Sunday, July 22, 2018

DHSEM Annual Employee Awards

Each Year DHSEM honors the contributions, excellence and leadership of its employees. Below are the 2018 awards and their winners.

This award recognizes DHSEM members that others turn to for help or support regardless of their rank or position within the DHSEM. Characteristics of a “Go To” person include: diligent, selfless, consistent, pitch in to help, reliable, gets it done, team player, behind the scenes, and goes above and beyond what is expected of them to support their fellow team members.

Syrita Garcia 

Syrita exemplifies everything the "Go To" award describes. She is service oriented, has a welcoming persona and always demonstrates positivity. She is always willing to assist in any task offers assistance before she is even asked to help. She works above and beyond to make sure task and projects get done. She is thorough, creative and reliable. She takes pride in her work and that is reflected not only by the products she creates but also by her personality and communication skills. She is insightful, takes initiative with requests she receives from our stakeholders and seeks out input for our SMEs to ensure that their needs and expectations are not only met but exceeded.

Ryan Mechem* 
Ryan is the “unsung” hero in the CIAC. He has delivered exemplary results to both his division team members and our numerous mission partners. His most notable efforts over the past year include key roles in the North Central Region Cybersecurity working group, cyber security incident response for multiple jurisdictions and proactive network security reviews. Over his first year at DHSEM he has widely become an indispensable talent in all things cyber. His extensive expertise has also gained the CIAC national notoriety among other fusion centers as top tier capability. Ryan’s ability to marshal open source cyber information into concise actionable intelligence has also become a resource for our private critical infrastructure partners. Private sector cybersecurity intelligence analysts that work for some of the largest communications providers in the nation count him as a “Go To” resource when it comes to vetting threat data and connecting the dots on real-time cyber attacks.

Other Nominees:
  • Chris Sorenson 
  • Caroline “Hart” Gillespie 
  • Jennifer Dye 
  • Eric Dymond 
  • Tristan Bailey  
This award recognizes persons whose positive attitudes and outlooks directly affect other DHSEM members and the communities we serve. Characteristics of “Positivity” include: positive energy, inspiring, aloha spirit, optimistic, cheerleader, encouraging, happy, calm in a crisis, collaborative, fun, takes lemons and makes lemonade.

Mikaela Ellenwood
In April 2018, the Leadership Strategies Institute C2 Team was looking for assistance in creating a final presentation that reflected positively on their experience in the class as well as on DHSEM. No one within the team had the skills necessary to create and produce the video we had decided to tackle. Mikaela not only immediately and energetically took on the task, she provided the guidance necessary for the team to accomplish their goal. She was diligent in her efforts to ensure the final product exceeded their expectations! She did this with a positive attitude and outlook- even when we had to redo some of the video and a very compressed timeline. She is a reliable and a team player and exemplifies our Core Values. She is always looking for ways to help and get involved to support the team.

Amy Shish
Whether it's making a new employee feel welcome or dealing with several projects with multiple deadlines, Amy always puts her best foot forward, providing a positive image of DHSEM and an enjoyable work environment. By embracing the core values, Amy demonstrates her commitment to STRIVE, treating others with respect and giving each of her coworkers the support and encouragement they need. Amy is a great example of a team player!

Other Nominees:
  • Lynn Bailey 

This award honors those who direct their time and energy for the greatest impact by incorporating new ideas, technology, and other strategies to maximize a positive impact on the Division. Characteristics of a “Work Smarter” person include: creative, thinks outside the box, innovative, change agent, fearless, cutting edge, idea person, progressive.

Lucas B.*
Last year several employees identified a McAfee issue. This serious issue stalled all computer work and manipulation for a considerable amount of time. Several computers were down for days. Once contacted, it took Lucas immediately took action and within 15 minutes all the issues were repaired. Lucas has not only assisted the team during numerous occasions, he's also a vital resource for the division and department as a whole. He demonstrates working smarter each and every day as he keeps a fast moving progressive division up and running electronically. Thank you Lucas for your steadfast commitment to the State of Colorado.

SRM Team 
The definition of teamwork is the “combined action of a group of people, especially when effective and efficient.” This is the best way to describe the DHSEM Subrecipient Monitoring (SRM) team that consists of four individuals that have different backgrounds and bring strength to the DHSEM organization. The SRM team is instrumental is supporting the division's mission of providing excellent grant management support. The SRM team led the Division’s Strategic Policy Initiative for fiscal year 2018 to complete 45 site monitoring visits by the end of the fiscal year; but they decided to be overachievers and will actually 48 site visits. They are small but mighty and are able to accomplish more than one would expect because they work smarter and efficiently to make sure they exceed expectations.

This award honors teams or groups of staff that achieve a common goal in support of the Division’s mission or a specific team goal that supports the services provided to stakeholders/communities through leadership, collaboration, coordination or forward thinking. Characteristics of a “Mission Accomplished” recipient include: demonstrating leadership by example and forward thinking in accomplishing a specific task or goal on behalf of the Division; a group that leads by example and inspires and motivates achievement by others or demonstrates success through coordination, collaboration and bridge-building within the Division, Department or with our customer/community stakeholders.

The team exemplifies the core values of DHSEM; are role models; exceed expectations; work great as a team and respect everyone they work with. They anticipate the needs of their subrecipients and offer assistance before problems arise. They collaborate with other teams in DHSEM to come up with processes that will be efficient and beneficial for all. and with DOLA and the other state disaster recovery programs to talk about best practices and ways to improve all processes. For the past year the team experienced several changes in staffing but with the changes they have continued to meet and exceed all deadlines, processed 219 RFRs totaling $15.51 million, monitor their subrecipients, conduct interviews for each project and provide technical assistance to each subrecipient and the contractors. They have set the tone for future grant programs.

CIAC All-Hazards Threat Intelligence Unit
The All-Hazards Threat Intelligence Unit demonstrated DHSEM Core Values, consistently punching above their weight and collaborating with DHSEM staff, field managers and external partners. Their diligent work has been a mainstay of operations for the CIAC, providing 10,000+ hours of tailored support to agencies across Colorado and to out-of-state partners. Here are just three of the items shared related to the team:
  • Analyzed and evaluated all-source data to develop 14 Threat Checks, 1 Threat Assessment, and 18 Situational Awareness Bulletins that allowed officials to implement best strategies for public safety 
  • Created 70+ law enforcement workups that led to the arrests of 6 criminals 
  • Presented at 2017 National Fusion Center Association on international terrorism and drug trafficking, FTO ideologies, the CIAC Threat Prioritization Program and Strategic Intelligence Product Policy They exceeded standards of excellence with a whole-team approach. 
Other Nominees:
  • The Field Services Team 
  • The Logistics Section

This award recognizes an “unsung” hero whose performance is outstanding, yet the recipient remains “low profile”. The award is aimed at individual who provides exemplary conduct, service, or action that demonstrates a commitment to the values of the Division. The Denney Award is named for Steve Denney, a retired Field Service Deputy who served the people of Colorado for more than 22 years. Steve was a quiet professional who led by example and never sought recognition for his many exemplary actions throughout his career.

Paul Eller 

Paul Eller led the effort over the past year to update both DHSEM's Homeland Security Strategy as well as the division's strategic plan. He demonstrated exemplary performance in these two major efforts, while maintaining a humble and service driven attitude. The work he has accomplished is highly detailed and requires organizing many moving parts behind the scenes to make the more than a dozen engagement strategy meetings a valuable experience for the hundreds of stakeholders that participated in these meetings.

He is the workhorse behind the scenes compiling the data and feedback to keep the process moving for both the new homeland security strategy and the division strategic plan. The products and efforts are top notch, reliable and on target. At the same time as shepherding these major projects, he is also a mentor and coach and a friendly ear to many of our staff who need advice or guidance. He always has time to help someone in need.

Other Nominees:
  • Riley Frazee 
  • Esther Son 
  • Michael Gartner

This award honors a person whose leadership skills (whether formal or informal) and interpersonal style inspires and motivates others to achieve their full potential or helps groups, teams and/or units achieve a common goal supporting the Division's mission. Characteristics of a “Division Director Award” recipient include: “first among equals”, mentor, respected, leads by example, ethical, principled, inspiring, advocates on behalf of others, mediator, bridge builder, courageous and forward thinking.

Devon Rhoads 
CDPS Executive Director Stan Hilkey had a vision that the CDPS would establish a Watch Center for not only the CDPS leadership but also for our external stakeholders. The Watch Center would gather, collate, analyze and distribute information and intelligence to CDPS leadership and our external partners and create a common operating picture for all involved in an incident.

By the time Devon Rhoads was asked to coordinate and lead the effort -- we gave him 2 weeks to get the Watch Center operational. He was building the plane while flying it. During this time, Devon worked diligently to lead and coordinate all of the moving pieces to successfully establish the Watch Center. He did this by collaborating with the rest of the CIAC personnel as well as all the other divisions who had a role in the Watch Center. He worked diligently to develop an implementation plan, an administrative manual, 24/7 staffing schedule and work processes to make sure the Watch Center was a success.

Devon exemplified our guiding principles by achieving the desired results; using innovative methods to get the “Watch Center” running; ensuring that the process was service oriented, recognizing the needs of the customers; and, focused on recruiting, empowering and supporting the right staff members to make the project successful.

Devon also exemplified our Core Values by exceeding expectations of CDPS Leadership; fostering a teamwork approach; treating the team and leadership with respect; maintaining the integrity of the project and himself; and, maintaining a level of excellence throughout the project. Devon exhibited a high degree of leadership by example, inspiring his team to be successful in meeting the vision of CDPS leadership.

As Devon would tell you, he did not do this alone, and the success is the result of ALL of the CIAC staff coming together, sacrificing their time and sometimes their schedules to support the success of this initiative.

Other Nominees:

  • Paul Eller 
  • Michael Gartner
Congratulations to all the winners!
*Note: For security reasons, identifying information about CIAC members may be edited or withheld on public platforms.

Governor's Talent Challenge Wraps Up First Year

During FY 2017-18, CDPS employees from all divisions participated in the inaugural year of the Governor’s Talent Challenge Lean Academy program. The Talent Challenge provides matching funds from the Governor’s Office to state agencies to provide employee development opportunities, and this year’s group focused on operationalizing process improvement concepts.

Process improvement - including soliciting and incorporating customer feedback - an area of focus for CDPS in FY 2019 based on the 2017 Employee Engagement Survey results. Through courses taught by two vendors, CDPS participants learned about the Lean methodology of process improvement and executed a group Lean project to benefit customers. CDPS members also gained experience in continuous improvement, using data to make decisions, and using customer feedback to improve processes.

Projects ranged in scope and covered a variety of CDPS business practices, including the CSP cadet hiring process, the CBI InstaCheck appeals process, and the DHSEM request for reimbursement process.

 A big thanks to the following CDPS employees who directed their time (and talent!) to the Talent Challenge:
 Lance Allen
 Terri Anderle
 Afsoon Ansari
 Trish Aragon
 Chris Augustine
 JoAnne Barry
 Viktor Bojilov
 Tina Buneta
 Ted DeRosa
 Jennifer Dye
 Eric Dymond
 Dan Elder
 Amber Feldman
 Michelle Geng
 Melissa Hemme
 Melissa Lineberger
 John Lynkiewicz
 Mark Mason
 Justin Mullins
 Jackie Perez
 Lisa Pine
 Kimberly Ramsey
 Richard Ryberg
 Kinzie Wallden
 Shawn West

 What’s next? In FY 2019, CDPS received a position dedicated to promoting the use of process improvement tools and leveraging the knowledge of this team. The Colorado Talent Challenge will continue next fiscal year, likely maintaining the same focus on Lean and process improvement. If you are interested in participating, please speak with your supervisor and be on the look-out for registration details.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

CBI Announces Updated Background Check Program

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is working to implement an updated program providing fingerprint-based criminal history background checks for employment and licensing purposes. Once implemented, the program will make it more convenient for applicants to obtain fingerprints by locating fingerprint services throughout the state. The new program will also increase efficiency and timeliness by transmitting fingerprints to law enforcement agencies electronically (instead of via a mailed hard copy). Processing time and rejections are also expected to decrease tremendously.

CBI is in the process of implementing the Colorado Applicant Background Services (CABS) program in response to Senate Bill 17-189, which allows “any third party approved by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to take an applicant’s fingerprints for the purpose of obtaining a fingerprint-based criminal history record check.”  The CBI recently awarded two contracts allowing third-party vendors to print and submit non-criminal applicant fingerprints for the State. These vendor services will be located throughout the State, making it easier for applicants to submit prints at a location nearby rather than driving long distances.

The CABS program will be supervised by the CBI, abiding by all National and State security guidelines. Once the CABS program is in place and fully functioning, applicants who must provide fingerprints for background checks will do so through the CABS program, rather than going to their local law enforcement agency for fingerprinting services. Applicants will visit the vendor’s enrollment website to enroll and schedule an appointment with that vendor.

The CBI encourages all organizations who currently maintain non-criminal accounts with the CBI to utilize the CABS program upon implementation this fall. The estimated roll-out date for the CABS program is September 24, 2018.  The CBI anticipates incorporating a grace period to allow for an efficient transition from the current process to the CABS program process. Agencies who manage civilian applicants today for their organization already have established Colorado Non-Criminal Justice accounts with the CBI. Each of those accounts will be included within the CABS program database matrix of accounts that will be imported into the vendors' secure enrollment website.

Physical fingerprint cards will not be accepted thirty days after the CABS program roll-out. Beginning July 1, 2021 the State will not accept non-Law Enforcement and non-CABS submissions.

This program will only change the venue in which fingerprints are currently processed and transmitted to the CBI. The CABS program will not impact the way the results of the background checks are currently administered.  All background check results will continue to be provided to the respective agency accounts via the CBI’s Secure Document Delivery System (SDDS) as they do today.

During Fiscal Year 2017, approximately 200,000 individuals were fingerprinted in the state of Colorado for non-criminal purposes, and this number increases annually as legislation continues to mandate background checks for professions and positions of trust.

If you have any questions regarding the CABS program, please contact CABS Program Administrator Peggy Moore at 303-239-4329 or via email at