systems, will bring expedited access to critical legal case data and greatly improve the efficiencies for state agency interactions in the handling of cases. The Florida Attorney General’s Office is the first major entity to modernize its entire portfolio in the state of Florida.

NASCIO Contact
Meredith Ward
Director of Policy and Research
National Association of State Chief Information Officers