Awards recognize performance excellence at King County 

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King County celebrated the best in employee innovation and service excellence at the inaugural Executive’s Performance Excellence Awards, a program created to recognize projects, improvements, and innovations in departments that are driving exceptional, measurable results. 

Departments were each asked to submit up to two nominations in five key areas – cost, service, people, equity and social justice, and environment. Fifteen projects – three in each category – were named as finalists for the awards.  

The winning workgroups are: 

  • Cost: Fleet Diagnostics (DOT/Fleet) 
  • Service: Missed Trip Reduction (Metro Transit) 
  • People: Part-Time Employment Program (Public Health/Community Health Services) 
  • ESJ: Best Starts for Kids – Leveling the Playing Field for Community Based Organizations (DCHS & Public Health) 
  • Environment: North Utilities Net-Zero Energy Project (DNRP/Parks) 

King County Executive Dow Constantine was the keynote speaker at the event and spoke about his goal of making King County the best-run government where performance excellence and Lean thinking are at the heart of everything that employees do.  

“We’re here today to celebrate those employees and workgroups whose efforts are helping us make measurable improvements in the quality of life for all people in King County,” Executive Constantine said. “I thank all of today’s nominees for their hard work and commitment to service excellence, and for the example they set for all of us.” 

The Executive also talked about the workplace culture we are building at King County, one that embraces Lean thinking, data and measurement, teamwork and respect for people, performance excellence, and an unyielding commitment to continuous improvement. 

Before the award ceremony, the 15 nominated projects presented “poster sessions” of their work, so attendees could learn more about their efforts and results. You can review all five winning posters here and the 15 finalists here.

The projects were measured against four key criteria: 

  • Create greater value for the customer 
  • Demonstrate measurable improvement results 
  • Utilize facts and data 
  • Exhibit progress toward One King County 

In closing the event, Chief Performance Officer Gary Kurihara shared a quote from former Secretary of State Colin Powell: “Excellence is not an exception; it is a prevailing attitude.”  

“I feel this attitude is about raising the bar,” Kurihara said. “It’s an attitude of being open to change, even when it’s how you’ve always done things. It’s an attitude of measuring and monitoring, even when it might feel scary at first. It’s an attitude of service and putting the team ahead of your interests. I challenge us all to help cultivate this attitude of excellence in becoming a best-run government.  I can’t wait to see what this great culture of excellence can achieve next year.”

Nominations for the 2019 awards will open next summer. As you implement your work plan for 2019 and beyond, think about how you will improve service, use data to measure results, enhance employee engagement and collaboration, and ensure your work is aligned to countywide priorities. If you have ideas for 2019 submissions please talk to your manager and leadership team.


2 Comments on “Awards recognize performance excellence at King County 

  1. Terrific!!! Neato to see the top five posters. I’d also like to read the other ten nominations. Where would I find this info?