WA Askew Award Recipient: Jessica Griess (CPM, 2022)
On March 16, 2023, the Washington Certified Public Manager® program presented Jessica Griess with the Askew Award for exceptional Capstone Project from the 2021-22 cohort.
On March 16, 2023, the Washington Certified Public Manager® program presented Jessica Griess (City of Algona) with the Askew Award for exceptional Capstone Project from the 2021-22 cohort.
The George C. Askew Award was created by the American Academy of Certified Public Managers® to recognize outstanding projects throughout the country and named in honor of the first individual to be certified by a CPM® program. Each CPM® program may select one project to be given the award for its local program. In Washington State, the Capstone Project uses the Lean Six Sigma methodology to give participants a strong framework within which to apply the CPM® Competencies.
When she began the CPM® program in 2021, Jessica Griess had recently transitioned from a position with the Algona Police Department to serving as the Algona City Clerk. Her capstone project centered on what might seem a small concern but one that was having significant internal and external impacts: the utility billing process. Taking at least five business days to complete when Jessica initiated her project, process was causing friction and frustration between departments, dissatisfied customers, and additional stress on staff who had to neglect other duties to deal with the process.
By applying the DMAIC methodology alongside the CPM® Competencies, Jessica and her team dropped the processing time from fifty-three hours (more than five working days) to the low thirties – about a forty percent decrease. That time saved translates directly to more timely service to community customers and staff availability for other duties. The project also provided a valuable opportunity for the cross-departmental team to come together and build a shared language amid their challenges with staff turnover and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nine months later, Jessica’s project is still showing benefits. In a recent billing cycle, Jessica’s team noticed the processing time had ticked back up significantly. Their process control plan kicked into place and they discovered the cause: a staff member was on vacation. “It was kind of cool to have these tools we could implement,” Griess shared. “We could say, ‘Hey, okay! Time to get back on that cross-training.’”
The Washington Certified Public Manager® program through the University of Washington Tacoma’s Professional Development Center is a unique opportunity for public sector employees to grow their leadership, management, and process improvement skills. Learn more at https://www.tacoma.uw.edu/pdc/certified-public-manager.