Inslee honors 21 state government managers for outstanding performance

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Gov. Jay Inslee today honored 21 state agency managers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership. Recipients of the 2017 Governor’s Award for Leadership in Management were honored at an awards luncheon at the Executive Residence. This year’s recipients were recognized for a wide range of accomplishments, including work to streamline public services, support healthy and safe communities and save millions of taxpayer dollars.

"These managers represent the best in state government. They have set priorities and achieved results, managed risk and modeled outstanding leadership,” Inslee said. “These annual awards acknowledge that a large part of our state’s success is owed to our public service leaders, who set the bar high for excellence in management and customer service."

The Leadership in Management program was created in 1985 to recognize state government managers who demonstrate excellent performance. A selection committee composed of agency directors and executive staff chose the winners based on demonstrated performance.

This year’s recipients of the Governor’s Award for Leadership in Management are:

Melanie Anderson, Health Care Authority
Melanie instituted systemic changes – including increasing diversity inclusion — in contract and procurement processes.

Glenn Briskin, Washington State Patrol
Glenn’s work with the Washington State Patrol resulted in the implementation of new technology planning process and increased training systems available to law enforcement and firefighting first responders.

Jeff Canaan, Department of Enterprise Services
Jeff’s leadership influence dramatically increased customer satisfaction and employee engagement in the Workforce Support and Development division of this central service agency.

Kim Eads, Department of Agriculture
Kim oversees important food assistance and farm donation programs to schools and communities. Through her collaborative leadership with stakeholders, donations guidelines were developed for community donors and food banks.

Paula Ehlers, Department of Ecology
Paula oversaw the development of two complex environmental impact statements for large crude oil-by-rail expansion proposals, providing factual, science-based information for the public.

Dr. Romesh Gautom, Department of Health
Romesh plays a vital role as director of the state’s Public Health Laboratories. He was instrumental in Washington’s selection to receive $2.1 million in federal funding to serve as the western regional facility to combat antimicrobial resistance in bacteria.

Ryan Guppy, Department of Labor and Industries
Ryan’s leadership has contributed to major improvements in the reduction of the number of days before an injured worker receives vocational services and returns to work, saving taxpayers millions of dollars.

Kathleen Harvey, Department of Social and Health Services
Kathleen played a key role in services and initiatives for youths entering and leaving juvenile rehabilitation custody, thus increasing their ability to become fully contributing citizens.

Alice Huber, Department of Social and Health Services
Alice leads the strategic, project-based Research and Analysis team that pursues grants and delivers high-quality products — including new metrics for state hospital performance — for clients it serves.

Jan Jutte, formerly of the State Auditor’s Office
Jan delayed retirement — twice — to ensure the Auditor’s Office could continue operations and fulfill its mission during an unprecedented period of change and eventual employment of a new state auditor.

Cletus Nnanabu, Department of Labor and Industries
Cletus took steps to build bridges between crime victim advocates and medical providers to make improvements for claimants in the Crime Victims Compensation Program.

Justin Nordhorn, Liquor and Cannabis Board
Justin has worked closely with local law enforcement officials and county prosecutors to align the recreational and medical marijuana markets and focused resources to prevent youth access.

David Puente, Department of Labor and Industries
Through David’s efforts, a number of strategies and improvements were made to improve the culture and engagement of the agency’s workforce.

Jennifer Richards, Department of Licensing
Jennifer led improvement efforts for the agency’s high-volume call center that dramatically reduced customer wait times and improved employee development.

Michele Roberts, Department of Health
Michele successfully tackled two barriers in her efforts to increase immunization rates for toddlers while developing an office culture of teamwork and excellence.

John Ryser, Department of Revenue
John has revamped the agency program that encourages businesses to register unreported tax liabilities, exceeding collection goals by more than $284 million.

Philip Saunders, Department of Enterprise Services
Philip led the critical electrical vehicle initiative that boosts the number of electrical vehicles in the state fleet by 20 percent while securing state contracts and developing partnerships that have gained national attention.

Becky Smith, Liquor and Cannabis Board
Becky successfully met the enormous challenge of merging the unregulated medical marijuana market with the tightly regulated recreational market by bringing together the Department of Health and 16 other agencies to accomplish the task.

Josh Sundt, Office of Administrative Hearings
Josh decommissioned four case management systems and set up a single system that successfully provides the agency and field offices with more functionality, including better customer service to callers.

Gary Urbas, Military Department
Gary is a respected regional leader in the disaster recovery profession who developed a critical recovery plan when he discovered a major shortfall in the Disaster Recovery Response Account.

Mark Vasconi, Utilities and Transportation Commission
Mark has brought creative ideas to increasingly complex regulatory challenges of managing privately owned utility and transportation companies. He has promoted innovative, yet straightforward solutions in a number of areas that ultimately protect the public from undue cost or risk.

Media Contacts

Tara Lee
Governor Inslee’s Communications Office