What happens to black belts after they go through the week long Peak Academy black belt training? This question was posed by the Denver Public Works Executive Director Eulois Cleckley, after learning about the program. This question inspired the idea to pave a new path for innovation: re-engage active graduates from Peak Academy to utilize their skills and passion for continuous improvement, with a twist… take them out of their current role for 2-3 months, place them with a team that needs help on a specific project, and then let them innovate.

The creators of this experiment hoped to achieve success, but acknowledged the possibility of failure as well. What happened as a result went far beyond any of their expectations, and some truly incredible things came about!

Three individuals were selected to be pioneers for the pilot project, and each of them shared these foundational qualities: great relationship builders, team players, self-starters, and shared passion of improving government for the citizens of Denver.

T.C. Bohnet – Plans Review Supervisor with Development Engineering Services, Norm Roderick – Operations Supervisor with Street Sweeping, and Darnell Brooks – Parking Enforcement Supervisor with Right of Way Enforcement.

Project #1 – Right of Way Enforcement – 72 Hour Parking

T.C. Bohnet took on the very first fellowship assignment that aimed to improve the way 72 hour parking violations are delivered and enforced. He worked with staff and management to review current procedures and policies, and he even heard from customers too. T.C. proposed a number of changes, from customer education to policy revisions, that will ultimately benefit anyone who parks in the City and County of Denver!

Project #2 – ROWE – New Agent On-boarding & Training

Norm Roderick was assigned to work with the Right of Way Enforcement division on improving new parking enforcement agent training, which had been resulting in high rates of turnover and staff disengagement. Some of the improvements implemented were an update of the training syllabus and content, process time reduction for background checks, and the implementation of a “buddy system”, which allows new agents to receive invaluable on-the-job training from experienced agents.

Project #3 Transportation Operations – Painting & Striping

Darnell Brooks worked with the Transportation Operations division on improving the rate of laying down road striping, which had been missing the mark in previous years. With Darnell’s guidance, the team found a new way to load paint into the truck, and enhanced their service delivery by speeding up the striping process as well. The team ended up painting far more lane miles than anticipated and the achieved their goal!

Each project resulted in measurable improvement, and the fellowship pilot program has caught the attention of other agencies in the City looking to replicate the success found by Public Works. Please reach out to the Peak team if you’re interested in starting a fellowship program for your agency 🙂

Stay tuned for a couple more blogs on this subject featuring many more successful public works fellowship projects!

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