Please provide a 300-600 word narrative on how the nominee delivers on our purpose to Empower People, Improve Lives and Inspire Success as it pertains to the respective award category. How do they represent North Dakota state government as a world-class service provider? How do they stand out in their abilities to creatively problem solve, to overcome challenges, to use technology in new and better ways and to help elevate the team? How are they finding efficiencies and transforming the way we do business? Share specific examples that paint a picture of how the nominee embodies the attitudes, values and 21st century skills that are vital to our collective success serving the citizens of North Dakota!



1. Heritage Award

A common history and a shared heritage are equally important to a unified mission and a commitment to public service. History only tells where you've been and what you've done; heritage reveals who you are – your beliefs, principles and values. As human beings, we need to identify with more than job duties or a paycheck. We need a context of values and ideals that give meaning to what we do every day. That's heritage. And as public servants our heritage is strongly tied to a core emphasis on citizen focus. This award honors an individual who has shown resourcefulness, determination and personal integrity, overcoming obstacle after obstacle to do what's right by the citizen. Not only have they enriched our heritage of citizen focus, but in doing so have contributed to our shared mission and values in a meaningful and lasting way.


2. Telegraph Award (Excellence in Technology)

This decade marked the 170th anniversary of the telegraph. Modern communication began with those simple dots and dashes, which is a good beginning, because while some technologies were machine or production focused, the telegraph represented a different ideal: technology as service. This award is given to an individual who has sought out new technologies that fulfill this ideal today - technologies that enable us to better serve our citizens and one another. With their dedication, we continue to deliver the benefits of these advancements to the citizens of North Dakota. By combining an old fashioned ideal of service with the most advanced technology available, we ensure the technologies we use to carry out our mission remain fresh and current in a constantly changing world.


3. Pioneer Award (Excellence in Innovation)

Innovation is critical to what we do. Developing a mindset that asks, "why do we do things this way - is it the best, most efficient way it can be done?" will elevate everything we do as we serve our fellow citizens. This way of thinking challenges us to avoid complacency and retain the innovative edge needed to deliver world-class services with a citizen focus. This award recognizes an individual with a pioneer's spirit whose drive to innovate and eagerness to embrace the opportunities found in change shapes everything they do.


4. Zezula Award (One Who Helps)

In the 1870's, Gov. Burgum's great grandfather was an army surgeon at Fort Rice, an isolated post in a territory that would eventually become North Dakota. When the doctor visited surrounding areas tending to the sick, his wife Linda would accompany him. In honor of her spirit of friendly helpfulness, she was given the name Zezula by the local Arikara meaning "One who helps." The work we do at its core is one of the service to others. We sometimes forget that the pioneers, symbols of rugged individualism, always contributed profoundly to their communities. Life was too hard to go it alone. You invested your talents, ideas and vision into something bigger than yourself, and you worked to bring about dreams you held in common with others who shared your beliefs. The award honors an individual who has embraced the principles of leadership everywhere, using their skills and knowledge to help others in our community of public servants. They have not let job descriptions or parochial differences stand in their way but have taken action where necessary and lent support where needed. In doing so, they have enriched their individual talents, strengthened our community, increased our opportunity for success, and earned the honored name of Zezula.


5. Landmark Award (Excellence in People Management)

The Midwest is rich with landmarks, powerful tributes to those who, through exceptional leadership and vision, have rallied people to accomplish something worth remembering. But we rarely see landmarks that way, because we only see the tribute itself: a plaque by a fountain, a statue in a city park, a cornerstone we walk past every day without a second thought. To make landmarks come alive, we need to see the individual who marshaled the forces, planned the movement and made a difference. We need to understand their vision and how we ourselves have benefited from their accomplishments. Today, we celebrate this kind of leadership with the Landmark Award, which honors a manager who has generated a remarkable spirit of unity and purpose in their department. They have provided their team with the plan, the support and the role model necessary to succeed. As a result of their skill, their team has accomplished something of true value to our organization, making a difference and worthy of remembrance.


6. Frontier Award (Excellence in Continuous Learning)

The frontier of new knowledge and information has never been so wide. That's where the future is, and to remain successful we must be explorers who constantly venture into that wilderness, prospecting for new information. Before enjoying a successful harvest, we must plant the seeds. To enjoy the fruits of our success in the future, we must invest in improving the present. To be a world-class provider of services in the 21st century, we must actively seek new knowledge and skills. This award is given to an individual who has actively sought out new frontiers of learning by increasing their own knowledge through a growth mindset and becoming a center of knowledge for their peers. In this way, they are championing education throughout government, introducing us to new skills and tools that make us more effective at what we do.


7. Harvest Award (Excellence in Quality)

Harvest time is the true test of quality. That time when everything is above ground, the results of months of planning, work and growing, out in the open for everyone to see. That's when the consistent, day in-day out effort which can go unnoticed for so long is justified by a rich harvest. This award is given to an individual who has made an exceptional commitment to quality, which they have demonstrated in their everyday work, month after month. The results of their leadership and dedication to making a difference have proven to be a true harvest shared by everyone in their organization.


8. Sodbuster Award (Excellence in Growth Mindset)

Unintimidated by the seeming solidness of intertwined grasses, sodbusters saw the opportunity that lay beneath, and worked to turn the earth, exposing new opportunities for themselves and their communities. Striving to increase yields, they sought new methods and laid the foundation for the future. This award is given to an individual who exemplifies the ideals of a growth mindset. They embrace challenges as an opportunity to grow and develop their skills and knowledge. When faced with obstacles, they search for new strategies to achieve success, turning over the strategies of the past to expose new and innovative approaches for the future. They actively seek out and incorporate feedback, knowing it is an important step in learning. Through their growth mindset they are constantly breaking new ground, searching for opportunities to improve themselves, to transform processes and to inspire the same in their colleagues.


9. Roaming Bison Award (Team)

Just as the herd contributes to the strength of the bison, working as one across our organization we create a team stronger than the sum of its parts. Diverse teams working together across, agencies and branches bring together the resources of our state to serve our citizens best. Being inclusive and sharing information provides better outcomes and is crucial to innovation. This award is given to a team – within an agency or across multiple agencies – that is uniquely exceptional. They collectively demonstrate innovation in project execution, exhibit courageous curiosity in problem solving or use technology to increase efficiency. They represent the best of the best in citizen focus and a commitment to being a world-class service provider. Cross-cutting team nominations are encouraged.