Press release

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – State of Missouri employees across numerous executive departments pitched their ideas to make Missouri state government better to the state’s senior leadership on Monday in the first-ever Show Me Challenge competition.

Inspired by the hit TV show “Shark Tank,” the Show Me Challenge brought together teams of employees from Missouri’s 16 executive departments to pitch solutions that improve services to the citizens of Missouri, cut out unnecessary bureaucratic work, and/or save time and money.

The Show Me Challenge invited all state employees in the executive branch to submit a written pitch outlining their solutions in detail. In this first cycle of the Show Me Challenge, senior leaders received nearly 90 proposals from about 350 employees from across the state.

The top 11 teams were invited to participate in the final competition, where they had the opportunity to present their ideas in front of a panel of judges, including department directors and other senior leaders with government and business expertise.

Teams’ ideas ranged from ways to improve citizen service to cutting bureaucratic processes.

The team that received the first place award was AgStop, which presented the concept of a web portal and accompanying smartphone application that will allow users to page through a short list of prompts to submit regulatory forms, identify new marketing opportunities, and discover financial options available to them through the Missouri Department of Agriculture – in one stop.

Winning team members of AgStop are the following:

· Maddy Berwanger, Department of Agriculture

· Sami Jo Freeman, Department of Agriculture

· Sarah Goellner, Department of Agriculture

· Jenny Janssen, Department of Agriculture

· Kelly Lane, Department of Agriculture

· Janice Libbert, Department of Agriculture

· Eric Pahl, Office of Administration

· Justin Smith, Attorney General’s Office

· Kristina Stafford, Department of Agriculture

· Reagan Wempe, Department of Agriculture

The team Keep on Truckin’ from the Department of Revenue won second place. The team focused on reducing Commercial Driver License transaction errors that occur in the license offices which have a negative impact on Missourians in the transportation industry.

Mobile Electronic Assessments from the Department of Health and Senior Services took third place. The team developed a simple technology solution to an outdated government process and implementation of mobile assessments that will yield more efficient operations, costs savings, and greatly improved customer service for over 38,000 Missourians.

The panel of judges for the first cycle were Carol Comer, Director of the Department of Natural Resources; Drew Erdmann, State of Missouri Chief Operating Officer; Scott Fitzpatrick, State of Missouri Treasurer; Anna Hui, Director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations; Ken Zellers, Chief Operating Officer of the Department of Revenue; and Tim Noonan, Founder and CEO of NICE Holdings and chairman of the Missouri Veterans Commission.

During their deliberation, the judges considered a pitch’s quality, practicality, and potential for impact.

“The Show Me Challenge is a new way for state employees to pitch innovative, grassroots solutions to make Missouri state government work better not only for the citizens we serve, but also for the employees doing the work,” said Drew Erdmann, State of Missouri Chief Operating Officer. “This competition is all about tapping into the knowledge of the people on the front lines every day serving our citizens. As we’ve seen with this first round of the Show Me Challenge, state employees are ready to step up and find new ways to deliver impact.”

“One of the greatest aspects of the Show Me Challenge is we found that entrepreneurs are everywhere across Missouri state government, inside every organization,” said Tim Noonan, a St. Louis-based entrepreneur and chairman of the Missouri Veterans Commission. “As an entrepreneur, I was impressed by the quality of the pitches. It was great to see State of Missouri tapping the talent and creativity of all its team members to serve the citizens of Missouri.”

The Show Me Challenge will take place twice annually, with the second cycle of the competition launching in February. Finalist teams will present their pitches to a panel of judges in June.