DEP Employees Receive Awards for Innovation that Save Taxpayer Dollars

March 13, 2015

 

TALLAHASSEE –The Florida Department of Environmental Protection employees was recently awarded seven Prudential Productivity Awards. The Florida Tax Watch’s Prudential Productivity Awards is a privately initiated program designed to recognize and reward state government employees whose work measurably increases productivity and promotes innovation in ways that improve service delivery and save Florida taxpayers money.

“Every year, DEP employees across the state utilize their talents and skills to find ways to improve processes, streamline procedures and reduce costs,” said DEP Secretary Jon Steverson. “Collectively, these efforts support our duty to protect the environment, while creating opportunities to allow businesses and families to thrive in our state.”

Department employees received two cash awards and five plaque awards. Awardees were honored at a ceremony in Tallahassee on Thursday. The following is a list of awardees and their achievements.

Team Awards

  • Team cash award for creating innovative tools to assist in springs restoration. The team facilitated Basin Management Action Plan development by creating the Nitrogen Source Inventory Loading Tool (NSILT). NSILT collects local data, such as the number and location of cows, horses, septic systems, wastewater land application sites, stormwater runoff, and a host of other potential nitrogen sources. The result is a summary of the relative contributions of nitrogen from different sources, which identifies areas where nitrogen source reduction efforts could be focused to achieve the most beneficial effects on water quality. Team members: Kirstin Eller and Brian Katz.
  • Team plaque award for saving the agency $204,153 in outsourcing cost by assuming Title V Air permitting duties from Duval County. The Northeast District’s Air Permitting Section conducted a Lean Kaizen event in order to reduce the team’s permitting processing time. The event resulted in an average increase in efficiency of 65 percent. Team members: John Philips, Rita Felton-Smith, Leslie Maybin, Yasmin Enriquez, Jerry Woosley and Brent Steele.
  • Team plaque award for streamlining emissions reporting and payment process. More than 400 businesses in Florida are required to hold a certain type of operation permit based on both federal and state regulations. Until recently, businesses were required to submit two separate annual reports to the department. Each report required separate, complicated fee calculations with different reporting deadlines. The team successfully worked through the process of revising the applicable state of Florida Statutes and Rules to consolidate the two reports into one. The single submission saves both department resources and businesses’ time and money. Team members: Cadedra Hodge, Cindy Phillips, P.E., Jon Holtom, P.E., Kris Lanh, Dianne Spingler and Luana Fluegge.
  • Team plaque award for internal and external improvements to the Bureau of Design and Construction (BDC). The BDC provides engineering, architectural, contracting and construction services for the Florida Park Service. Enhanced business practices led to $717,099.87 in savings, a direct result of 21 instances of negotiated services and process improvements. Savings are reallocated to critical construction and repair needs. Team members: Matthew M. Mitchell, Michael Foster, Katie Parrish and David Matson.

Individual Awards

  • Brian Polk received an individual cash award for developing a process for renovating fiberglass embedded interpretive panels used to display information about Florida State Park historical events, plant and animal life, natural and architectural features. Some of the photos and text had faded on the park’s 15-year-old interpretive kiosk to the degree that several large panels were in poor condition and needed to be replaced. Working with a local sign company, Mr. Polk was able to refurbish the existing panels and saved approximately $5,700. He then documented the process and shared it with other parks. The new process will improve the overall interpretive experience for visitors to Florida State Parks. With many parks taking advantage of the improved process, the Division of Recreation and Parks will have cumulative savings for years to come.
  • Thomas Kennedy received an individual plaque award for designing and implementing a department-wide, real-time dashboard tool that merges and studies key permitting process data. This process leverages data analysis to enable each District office to benchmark their data, review/analyze and improve performance related processes, establish expectations by setting competitive targets, better manage and improve their internal permitting review times, and govern their team’s resources.
  • Keith Reynolds received the individual plaque award for creating a new Lake Vegetation Index (LVI) to work with ArcGIS. ArcGIS is a versatile software used for mapping surface areas, predicting probable outcome scenarios and providing a variety of reports. While working with staff, Mr. Reynolds noticed they were spending a lot of time manually dividing a lake into 12 equal segments for the LVI bioassessment. Using his ArcGIS skills, along with his innovative spirit and commitment to efficient cost savings, he developed a tool that does this process automatically. Approximately 45 Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration staff, statewide, were trained via webinar on how to use the new mapping technique for the LVI. Using this new protocol, the process for making maps for the LVI has gone from 30 minutes per map to less than five minutes.

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