Weeding through innovations

CU Innovation and Efficiency Awards celebrate employee-generated solutions
By Staff

CU Innovation and Efficiency Awards celebrate employee-generated solutions

Weeding out the winners was the daunting task faced by the voting body for the 2018 CU Innovation and Efficiency Awards. In the end, the weeds won.

At this year’s CU I&E Expo, CU Boulder employees David Lawson, Darren Willett and Pedro Vasquez Silva won the $1,500 grand prize for their creative approach to weed control on the campus. In the wake of the 2013 floods, they noticed that vegetation around a steam pipe rupture was killed. Inspired, they found a viable steam weed control process and machine in Australia and successfully implemented it on the pesticide-free grounds.

Four other individuals/teams won $1,000 cash awards for their innovative practices.

Parking gurus Jim Spice, Matthew Broderick, Renee Cinkosky and Natalie Skaggs implemented an enhanced “virtual” parking system at UCCS. Campus users now may register their vehicles rather than be required to stand in line each semester to obtain a permit. Technology also enables electronic parking enforcement and payment by cell phone.

Undergraduate adviser Maura Hollister faced a challenge as sole adviser to over 450 electrical engineering students in Boulder. She stepped up to the task by devising paperless approaches to sharing critical information, including dry-erase course flow diagrams and the use of GoogleDrive. Students use cell phones to store and study pictures of their degree progress.

Mikayla Greenfield and Chavon Harrell worked with Colorado Springs Utilities to create a spreadsheet that consolidated 75 monthly utility bills for campus properties, simplifying the payment process and state-mandated energy usage reporting. The utility company was so pleased with the spreadsheet approach that it is being rolled out to other large public entities in the area.

Finally, a joint effort from UCCS and University Information Systems (UIS) resulted in the implementation of the previously unused Veterans Benefit Module in PeopleSoft. They integrated it with the OnBase and CU Student Integrated Systems (CU-SIS) to simplify and expedite the processes for adding and tracking information related to veterans and their benefits. The team brought together Jacqueline Gatlin, Allison Noel and Jennifer Phillips of UCCS, and John Hanna, Phillip Curry, Phillip Jones and Stefan Garman of UIS.

Thanks and kudos also go out to five other teams who made it to the semi-finals:

Amy Cole developed an electronic coding process for invoices and journal entry upload spreadsheets, streamlining the month-end processing and reconciliations for the Boulder Events Planning and Catering department.

Jefferson Butler and Alan Brown made utility delivery more reliable for students and employees by implementing a backup system for the compressed air that powers heat, hot water and condensate evacuation pumps for Boulder’s residence halls.

Rhea Taylor and Suzanne Scott developed the creative “You Rock!!!!” peer recognition program in the UCCS Budget Department. Employees are recognized for their good work with colorfully painted rocks; after collecting five, the employee is treated to lunch, courtesy of their manager. Everyone benefits from this show of appreciation – and there’s no cost to CU.

Greg Brown, Kathy Phillips, Sharon DeCarlo and Stephanie Rosario developed a Cognos report (the Sponsored Project Routing Process Tool) that summarizes critical sponsored award information. The report saves Grant Accountants 400 person-hours of labor.

Chris Seek, Mike Cusic and Normandy Roden from the Office of University Controller at CU system redesigned boring policy websites with brain-friendly graphics, summaries and quizzes to create a more interactive and appealing user experience. 

The CU Innovation and Efficiency Awards Program promotes and rewards creative approaches to solving work-related challenges and simplifying or streamlining business processes. The program period runs Dec. 1-Feb. 28 each year. See the website here and be sure to tell about your own innovations.

Tagged with: