Are you a woman in tech? We want your thoughts! 

The King County Information Technology Equity and Social Justice team will celebrate Women in Technology in March, and are seeking the feedback of employees who are women in tech around King County. If that is you, please briefly answer the following questions and email your answers to Elaine Porterfield at by Feb. 25. Please feel free to share this request with other women throughout the county who also work in technology. Thank you in advance for your participation! 

  • What led you to a career in Information technology? 
  • What role could technology play in addressing Equity & Social Justice issues? 
  • What would gender equity look like in technology? 
  • King County leads with racial justice. Reflect on racial-gender equity in technology. 
  • What contributions have you made in addressing Equity & Social Justice in King County?  
  • Tell us about any changes at King County that have happened as a result of our focus on Equity & Social Justice.

King County Executive Constantine names Rachel Smith as Deputy Executive 

Executive Dow Constantine announced that Rachel Smith will serve as Deputy Executive, responsible for directing strategic initiatives, coordinating senior leadership, overseeing intergovernmental work, and managing administration of the Executive’s staff. 

Smith will continue to serve as Chief of Staff. She joined the Executive’s Office in 2014 as Director of Government Relations. Prior to King County, she worked in government relations at Sound Transit, supporting the agency’s delivery of projects and services across King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. Before that, Smith served as a policy advisor to Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, and performed advocacy work for Transportation Choices Coalition. 

Read more in the official press release. 

DNRP employee Kelly Heintz receives prestigious land conservation award

Pictured: Kelly Heintz with her husband Andrew and the Jim Ellis Spirit Award.

Kelly Heintz, a Natural Lands Planner with the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, was recently honored at the annual Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust (MTSGT) Celebration Dinner as a long-time partner and advocate for public lands, conservation, and recreation in the region. The MTSGT leads and inspires action to conserve and enhance the landscape from Seattle across the Cascade Mountains to Central Washington, ensuring a long-term balance between people and nature.

The Jim Ellis Spirit Award recognizes Kelly for her work as a dedicated and effective open space and natural lands planner, both in her current position at King County Parks, and in her previous work at the Washington Department of Natural Resources. Kelly is a program/project manager in the Natural Lands and Open Space Section of the Parks Division. She secures grants and other funding to acquire high conservation value natural lands. She engages the community around stewardship, public access, and use of those lands.

“I have worked in land conservation and stewardship over the past 20 years at King County and Washington Department of Natural Resources,” Kelly said. ”Together with partners, stakeholders, and citizens we are conserving natural open spaces for wildlife, water quality, outdoor adventure, clean air, and future generations.”

“Collaboration between agencies, private entities, non-profit organizations, citizens, and others is a key element for getting this work done,” she added.

To be honored by the MTSGT is an important distinction in the work being done to conserve and protect natural lands throughout Washington. This award in particular is named after Jim Ellis, a long-time civic leader in the region, and founder of the Trust. Now in his 90s, Jim still plays an important role in local conservation efforts. He was profiled in Seattle Business Magazine and also in an online exhibit exploring WA State history.

“Jim Ellis is a tremendously well-regarded leader, so being given an award in his name is quite an honor,” explained Sarah Brandt, Open Space Government Relations Administrator with King County Parks. “This award recognizes the great work Kelly has done over her career to benefit public lands.”

The dinner, held at the Convention Center on November 28, recognized several King County employees and teams for their projects and programs. Kelly received the prestigious Jim Ellis Spirit Award, presented by Jim Ellis’s granddaughter, Hayley Goelzer, for her work with the Rattlesnake Mountain Land Conservation and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Initiative. Several other King County employees in attendance were also recognized for their projects and programs, including:

  • Monica Leers, King County Parks: East Lake Sammamish Trail and Zackuse Creek
  • Jean White, King County Parks: Snoqualmie Valley Trail Connections
  • Lizzie Jessup, King County Parks and Ryan Miller, King County Metro: Trailhead Direct
  • Alan Painter, Executive Office: Savor Snoqualmie Valley

Pictured: Kelly Heintz

“Together, we are leaving a legacy that makes a difference,” said Kelly. “I’m proud of our work together and commitment to the future.”

Kelly shares that this work can be challenging as the population continues to grow, property values increase, and land is developed. She shares how leaders in this field must be proactive and resourceful to identify lands that need to be conserved, secure the funding, and reach agreements with landowners.

“The good news is that King County and its partners are rising to the challenge with a new Land Conservation Initiative. It launched last year to preserve 65,000 acres of remaining vital and at-risk open space lands in King County within a generation, before the chance is lost to population growth and development pressure,” Kelly adds.

The work of Kelly, Jim Ellis, and others throughout our region will leave a legacy of lands conserved for future generations and protects our way of life in King County and the Pacific Northwest. This land is what makes our community a thriving, successful one, and relies on each of us to do our part.

“We are protecting the landscapes and habitat that increases our quality of life and is a big reason that people live, stay and play here,” Kelly said. “We are increasing public access to green spaces and making our region more resilient to climate change.”

“When I think of King County employees, I think about how everyone I know here is working to help our residents thrive. That’s why I feel lucky working for King County Parks and am excited that my work can support the Land Conservation Initiative and help to save the last, best places in King County.”

Congratulations to Kelly and other employees recognized at the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust Celebration Dinner! To learn about the Trust visit For information about how King County is preserving natural lands, protecting the environment, and being a leader in ecological stewardship visit the Water and Land Services Land Conservation webpage.

Kudos to employees for continued dedication! 

Several people gave kudos online to our hard working employees in roads, healthcare and public safety who are unable to take a snow day. Their service and commitment during the challenging weather kept King County moving and its residents safe.

Additional thanks to those employees who kept our animal friends safe, ensured pet adoption centers were open, and responded to community calls for help. We appreciate your passion to continue providing humane animal care.

Kudos to our employees for their excellent service and hard work during these difficult weather conditions!

Training Spotlight: Basic Data Visualization and Grammar Refresher,

Basic Data VisualizationApril 10: Our ability to gather and collect data has steadily increased over the past decade. But data alone is not information and does not easily convey a compelling story. This half-day introductory course will allow participants to understand why data visualization is important, explore ways to tell a story with data, and mock up data visualizations in whiteboard exercises, using tips explored in class. Register and learn more.  

Grammar Refresher, April 10: Confused about grammar and punctuation? This fun, hands-on class will help you master the latest rules, avoid common errors, and write with confidence. We’ll cover apostrophes, verb tense, word usage, subject/verb agreement, commas/semicolons, style guides, how to avoid the 10 most common grammar and punctuation mistakes, and more. Class includes plenty of examples and exercises to help you practice your new skills. Register and learn more.

The time is right to get moving: Check out tools that support your fitness goals 

Balanced You partners with more than 40 gyms and fitness studios in the Puget Sound area to offer employees and their families exciting discounts. Whether you’ve been wanting to try yoga, learn self-defense, take up indoor rock climbing or just get moving, there are many options to get you started. Learn how King County’s own Jamie Holter achieved her goals through a gym discount.

Pet of the Week: Zoe 

Crossposted from Tails from RASKC 

Do you need a furry alarm clock? Our Pet of the Week Zoe is ready for duty! 

This younger brown tabby came to us because her previous family had to give her up. They tell us that Zoe is shy, loving, and playful – and lets you know when she’s ready to get her day started! Her personality color is “Bashful Blue,” meaning she is a gentle and loving cat who likes to take things slow. Once she gets to know you though, she will be a very devoted friend! 

Read more from Tails from RASKC

A just-in-case map gets the call 

Crossposted from GIS and You 

A little over a year ago, I wrote a post for GIS & You which featured the more than two-dozen map products that we in the King County GIS Center have derived from the King County Metro Transit System master map, a product we redesigned and rebuilt with Metro in 2012. One of those additional maps, first created not long after that new 2012 system map, was a public Emergency Snow Network map. Metro, in coordination with area jurisdictions, including the City of Seattle, has long designated a network of high-ridership bus routes that can use typically plowed streets, and which avoid steep hills, to provide a reduced but core level of service during major snow events. 

Read more from GIS and You

Featured Job: ESJ Strategic Plan Implementation Project Manager 

Salary: $76,689.60 – $97,198.40 Annually 

Location: Seattle, WA 

Job Type: Appointed 

Department: EXEC – Executive’s Office 

Job Number: 2018SDW09142 

Closing: 2/18/2019 11:59 PM Pacific 

The Strategic Plan Project Manager will coordinate and provide overall project management and system administration for implementing the 2016-2022 Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan, as their primary duty. Additional duties of this position will include supporting yearly implementation of King County’s Lift Every Youth Mentorship and Employment Program, developing communication materials, and providing limited administrative support to the Director and the Office as needed. The Strategic Plan Project Manager will be an equity, racial and social justice leader with a passion for inspiring others, representing the Office in broad venues and providing technical assistance. This position reports to the Equity Strategies Manager. 

Learn more about this position or view all available positions.

Celebrating Black History Month in King County

King County Executive Dow Constantine has proclaimed February 2019 to be Black History Month in King County.

“The scientific, technological, economic, political, and cultural innovations by Black Americans and African Americans have been essential to the progress of our nation and we will continue to honor these accomplishments every month and every day in Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., County, Washington State,” Executive Constantine said in his Proclamation.

You can read the Executive’s proclamation here.

Black History Month final