DENVER – The winners of the 2021 StateScoop 50 Awards were announced yesterday and the State of Colorado was honored in four categories, tying with Illinois, Michigan and North Carolina for the most winners. The eighth annual StateScoop 50 Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of states to make a positive impact in the government information technology (IT) community and in public service as a whole.
“As we begin to emerge from one of the most challenging times for government — and specifically government IT — the resilience and strength of these leaders is especially poignant this year,” said Jake Williams, vice present for content and community at StateScoop and EdScoop. “This year’s StateScoop 50 Awards honor the people and projects responsible for getting residents through the crisis and put a spotlight on how those efforts set up an expansive future for digital government.”
State and local IT shops across the nation nominated thousands of inspiring leaders and influential projects for the awards earlier this year. StateScoop then narrowed the list to 180 finalists - 10 of which were from Colorado -- and readers cast more than 3 million votes to select the winners.
This year’s awards were presented virtually and Colorado won in the following categories: State Leadership of the Year, State Cybersecurity Leader of the Year, State Up & Comer of the Year, and State IT Innovation of the Year.
“It's an honor to see Colorado recognized nationally for our efforts to reimagine IT,” Chief Information Officer & Executive Director Anothy Neal-Graves said. “The innovative and impactful tech work happening in the State of Colorado allows us to continuously transform how we serve our agency partners and our residents. Congratulations to all of this year’s StateScoop 50 winners.”
Below are the nomination biographies for each of Colorado’s four winners:
State Leadership of the Year
Rick Rieping, Sr. Director of Applications Delivery & Support
Rick Rieping understands the importance of asking the right questions - and listening intently - to bring a team together and successfully deliver IT solutions. He strives to keep his teams focused on implementing innovative software for agency customers, and in turn, transform service delivery to all Coloradans. His organized approach to application and business management and ability to identify simple changes to complex processes makes the work manageable and sustainable which is a rare skill. Rick’s temporal precedence style allows him to skillfully identify and refine processes - both internally and for OIT’s vendor partners - to foster a culture of continuous improvement and innovation.
State Cybersecurity Leader of the Year
Greg Williams, Director of Security, Risk & Compliance
Greg Williams joined the state almost five years ago, and has demonstrated endless passion and a real commitment to improving risk management and policy compliance. He built a truly diverse team, leading them to perform 40 application security assessments and more than 34 vendor risk assessments during the last year. Dr. Williams wants to ensure that while he and his team focus on enterprise risk, they don’t lose sight of risks belonging to each individual state agency. As a result, he identified an opportunity to partner with each agency to create a risk committee. Its purpose is to ensure that the risks agency customers are most concerned about will be factored into the Office of Information Security’s comprehensive risk management efforts.
State Up & Comer of the Year
Bob Nogueira, Chief People Officer
Bob Nogueira joined OIT in July 2019 as Chief People Officer, bringing over 25 years of experience leading organizations in internet start-ups, non-profits, and international corporations. Bob’s leadership encompasses call centers, human resources, employee communications, leadership development, and non-profit boards of directors. Bob is an adjunct faculty member in the Communication Management and Organizational Leadership graduate programs at the University of Denver.
State IT Innovation of the Year
MyUI+ is the result of a multi-year process that began in 2017 to modernize Colorado’s aging unemployment benefits system. When the COVID-19 pandemic as transition preparations were being made, adjustments had to be made mid-flight to implement the numerous federal and state unemployment insurance initiatives and accommodate a mass influx of new claimants. The new platform launched in January 2021, provides increased scalability and interoperability, is mobile accessible, and eliminates manual processes among other benefits. To the best of our knowledge, it is the first UI modernization project in the nation, and the first State of Colorado project of this scale, to be delivered 100% remotely.