Governor Kevin Stitt and State Chief Operating Officer John Budd presented awards Wednesday to seven state agencies as part of the 2021 Governor’s “Leading with Hope” Summit at the Oklahoma History Center.
“My vision is to align all of our state agencies around the core purpose of changing Oklahomans’ futures for the better,” said Gov. Stitt. “We have talented leaders and public servants across state government, and I am honored to recognize agencies that are moving the needle with these awards.”
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority earned the Governor’s Award for its work over the past year to expand Medicaid to a new population of Oklahomans, modernize the delivery system to improve health outcomes and build a strong partnership with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to submit state plan amendments and other policy proposals.
The Office of Management and Enterprise Services won the Continuous Improvement Award for its work on the largest data center project in state history, which provided the state its first true disaster-backup capabilities, moved more than 7,000 servers and 9,000 databases and was completed on time and under budget.
The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry earned the Team Player Award for its pandemic response, which included coordination with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce to connect commercial drivers to ag producers in need of transportation as well as donating PPE and testing supplies to staff volunteering at food banks and engaging in direct pandemic response through the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory.
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services earned the Transformation Award by shifting statewide office operations to leverage 113 new community partner spaces, modernize offices to support telework and decrease costs not directly associated with helping constituents.
The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department won the Innovation Award for its work to promote the state through award-winning marketing and advertising campaigns, improving state park restaurants by outsourcing operations and increasing state park visitation and revenue.
The governor honored the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission, also known as the Transportation Cabinet, for its value and efficiency as it develops a modernized organizational structure and continues to focus on leveraging shared resources and enhancing transportation services for the public.
Additionally, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission earned recognition for its external communications and social media presence. OESC developed a robust campaign to leverage all forms of communication to provide timely information about unemployment claims during the height of the pandemic as well as set up community events to address claim backlogs.
“Oklahoma’s state agencies didn’t miss a beat in the last year and a half as the world changed around us,” said Budd. “These seven agencies represent a fraction of the agencies that did outstanding work to serve Oklahomans. The governor and our team were thrilled to bring our agency leaders together to celebrate them.”
The 2021 Governor’s “Leading with Hope” Summit included remarks from First Lady Sarah Stitt, who is committed to bringing the science of hope to every community in Oklahoma. Dr. Chan Hellman, founder of the University of Oklahoma’s Hope Research Center, delivered the keynote address and led breakout sessions for state agency leaders to explore how Oklahoma can become a hope-centered state.