Governor recognizes State employees for their public service

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Denver — Governor Jared Polis and Department of Personnel & Administration Executive Director Tony Gherardini recognized 23 state employees for their superior service to the people of Colorado during the past year. The ceremony at the Governor’s Residence on Tuesday, May 7, was held in conjunction with nationally-observed Public Service Recognition Week.  

To celebrate the important contributions of our state employees, the Governor’s Office and the Department of Personnel & Administration asked each state executive branch agency to select one employee who best exemplifies the significant and invaluable contributions public servants make to the quality of life in Colorado.

“These dedicated employees represent the highest standards of commitment we encourage in the state government workforce,” said State Personnel Director Tony Gherardini. “The selfless service of these individuals provides the citizens of Colorado with the best state in the nation to live, work, and play.”

Department Honorees

For more information, you can read a full narrative on each employee that was recognized for their contribution to State government, and the citizens of Colorado.

Department of Agriculture - Sonia Jacquez

Sonia’s dedication to advancing Colorado agriculture for all exemplifies the meaning of public service. As the Department of Agriculture’s Digital Media and Outreach Specialist, she has been instrumental in advancing the Department’s EDI efforts, and improving overall communication efforts to the public. Over the past year, Sonia has led the effort to translate press releases and other public material into Spanish, and has made significant contributions to updating our websites, social media content, and program newsletter. In addition, she has led our new efforts to incorporate Spanish interpretation for public meetings. Sonia’s work has allowed CDA to expand its communication and engagement with Coloradans who have not historically engaged with the Department. In addition, Sonia is quick to volunteer on the educational opportunities we provide to high school and college students who are becoming the next generation of agricultural leaders. Whether it is helping plan our educational engagement, or assisting in the logistics and communication to the students, Sonia always brings a positive attitude, creative thinking, and enthusiasm to these outreach events. Sonia embodies the core values of service, proactivity, partnership, respect, and professionalism. Sonia is always working to address the needs of our public stakeholders promptly and effectively, often going an extra mile to provide guidance and support. Thanks to Sonia’s work, CDA has made critical connections with new stakeholders, allowing them the opportunity to engage with the Department, and benefit from services we provide.

Department of Corrections - Erickson Morriss

Sgt. Morriss has consistently gone above and beyond his normal assignment, creating a positive impact over the performance of his area, and Complex with advances in the mission of the organization within his department. Sgt. Morriss has taken a significant amount of time to assist areas besides his own in in order to enhance their understanding of corrections and provide them with a positive training experience. He has received several compliments for his work ethic and ability to multi-task and assist others while continuing to perform his duties at a superior level. He has received recommendations from staff and supervisors and has taken those recommendations and utilized best practice to assist him in providing even better training to the complex employees as well as Facility Training Officers. Sgt. Morriss works extremely well with a multi-generational workforce, and gives the most to his fellow staff, subordinates and supervisors. His multi-disciplinary team approach with Medical Services, Maintenance, Food Service, Supervisors, and line staff go above and beyond what is expected out of a Sergeant within the training department. Utilizing this approach assists everyone involved in staying on top of their training needs. Sgt. Morriss also has become an instrumental part in the facility weapons training. He presents a calming demeanor to students, and helps them understand and become more enhanced shooters. 

Department of Early Childhood - Julie Chavez

Julie Chavez embodies the values of work ethic, ownership, level-headed problem solving, and agility to meet family and provider network needs. She levels up the teams she works with by empowering them to take on new responsibilities and provide insight and ideas. Her willingness to partner on any challenge, weigh tradeoffs, and help find a "better" path when "best" is not realistic, is providing a huge value to the Colorado Early Childhood community. What's more, she brings strong credibility with our key stakeholders, and works hard to build trust on a daily basis.  She embodies the true spirit of a public servant and is dedicated to the families we serve.

Department of Education - Wayne Peel

Wayne Peel joined CDE with decades of experience supporting agencies across the State of Colorado in making thoughtful, strategic, and informed decisions about how to be stewards of public funds. He has continued that work these past few years and has had a huge impact on how CDE operates in the best interest of Colorado students, schools, districts, and communities. Over the past year alone, Wayne has been instrumental in developing and implementing significant policy initiatives. For instance, his data analysis of the first year’s implementation for the Healthy School Meals for All program has been crucial as we learn from this year’s work to ensure that all students across Colorado will have access to school meals for years to come. In addition, Wayne has worked to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of CDE operations—both within the Budget team and across teams. He has used the past two years to build and cross-train his budget team while revising monthly budget reports to ensure that leaders are able to make thoughtful and strategic decisions on how to best leverage their funds in impacting the lives and outcomes of Colorado students. At the same time, he has provided his budget lens on process improvements in areas such as recruitment, onboarding, and accounting. Beyond the immense technical skills that Wayne brings to his work every day is, perhaps, his greatest strength: building relationships. He is a trusted confidant for staff across the Department and, for that matter, the State. The trusting relationships he has developed with counterparts at other agencies, the Office of State Planning and Budget, and the legislature are the basis on which we are able to build the initiatives that will drive success for Colorado students going forward.

Department of Health Care Policy & Financing - Rachel Entrican

Rachel Entrican serves as the Legal Division Director and Deputy Policy, Communication and Administration Office Director at the Department of Health Care Policy & Financing.  She has been with the Department nearly five years.  In addition to her work on mitigating risk while protecting the State and Health First Colorado members through unprecedented cyber security attacks, Department of Justice and other high profile negotiations and settlements related to improving access to benefits, Rachel leads transparency (CORA) and accessibility initiatives (ADA officer and team) at HCPF.   Her appeals staff are working to ensure members stay connected with coverage and benefits through their appeals process. Rachel’s leadership of this work has been especially important during the public health emergency and the subsequent federally mandated unwind of the continuous coverage benefit.  Rachel’s counsel was instrumental throughout the entire Public Health Emergency when the State had to navigate a once-in-a-generation pandemic. She analyzed emergency authorities, helped with executive orders and evolving emergency rules, State and federal actions.  Colorado’s nearly 1.3 million Medicaid members benefit from Rachel’s dedicated service. Rachel’s commitment to public service and deep compassion for members and their families is evident in all of her work. Prior to joining HCPF, Rachel served several years for the State as an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the Attorney General working on health care related issues.  Early in her public service career, she served as a volunteer in the Peace Corps where she developed  a passion for vaccine availability and education after seeing the public health impacts first hand. 

Department of History Colorado - Ani Steele

Ani started with History Colorado in September of 2022, and we are all made better by her decision to serve the state. After spending nearly eight years as a social worker, Ani turned her sights on tourism and the equitable representation of marginalized communities graduating from Chatham University with a master's degree in Food Studies. In her role as Public Programs Manager, she catalyzes community partnerships into authentic expressions of joy, curiosity, and learning for all.  She has a special gift for building safe, collaborative spaces where locals are the experts, elders are valued, and underrepresented communities are amplified.   Her passion for food, history,  culture, and Colorado has set the table for many impactful conversations through innovative programs series like “Stories Through Food” and “Blaxplanation.” Stories Through Food centers on the experiences and histories of Colorado communities, using food as the common thread to tie us together. The Blaxplanation program explores the stories of Colorado’s Black diaspora—outside the context of slavery—with national or international impact. Reclaiming its name from the Blaxploitation genre of the 70s, this program addresses racist and discriminatory understandings of Black life. As an emerging leader in our organization and beyond, Ani prefers to shine the light on others. She thrives when helping others excel and grow. For this and all of the reasons under the sun, we are thrilled for her to be recognized. 

Department of Human Services - Anders Jacobson

Anders Jacobson has been with the Division of Youth Services for 24 years. He started as a direct services staff, rising to serving as Director in 2016. Under Anders' tenure, he has shepherded in several sweeping changes to offer innovative services to youth in care, including the implementation of homelike environments, the Sanctuary Model, a "smaller is better" focus to better serve youth. As a result of these changes, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care awarded the entirety of DYS the Program of the Year, putting Colorado at the forefront of integrated and comprehensive medical and behavioral health services, a tremendous honor typically reserved for a single facility in the United States. Anders broadly has been recognized by several national organizations. Most recently, the Council of Juvenile Justice Administrators awarded Anders the 2023 Juvenile Justice Administrators President’s Award for his unwavering commitment to juvenile justice reform, and extraordinary leadership. Thanks to Anders’ leadership, Colorado boasts one of the lowest youth recidivism rates nationwide, has drastically reduced fights and use of restraints, and is nationally recognized for reducing the use of seclusion. In short, he has led the nation in building a better system for juvenile justice-involved youth. Beyond these enormous contributions, Anders models a dedication, humility, and commitment to continuous improvement that is rarely seen in public service careers of this longevity. Anders’ North Star is truly youth well-being, and no matter how impressive the accomplishments and how broad the improvements are, he is unwavering in his mission to always find new and innovative ways to help young people be successful.

Department of Labor & Employment - Britt Otter

CDLE proudly names Britt Otter as its PSRW Honoree. Britt serves as the Web Accessibility Administrator in Labor Standards & Statistics. Her impact goes beyond her job description, spearheading initiatives that ensure accessibility for all Coloradans. Britt’s contributions are evident in her efforts to overhaul external and internal materials for accessibility ahead of legal deadlines. She led the charge in transforming nearly two-thirds of Labor Market Information content into accessible formats. Her collaboration with external vendors enhanced Colorado’s resources and influenced accessibility improvements nationwide—she’s helped over 30 states improve their accessibility! Her efforts don’t stop there. She’s played a significant role in ensuring web pages and documents are accessible, even creating tools to track progress. She’s conducted thorough reviews and training sessions, elevating accessibility standards department-wide and fostering collaboration with other agencies. What really sets Britt apart is her kindness and genuine willingness to help others. She’s not just a skilled professional, she is a patient teacher, guiding colleagues through the process of making our work accessible. Her involvement in various committees and affinity groups shows her commitment to making a difference beyond her immediate responsibilities. Britt’s work aligns with CDLE’s mission and exemplifies the value of public service, making her a true asset to the department and community.

Department of Local Affairs - Elizabeth Garner

Elizabeth Garner is a highly deserving candidate for a public service recognition award due to her exemplary leadership and dedication as the Colorado State Demographer. Since 2004, Elizabeth has skillfully directed the State Demography Office within the Department of Local Affairs, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to understanding and addressing the social and economic challenges facing Coloradans. With over 25 years of experience in analyzing population and economic trends, Elizabeth's expertise has been invaluable. She plays a pivotal role in applying demographic insights to inform changes in critical areas such as the economy, workforce, education, housing, migration, and rural populations. Elizabeth's tireless efforts extend beyond mere data analysis. She actively engages with communities statewide, fostering dialogue and understanding about the complex dynamics shaping Colorado's social and economic landscape. Her ability to translate demographic trends into actionable insights has contributed significantly to the state's strategic planning and development efforts. From analyzing Census 2020 results, to assessing the demographic impacts of COVID-19, and studying housing supply and demand dynamics, she anticipates the state's evolving needs. Born and raised in Colorado, Elizabeth's personal connection to the state adds depth to her work, amplifying her passion for improving the lives of fellow Coloradans. Her academic background in economics, coupled with her practical experience, equips her with a comprehensive understanding of the issues at hand. In recognition of her outstanding contributions to public service and her instrumental role in advancing the well-being of Colorado's residents, Elizabeth Garner undoubtedly deserves commendation and recognition. Her dedication, expertise, and leadership serve as a shining example of excellence in public service.

Department of Military & Veterans Affairs - Breanna Bang

In just one year at the DMVA, Breanna Bang has profoundly improved service quality, efficiency, and scope, demonstrating exceptional dedication and innovative thinking. Through her initiative, the DMVA's internal and external digital landscapes have seen remarkable enhancements, notably by creating a comprehensive SharePoint page. This platform now serves as a pivotal resource for the Chief Operating Officer’s repository content, training resources, HR materials, safety guidelines, and much more, significantly boosting organizational efficiency and accessibility. Breanna's insightful feedback on the new Tuition Assistance software selection exemplifies her commitment to cost-effectiveness and meeting the specific needs of service members and staff. Moreover, her development of user-friendly video tutorials and guides has streamlined daily operations, enhancing employee productivity and morale. By simplifying forms and implementing an efficient reporting structure, she has saved countless hours of manual data entry, further reflecting her impact on operational efficiency.  Additionally, Breanna's proactive measures in securing veterans' archives against potential fraud underscore her dedication to service member security. Her collaboration with the Office of Information Technology has led to innovative communication improvements across the DMVA, maintaining the department's leading position in ADA compliance. Breanna's work ethic, characterized by her credibility, responsiveness, and innovative problem-solving approach, has contributed to the modernization of DMVA operations and fostered a supportive and productive work environment. Her ability to communicate effectively, willingness to assist colleagues, and determination to find solutions exemplify her invaluable contribution to the organization.

Department of Natural Resources - Carly Jacobs

Carly Jacobs, DNR’s Chief Planning and Budget Officer, is the consummate public servant as she influences, perfects and makes possible nearly all the work we accomplish on behalf of the State’s natural resources.  Carly is knowledgeable of the State’s complex budget, but it’s the remarkable degree of integrity,  hard work and transparency through which she conducts herself that garners her colleagues’ admiration.  She is always available and promptly responsive to her colleagues, is solution-oriented, and dedicates long hours to make sure each budget request, submission, report and fiscal note is given the greatest attention to detail.  This legislative session, Carly has received exceptional praise from the JBC and other committees for her bar setting impeccable budget submissions and SMART Act presentations.  Carly is integral to DNR’s work.  She implements a rigorous but structured budget-setting process, effectively communicates expectations, and efficiently works with each division through budget submission with the precision of a conductor leading an orchestra.  Since Carly took over her position with DNR, its budget requests have sailed through with a high degree of success and praise.  When under tight resource limitations, Carly thinks holistically to put well-reasoned options on the table for thoughtful consideration.  DNR’s work would not be possible without her. Carly is exactly the type of public servant Colorado expects and appreciates, and she exemplifies the significant and invaluable contributions public servants make to the quality of life in our state.

Department of Personnel & Administration - Michael Piazza

Michael Piazza has been a cornerstone of the Department of Personnel & Administration’s Human Resources Unit for over 5 years. As the employee who manages new employee onboarding, he is the first person employees meet when joining the department, and his outgoing personality and demeanor set the tone as new employees embark on a new career path.

Michael approaches his work with an unwavering integrity and desire to create a positive experience for each and every employee at DPA. His commitment embodies the spirit of public service; he meets each unique challenge with determination and a genuine eagerness to help others.

He has developed and delivered DPA’s comprehensive onboarding program. He helped lead a years-long project modernizing several of the department’s HR information systems as the lead system administrator, which included incredibly complex configuration and required intensive collaboration across multiple vendor teams, stakeholders, and OIT. He’s also provided innovative approaches to training and supporting leaders in DPA’s semi-annual performance management processes. Michael’s passion for delivering meaningful solutions to our internal customers shines through as an example of the impact one person can have on an organization and the experience of its employees.

These highlights exist in addition to all of the other support that Michael continues to provide to the HR Unit on an ongoing basis, enabling them to remain focused on the needs of leaders and employees as they arise. Michael represents both the foundation and heart of the organization, precisely because of the genuine care, compassion, and enthusiasm that he brings to his work.

Department of Public Health & Environment - Emily Fine

Over the past two years, Em Fine has led a series of quality improvements in the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey that have improved timeliness in the release of data, communications with media members, communications with the youth and their families who respond to the survey, and overall trust in the survey.  She has eliminated redundancies, and shortened the time required for youth to complete the survey, all without compromising the information we collect. She has secured funding to support the survey into the future years, positioning the Survey for long-term success. Em’s efforts exemplify the spirit of customer service that this award is designed to celebrate. With this survey, she recognized an opportunity to improve the experience of our many customers, not just in completing the survey, but also in easing the concerns that some families have expressed about the survey, and speeding the release of the critical data we collect. Schools have also benefited from the shortening of the survey, leaving more time for educational activities. We are proud to celebrate Em’s achievements in improving this instrument that delivers key visibility into the health challenges Colorado’s children face each and every day. With improved transparency, elected officials, public health practitioners, and educators are all armed with clear and comprehensive data to inform the decisions made in caring for Colorado’s future leaders.

Department of Public Safety - Avery Trujillo

Throughout 2023, Trooper Avery Trujillo demonstrated outstanding work performance. His actions significantly exceeded expectations of him, as he exemplified the State Patrol’s Core Values of Honor, Duty, and Respect. There are three incidents where Trooper Trujillo's actions largely reflect this. First, on April 13, 2023, Trooper Trujillo was dispatched to a single-vehicle rollover crash involving seven teenagers. While checking on the occupants, he noticed the EMS members were overwhelmed. Trooper Trujillo immediately stepped in, using his previous EMS experience. His actions were instrumental in rapidly calming a chaotic situation. Second, on May 1, 2023, Trooper Trujillo assisted with a DUI crash. Upon seeing two car seats in the vehicle and considering the circumstances, Trooper Trujillo had a welfare check conducted at the driver’s residence. Local authorities found a four-year-old autistic child and a two-year-old at home by themselves. An ambulance and Child Protective Services came to the home, took custody of the children, and turned them over to their aunt, protecting those children from further harm. Finally, on July 7, 2023, Trooper Trujillo assisted with another DUI crash. He learned that the intoxicated driver involved was supposed to take baby formula to his family in Glade Park. Trooper Trujillo drove to Glade Park for a welfare check. When he arrived, he found the mom and baby and learned they were without water and formula and were stranded without a vehicle. He drove back into town, purchased water and formula with his own money, and retrieved the car seat and stroller from their crashed vehicle at the tow yard. The family was most grateful for the lengths Trooper Trujillo went to, to care for them. Trooper Trujillo's actions, noted above, show that he cares for his community and goes “above and beyond” as his daily commitment.

Department of Regulatory Agencies - Joseph E. Berry III

Joseph Berry, known to his coworkers as Jeb, has been an investigator with the Division of Professions and Occupatons’ Office of Investigations for eight years. He investigates and inspects for many of the boards and programs regulated by DPO, and this nomination is sin recognition of his performing funeral home and crematory inspections. Jeb has become a funeral home and crematory inspection expert in the Division. He is often the first investigator called upon when one of these facilities needs to be inspected or investigated, and he has trained many other investigators to conduct these types inspections. Ad you may have heard on the news, in October 2023, DPO received a complaint regarding the Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose. Jeb was one of the first persons to enter the building with county officials and law enforcement. There have been many stories detailing what was inside the building, including approximately 190 improperly stored human remains. Despite the abhorrent conditions, Jeb provided subject matter expertise, obtained information for his investigation, and stayed on scene in the ensuing days to answer questions and provide further assistance. The evidence Jeb gathered, and the expertise he provided, were important factors relating to the criminal charges that were eventually filed, as well as the Division’s ability to file a cease and desist order against this location and a summary suspension against another funeral home. Since this incident, Jeb has continued to inspect and train additional investigators as funeral home inspections have increased. His expertise has been, and will continue to be a key component of restoring trust in the funeral home and crematory industry in Colorado.

Department of Revenue - Paul Flores

Paul Flores epitomizes service to others, and he lives DOR’s core values of service, teamwork, accountability, integrity and respect every day he comes to work. If you have to interact with Paul, your day is better as a result. Paul is always willing to help, learn, and teach others. Paul never says, “That’s not my job.” It doesn’t matter how busy he is - and he is busy - he will find you the person you need. Paul will always go above and beyond. Paul provides exceptional service to those he works with and the members of the public he serves. Have I mentioned Paul works in the happy world of Income Tax? Public perception of Income Tax is like beginning a 1-on-1 basketball game spotting the other player 10 points and you are playing to 11. Paul still wins.  He ensures that issues are addressed timely, and the resolutions are transparent and easily understood. His work and his determinations are always accurate, and he looks at all potential resolutions in a holistic manner and from the perspective of the customers he serves. Paul is always respectful, kind and inclusive in his interactions. Customers love Paul, coworkers love Paul, and he represents DOR and the entire state in exemplary fashion. Whether helping a taxpayer, working with other state agencies, or fielding a complicated question for our legislative liaison team, the department can count on Paul. Simply put, if you are dealing with income taxes and you get Paul, you will be soon telling everyone, you better call Paul, and Paul will answer.

Department of Transportation - David Fox

David knows that the lack of attainable housing in Colorado’s mountain towns has made it difficult to recruit, retain, and develop a diverse and productive workforce within CDOT. Through his leadership, David created and implemented the first in the nation “State DOT” workforce housing program. In 2019, David’s efforts led to the first CDOT workforce housing units in Glenwood Springs as part of a public-private partnership. These units helped CDOT and CSP staff critical positions that had been vacant for, in some cases, more than two years. In 2023, under David’s guidance, CDOT’s property management team launched its two most significant workforce housing projects to date. First to break ground was the Granite Park project, also a first in the nation for a State DOT, and is a joint effort with the town of Frisco. The second is the Hathaway Project in Fairplay, which will support four mountain maintenance patrols and CSP Troopers. These projects are being built on CDOT-owned land, meaning no additional cost to taxpayers. David will also manage several upcoming capital projects. He is leading the way for apartments in Gypsum, Steamboat, Ouray, and single-family homes in Basalt and Edwards as part of a broader state effort at our CDOT Dowd Junction Maintenance Facility. David has cultivated strong relationships with stakeholders and has displayed an ability for creative problem-solving that has earned the respect and admiration of his peers. CDOT and the state of Colorado are very fortunate to have such a dedicated individual helping lead these groundbreaking efforts that benefit our employees and Colorado citizens. His exemplary leadership and commitment to public service exemplify the best of our organization, and his contributions will have an impact for years to come. 

Governor's Office - Jugbeh Charles

Jugbeh has poured her heart and soul into executing the Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund with fidelity and integrity since she started in this position in 2022. Jugbeh works directly with subgrantees, our federal partners at the Department of Education, and the rest of the GEER state team to ensure that we have obligated and spent nearly 100 million dollars in federal GEER funds to date. As a result of her hard work and dedication, this past year, we were able to successfully obligate 98.78% of our funds, which is truly an enormous feat. She stays on calls with subrecipients after work hours to help them work out their problems and is dedicated to ensuring that we uphold the State of Colorado's reputation as an innovative state that successfully executes our federal obligations.

OSPB - Nora Owen

Nora Owen is a fastidious OSPB analyst assigned to the Department of Corrections. The DOC portfolio includes unique financial and policy challenges, a JBC counterpart with strong opinions, and caseload models that are under constant and considerable internal and external scrutiny. To be successful, Nora must understand the complexity of DOC, coordinate many stakeholders to guide a high-profile agency, establish trust and rapport with legislative and department staff, and provide thoughtful, objective, fact-based analysis on DOC’s myriad programs. Nora took up this charge and has exceeded all expectations. Through hard work and long hours that required sacrificing much of her personal time, Nora quickly established herself as the “go to” person for all things DOC. Nora’s strong analysis, written and verbal communication skills, and strategic approach to solving problems have secured funding for multiple long-shot but impactful proposals, including staff housing and increases in inmate pay, while vastly improving communication between JBC, OSPB, and DOC. Nora has received numerous accolades from Governor’s Office and DOC staff for her willingness to engage in difficult work and conversations, provide objective, high-quality analysis, and ensure the best possible outcomes are given due consideration. Nora best exemplifies the term public service - she provides her knowledge, expertise, know-how, and an inordinate amount of time, to achieve the best possible outcome to benefit Colorado.

Office of Economic Development & International Trade - Anna Regan

Anna Regan's dedication to supporting all Coloradans and advancing accessibility is inspiring. Only two months after starting at OEDIT, with no prior experience in website accessibility, Anna hosted her first training in April 2022, followed by a total of 21 training sessions and 13 working group meetings. She’s developed training resources that are used at other agencies, created clear processes and timelines, and accommodates the many accessibility questions she receives, while also setting up users to take accessibility into their own hands. She worked with OIT to add Google Translate with 133 languages to the OEDIT website. Anna created paid campaigns by county across the state that led to record program inquiries and increased OEDIT’s social media followers by 50-plus % and doubled impressions and engagement, providing even more access to OEDIT resources. She also piloted OEDIT’s first “drip-campaign” that automates marketing messaging to our external audiences, optimizing our approach. Additionally, she volunteers delivering meals multiple times a month for years with Project Angel Heart. Anna truly wants to help build a “ColoradoForAll.”

Governor's Office of Information Technology - Jon Sibray

Jon Sibray is a leader who exemplifies how the power of technology can transform lives. His strategic vision transcends deep technical expertise. He bridges divides, unites teams, and thrives under pressure, all while staying true to the core mission of OIT and the needs of specific groups, like educators and families seeking preschool options. Jon models for other technologists how empathy and technology are a powerful tandem for building a legacy for the future. This dedication shines brightest in Jon's work with the Department of Early Childhood. He wasn't just instrumental in working with leadership to stand up the Department, he played a pivotal role in launching the flagship Universal Preschool Program. Through his leadership and innovative technology solutions, Jon helped ensure a smooth rollout that served over 40,000 children in its first year – an entire generation with a brighter start thanks in large part to Jon's commitment. Jon is recognized not just for his technical prowess, but for his human-centered approach to technology. He understood the heart of Universal Preschool – investing in our youngest Coloradans – and translated that vision into reality. This is the true impact of IT leadership: building a future where technology empowers positive change, especially for those who need it most.

Behavioral Health Administration - Janell Schafer Cody

Janell brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the division, having worked in government technology for many years. With these skills, she is able to craft a vision and roadmap for our technology and data strategy. Additionally, Janell has been an excellent leader for the Technology, Evaluation and Analytic team, stepping up when others had to step back. She has worked extensively on change management and reorganization efforts to positively incorporate a new division into the portfolio. She always has a positive “can do” attitude and supports her team to both keep them aligned on the goal and ensure they have what they need to be successful. She is an exceptional employee and we are grateful to have her on the BHA team.