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Harris County wins Smart Cities Award



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Harris County won the 2021 Smart Cities North America Awards (SCNAA) in the Administration category for its innovative ePermits solution. IDC Government Insights, sponsor of the national contest, announced the SCNAA winners on July 13 and the awards ceremony to be held on Oct. 20 in National Harbor, Md. 

Harris County Engineering Department and Harris County Universal Services entered the ePermits solution in the contest. According to Travis Meeks, Building Official for Harris County Permits Office, the winner for each category was determined by the number of nationwide votes it received.

"We're very grateful and thankful to everyone who took the time to vote for the ePermit solution," Meeks said. 

HCUS Chief Operations Officer Josh Stuckey initiated ePermits when he managed permits for the engineering department. The vision was to recreate the entire permit process online so customers would not need to step inside an office.

"An electronic system would eliminate the need to create numerous permit satellite offices throughout the county. It would save everyone time and money," Stuckey said. "From that vision, an outstanding team from HCUS stood up to make it a reality. It's a project that we all accomplished together."

HCUS Executive Director MG Rick Noriega said, "We have top talent both in our department and county, and the Smart Cities award validates that. This awards shows what we can achieve when we innovate and collaborate."

The members of the HCED team who helped develop the ePermits solution were: Human Resources Manager Chuntania Dangerfield; Building Official Travis Meeks; GIS spatial data analyst Melissa McGinnis; environmental regulatory technician Vence Salvato; Engineering Manager Jonathan Steiber; Permits Manager Shawn Sturhan; and GIS team lead Eric Worthington. 

The members of the HCUS team were: developer Kalyani Botta; GIS Manager Johnny Brown; application architect Hoa Cao; quality analyst Lakshmi Gopinath; business analyst Janelle Holgado; database developer John Huang; developer Austin Jackson; quality analyst Michelle Jackson; developer Pritee Kolhatkar; developer Sravanthia Nunna; development lead Saira Nuzhat; business analyst Terence Pabbathi; quality analyst Sujatha Purushotam; project manager Pamela Richards; developer Dennis Seidel; business analyst Billy Shaw; Stuckey; Application Development Sr. Manager Lee Tankersley; scrum master Todd Thrash; project manager Diana Tunches; developer Mike Unfried (†); developer Vijay Vidhu; developer Nan Wang; and Custom Development Manager Court Wellington. 

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