A look at past recipients of the Golden GOVIT Awards! 

2023 Golden GOVIT Award Winners!


Raise the Baseline App

Hennepin County Human Services

The Raise the Baseline app leverages low-code technology to offer a program that targets income inequalities in Hennepin County. The app was created using user-friendly technology to provide an efficient and reliable tool that supports Raise the Baseline, a Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI) pilot program offering financial support for residents in need. GBI programs are being piloted in counties and cities throughout the country to test their efficacy. GBI payments are transferred directly to the recipient to balance immediate needs, such as rent or food, or with long-term investments, such as college or car payments.

Read the Full Project Description

The Raise the Baseline App was created by a group that leveraged low-code/no code technology to target income inequalities in Hennepin County. The app was created to support a Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI) pilot program, a direct approach to foster financial stability for residents in need. Offering GBI is a national trend. Counties and cities are running pilots throughout the country to test its efficacy. GBI payments are transferred directly to the recipient to balance immediate needs, such as rent or food, with long-term investments, such as college or car savings.

The app automates GBI payment reports, program-related information, and data updates for the Hennepin County household recipients. Through the Raise the Baseline pilot program, each of the households receives payment for 15 months.  Recipients were identified through an analysis of benefits enrollments gaps, and calculations of risk for facing a reduction or loss in public assistance benefits.

The Raise the Baseline app was developed to offer an efficient and reliable solution to coordinate processes for each household to receive their monthly payments, and to establish streamlined workflows for program workers. The app was built out as a Microsoft PowerApp and Power Automate solution and uses Dataverse as its data source. Staff have found the tool accessible, easy to use, and secure. This system helps the pilot program workers execute the following tasks:

  • Manual workflows and task reminders to workers, such as when to send an invitation letter and when to follow-up and engage with recipients.
  • Automate letters that need signatures via flow through Adobe eSign or encrypted email, and store these letters in the app.
  • Create and track payment schedules in the app.
  • Upload an automated daily .csv filed the bank issuing debit cards for recipient spending.
  • Automate monthly .csv reports that outlines each enrollee’s scheduled payment and is uploaded to the Oracle system to file and modify payment schedules as needed.

Raise the Baseline received its funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 and is a self-contained project. Operating via low code and no code solutions, the app is upheld by the work of a diverse set of teams, including Information Technology and Records Management, Data Compliance, Economic Supports, Hennepin County Payroll, the bank issuing debit cards, the County Attorney’s Office, Communications, and administrative support teams. The pilot will explore the impact of payments on participant’s economic mobility, housing stability, employment outcomes, health and education factors, and quality of life. Pilot findings will help inform future policy and program decisions to better support working families.


MN Unemployment Insurance Responsive Web Rewrite

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

In serving the needs of Minnesota’s employers and unemployment insurance (UI) claimants during periods of economic crisis, DEED must respond not only to an increased need for its services, but also to new Federal and State legislation that impact benefit eligibility and administration. Starting with a four-year initiative that spanned from 2003 to 2007, Minnesota became the first state to implement an integrated UI Tax and Benefits system, uFACTS. The implementation significantly improved DEED’s ability to manage unemployment insurance tax and claims filing. It also provided the foundation to efficiently respond to the ongoing policy and program changes.

Read the Full Project Description

Several years after completing the core system implementation, DEED undertook a large portfolio of projects that started in February of 2020 – prior to the worldwide COVID pandemic – to improve and enhance program features and functionality. The portfolio included a wide range of technology upgrades, functionality additions, and were responsive to the on-going program and system evolutions within unemployment insurance. DEED partnered with Deloitte to analyze current processes, identify new requirements, and design, develop, and test new features. DEED’s primary objective for each initiative was improve efficiency and customer service while maintaining modern technical relevance and responding to Federal and State program changes.

These include the following program enhancements:

  • “Lift and Shift” Application and Performance Testing to AWS Cloud
  • Upgraded Graphical User Interface-Presentation Layer, Accessibility and Multi-Language Support
  • Correspondence Messaging Solution
  • Application Error Management
  • Security Updates and Issue Remediation
  • Program Integrity/Fraud Support
  • Automated Testing
  • FileNet and WebSphere Upgrades
  • Login Solution Upgrade
  • Scheduling Upgrade
  • Performance Test Management
  • Automated Environments
  • Integrity Cross Match
  • STRUTS to SPRING MVC Conversion and Upgrade
  • Quarterly Check for Standard UI Program
  • Enhanced Weekly Payment Requests
  • Enhanced Deductible Income
  • Challenge Questions
  • Wage Detail Redesign
  • Database Purge Processing
  • Increased Flexibility in Supplemental Payments
  • Improved Error Handling
  • Integrate/Update Appeals Processes
  • Employer Experience Updates
  • Sign-On/Login Security Updates
  • Abstract Tax Rates / Flexibility
  • FileNet upgrade and TIFF to PDF document conversion

The initiative, which included new functionality releases approximately every 6 weeks starting in 2021 with a major go-live in March 2023, allowed Minnesota to respond to rapidly changing legislative and policy initiatives all while also improving service to employers and citizens through the economic upheaval of the pandemic. Further, the modernization effort took into consideration Minnesota’s unique policies and business imperatives, leveraging system design and development methodologies that support the evolution of Minnesota’s UI system to address future needs.

Value delivered & impact
The unprecedented impacts of unemployment, rapidly changing programs to support the volume of claimants, and the active fraud attempts brought many state unemployment systems to their breaking point. In Minnesota, however, the modernized UI system with effective program updates allowed them to maintain service in a timely fashion, positioning Minnesota to be a leader among states in providing timely payments to unemployment insurance claimants. Even with the increased work volume, Minnesota DEED and Deloitte were able to implement a large portfolio of system upgrades. These efforts allowed for an efficient response to real business and technical challenges all while maintaining the highest user volume in program history. The projects focused on improved customer service and usability for employers, third party agents, claimants, and staff; increased system flexibility; and reduction of technical debt.

In addition to facilitating DEED’s compliance with new legislation, this and other functionality added during the UI System Enhancement Project has reduced manual work for UI program staff, allowing increased productivity and flexibility to better serve DEED’s claimant and employer customers. Further, after three years of deployments, DEED analyzed their post-implementation defect rates to be less than 0.6 item per deploy.


Melissa Shaw

Division Manager, Enterprise Development and Architecture

Hennepin County Information Technology

“You hear about people who plant the seeds? She planted a whole dang forest!” That quote summarizes work that new IT leader Melissa Shaw led. Her thoughtful questioning and ability to play to the strengths of her large, diverse group of employees, helped Hennepin County IT unite the work of five IT areas, create a single status board and backlog, coordinate a substantial book of initiatives across several business areas. And she did it with a mostly remote workforce.

Read the Full Project Description

Melissa Shaw is the Hennepin County Information Technology Division Manager for Enterprise Architecture and Enterprise Development. In her role, Shaw manages sixteen direct reports who supervise an additional eighty-five employees, including application developers, GIS professionals, and enterprise architects. This is a diverse portfolio of responsibilities that Shaw herself advocated to lead because she believed it would offer greater clarity and effectiveness for IT clients. “Melissa has a way of articulating thing in a positive, fact-based way. She challenges the status quo,” said one of her direct reports, June Burrows, who manages developers. Shaw is a newer leader in the Information Technology department joining in 2022, but she has experience working in other Hennepin County lines of business in technology leadership and project management roles since 2015. She built a track record of results, gaining great political and business savvy in complex settings with both IT and resident services. Burrows explains, “She brings fresh eyes and can see the gaps in work because of having worked in a business line.” Her biggest accomplishment in her new role is pulling together the workstreams of four IT groups: Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Development, Business Relationship Managers, and the Project Management Office. The groups now share a single Azure DevOps status board and backlog. This allows initiatives to be coordinated from business need through the intake process to value realization. Bringing these work areas together could have wreaked havoc, but not under Shaw’s leadership. Ryan Grassfield, the PMO manager shared the subtle, but persistent approach that Shaw brought to the effort, “Melissa spent two months, in two-hour meetings every week, talking about the individual backlogs, and started asking these thought-provoking questions. She inspired us to think about and see the possibilities. You hear about people who plant the seeds? She planted a whole dang forest!” Grassfield points to Shaw’s fearlessness in her approach. “She’s not afraid to ask questions that other leaders can’t or won’t. She brought staff in to do mock-ups and demonstrations and showed us another way to do things rather than telling us.” Shaw is also a champion of her largely remote, sometimes hybrid workforce. “Fun is not limited to a room!” Shaw recently shared when asked about the challenges and victories of working remotely. “I have enjoyed creating and being a part of my remote work community. We have established a meeting culture that encourages team bonding, intentional time, and trust. I trust my employees more to be productive team members amongst increased flexibility in the remote workspace.” Her manager, Chief Technology Officer Craig Troska, cites Shaw’s talent of growing employees, “She’s good at finding their strengths and passions and matching that with an opportunity.” Troska also cites Shaw’s ability to manage an incredibly diverse stack of responsibility. “She has great consistency, commitment, responsibility – tracking disparate work. She never drops the ball – her follow through is great.” Her sights are set on continuing to get work to the finish line. Shaw’s next goal is seeing improvements in prioritization and process. Hennepin County is fortunate to have this forward-thinking individual.

2022 Golden GOVIT Award Winners!


And the winner is…. The Digital Experience Model

The COVID-19 pandemic required Hennepin County to rapidly shift how it engages with residents digitally. When physical locations closed to the public, the ability to serve digitally was critical to meeting ongoing resident needs. The Office of Digital Experience was created to coordinate work across the organization to address residents’ digital needs and provide a consistently positive, accessible, and equitable digital service experience. The model includes partner teams in three separate departments that coordinate in service of all business lines to create a more equitable and inclusive digital service experience for community members.


And the winner is…. Digital Service Automation

In under four months, Hennepin County has designed, built, tested, and moved to production a scalable chat bot for residents to engage with 24/7. By focusing on a narrow scope, the project team was able to include key features that address usability, accessibility, and equity within chat. This was purposefully designed to quickly gain public feedback that can then be included in future enhancements and scaled out for broader use across Hennepin County.


And the winner is…. Veteran Application Tracking System

The Veterans Application Tracking System (VATS) for Claims is currently implemented at the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA). This project created a single system for MDVA’s Field Operations and Claims Offices, along with a secured upload portal for County Veteran Service Officers. The system provides case management, secured claims/document submittal to the Department of Veterans Affairs, appeals of claims decisions to the USDVA’s Board of Veterans Appeals, and management of related forms and documents. This project created a Unified system within MDVA and offered a secured document upload portal for MDVA’s County Stakeholders.


And the winner is…. Lisa Meredith, Executive Director, MN County Computer Cooperative

Lisa Meredith is the Executive Director for Minnesota County Computer Cooperative, a joint powers organization, working with counties and other entities to provide software solutions. Lisa’s leadership style enables others to thrive. Her efforts transformed the landscape of public services. Recently she has been instrumental in two software contracts saving counties ten’s thousands of dollars. Lisa balances an incredible workload with a strong commitment to bring people and agencies together to work collaboratively. She operates with the motto “to embrace the audacious acts that incite positive change” and demonstrates this at MnCCC and through personal achievements with her ToP Facilitation.

2021 Golden GOVIT Award Winners!


And the winner is…. SNAP Outreach Campaign

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) provides essential services to Minnesota’s most vulnerable residents. One of these services, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), helps support people’s food needs. Over 450,000 Minnesotans participate in SNAP. Monthly benefits average $110 per person. A statewide network of community-based outreach agencies employ SNAP Specialists who provide program information and application assistance.


And the winner is…. Promoting safe working environments by tracking vaccination status

In August, the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners approved requiring employees to attest to their vaccination status and show proof of vaccination for Covid-19, or comply with regular mandatory testing and other alternative infection control measures. This decision was based on public health guidance, as vaccines are the most effect tool, and surest way to end the Covid-19 pandemic. Requiring employees to get vaccinated helps protect the health of our staff, especially those who continue to work directly with our clients, residents and visitors.


And the winner is…. Workforce One (WF1) Connect Mobile App

Customers accessing services are focused on physiological needs and learning processes to submit paperwork while tracking important deadlines, which vary from county to county, in order to maintain basic needs. They must rely on referrals to resources from staff during business hours when offices are open. Time spent focused on maintaining compliance with program requirements directly impacts customers’ ability to focus on other goals related to self-sufficiency, family stabilization, and the ultimate the vision of One Minnesota to “engage and empower Minnesotans to establish shared sustainable prosperity for all Minnesotans.”


And the winner is…. Jerry Driessen, City of San Jose

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated transitioning many City services to digital channels. This transition has been made possible through three concerted City Roadmap initiatives: Powered by People, Drive to Digital, and SJ311 + Service Delivery. Combined, these initiatives have moved City’s digital services strategy forward in a way that is centered around the needs of our residents and diverse communities and empowers City employees to best serve our customers.

2020 Golden GOVIT Award Winners!


And the winner is…. Craig Troska of Hennepin County, Minnesota
Project Title: Rapid response IT team to help county departments serve residents remotely

COVID-19 presented a new challenge to Hennepin County: How can we deliver services to residents while working remotely? IT formed a rapid response team to create and implement innovative technology solutions to help address this challenge. Solutions from this team were in response to a specific business need. Post implementation, solutions will be re-evaluated to determine to be either a one-time resolution or begin the process of becoming a permanent IT service. 


And the winner is…. Chris Luhman of Minnesota IT Services 

Chris understands the interactions between people, processes, and technology. He values sustainable innovation over implementing new technology, providing strategic guidance to management and staff. His insight and expertise are evident in his work to automate and standardize application security processes. Chris is also an asset and team champion when it comes to addressing technical security debt associated with legacy applications.


And the winner is…. Jim Daugherty of the Department of Child & Family Services, State of Illinois
Project Title: Team Youth App – Child Welfare Solution 

The Teams Youth App is a solution leveraging Microsoft Teams to help Case Workers connect in a more connected way with the Youth in the Child Welfare System. This Teams Youth App was created as a way to connect the Youth to their case worker and a group of other safe/circle of trust folks. This solution was built leveraging what the customer already owned from Microsoft and was a great brainchild and innovative idea by the CIO for the State of Illinois DCFS.


And the winner is…. Tikki Brown of the Economic Assistance & Employment Supports, MN Department of Human Services
Project Title: Pandemic – EBT 

On March 27, 2020, the congressional Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act created the Pandemic-EBT program to get resources to buy food to children who qualified for free and reduced lunches at school. Since children were not attending school, this group of children in very low income families were at risk of not having enough food to eat. By May 29, the Economic Assistance and Employment Services Division of the Minnesota Department of Human Services in collaboration with Code for America was able to launch a brand new program that reached 267,000 children in Minnesota.


And the winner is…. Vickie Kittilson of Washington County, Minnesota 
Project Title: CARES Act Rental Assistance Form 

The form was created for our Community Social Services Department as a way to allow individuals to submit a request for financial assistance to help with rent, mortgage, or utilities due to COVID-19. They fill out the form on the County’s public website and it is sent securely into our SharePoint environment. The form is a contactless way for Washington County to receive and process the information. Citizens can also call in to apply for assistance. Advantages include limiting person to person contact, ease of submission, and faster processing of applications.

Once the application is submitted employees are assigned and then set up a phone interview with the individuals applying for assistance to verify and finalize the application. Once verified and approved the process generates invoices that are processed for payment by the accounting team.

2019 Golden GOVIT Award Winners!


And the winner is…. Hospice On-Line Program

To address this challenge, a new on-line webform was developed that allows agencies to enter data online. This information is needed to ensure the Medical Examiner is aware of any preexisting conditions and diagnosis for a patient before being called out to perform field services.


And the winner is…. Interview Streamline Application

Once developed, the interview streamline application allowed not just basic functionality, but added features not available via a paper process. The Interview Streamline application includes features such as a function to add a job posting, applicants and applications, and interview dates and times. We can now also attach items personal to the applicant, such as a resume, for review by the panel. It also electronically invites panel members to an interview, the ability to enter customized questions for each position, and auto-calculates scores for each applicant. Additional features of the interview streamline application includes the status of the position posting in real-time.


And the winner is…. Automatic Renewals

The primary goal of implanting automatic renewals was to improve the patron experience at Hennepin County Library. Since patrons were already permitted to renew items up to three times if there were no other patrons with active requests for the item, automating the renewal process is an improved service that simply saves the time and effort of manual renewals. Our library buildings continue to have plenty of materials on the shelf for patrons to browse and request, with collection availability percentage remaining the same post-automatic renewal implementation.


And the winner is…. David Andrews, Chief Technology Officer, State Services for the Blind – Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

It’s easy to write a nomination for a Minnesota technology leader David Andrews. Every day throughout his state government career, Dave has championed technology innovation, collaboration, and improvement of services.

2018 Golden GOVIT Award Winners!


And the winner is…. Interoperability for Newborn Screening in Minnesota

The Newborn Screening (NBS) Program at the Minnesota Department of Health has been working toward utilizing health information technology for several years with its MNScreen system. Additional projects were then considered to achieve interoperability with submitters of newborn screening specimens.


And the winner is…. CareerBot

CareerBot is a conversational chatbot (English & Spanish) CareerOneStop’s web pages that helps people quickly connect with employment resources through text. Users type queries about jobs, education, salaries, and so on. For example, they can search for jobs or search for educational programs.


And the winner is…. Hennepin County Human Service Center QFlow Kiosk Project

Hennepin County deployed kiosks at Human Service Centers (HSC) to streamline the client check-in process. The system decreased the client check-in time and reduced the number of times clients need to tell their story. Client feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.


And the winner is…. Bruce Zimmerman

Bruce has proved himself time and time again with his leadership and knowledge of what MNIT IT offers to Executive and non-Executive Agencies, with the services needed to keep the state of IT for all in MN, moving in the correct direction. He also has people management skills the seem to miss a lot of people. I have had the pleasure for working for him, as well as under his supervision.

2017 Golden GOVIT Award Winners!


And the winner is…. Bring GIS to K12

GIS is the 3rd leading job producer. It is imperative we provide spatial and critical thinking skills to our young people. This collaborative project between state agencies and local and regional GIS professionals is providing training, competition and GIS skills for use in the marketplace.


And the winner is…. Aurora in the Cloud

MSRS moved its largest business application, Aurora, to the IBM cloud. At the forefront of cloud usage for MN government, this transition saves MSRS more than $1.1 million annually, reducing costs by more than 60% (the equivalent of 5.7% of the admin budget) while improving service and security.


And the winner is…. MNSpin

MnSpin is a new online collection of Mn music curated by local experts. It features recent works from musicians of all genres who currently perform & are based in Mn. Music will be free to stream or download. Artists gain exposure & music lovers explore the rich diversity of the local scene.


And the winner is…. Jessica Parker

She creates standards & governance in areas of PM, BA & QA. She is an effective listener who takes in info & decimates to her staff. She is an expert at showing the business the value of IT via metrics reporting-ensuring her teams understand the direction we have set & can meet the goals of their work.