In July, Peak Academy launched our new Public Service Superhero training (PSSH). We ran two cohorts with a Black-Belt inspired curriculum that was modified for the online format and the unprecedented challenges we’re currently facing. Eleven city employees responded to our figurative Bat-Signal looking for people who could help us save our city! One of those exceptional individuals was Lance Dorris.

Photo of Lance Dorris sitting in a ocean-side restaurant
Lance Dorris

Lance is a technician in OHR and supports the hiring of Equipment Operators. As the position title suggests, Equipment Operators operate heavy machinery including large vehicles (snow plows, trash trucks, etc.), so as a part of their application process, individuals applying for these positions must prove they have the skills to safely operate this machinery. To support the testing, Lance coordinates the test site, the test evaluator, and the applicant.

Prior to his innovation, this process required a high volume of paperwork. In addition to being out of sync with the city’s green priorities, the paper process posed a challenge in the wake of COVID-19, as papers and pens were being passed back and forth between different parties. Furthermore, the testing required applicants to be in close proximity with other applicants and evaluators. Lance came to PSSH ready to work towards a solution for these challenges. While responding to COVID-19 was his driver, he also wanted to use the opportunity to make a more efficient process.

Diagram showing the flow of candidates and raters through the Performance Testing Site
Lance’s Spaghetti Diagram

In true superhero fashion, Lance was motivated to fix the process, but also mindful to work with the resources he had available. He knew he’d have to take his process digital, but in a time of budget reduction purchasing new technology wouldn’t be an option. With some persistent investigating, he was able to find two tablets that were going unused. He converted the original paper forms into digital forms, and now applicants complete their required paper on their own devices, while evaluators fill out their forms on the tablets. Furthermore, Lance used a spaghetti diagram to map out a new flow for the testing site that significantly reduced the time applicants and evaluators spend in close proximity. Not only does this improvement reduce health risks, but it also saves additional time walking back and forth between points in the testing circuit. This time translates to projected soft savings of nearly $15,000.

After class, Lance quickly implemented his ideas and is the first employee to earn his Public Service Superhero Certification! Lance represents the hero we all need right now. He was willing to take a leap of faith with a new idea (our pilot class), worked with the resources available, and found ways to make a process more efficient while also quickly adapting it to meet COVID-induced challenges. Lance is just one of many Public Service Superheroes and we can’t wait to watch the ways they all get to work to save our city.

Email us at if you are interested in attending our training and joining Lance in the the league of superheroes!

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