Employees of the Quarter!

On a quarterly basis, BIT recognizes staff in honor of their outstanding performance and dedication to our agency, state government and the citizens of South Dakota. This time around, we gladly recognize:
Al Peterson- Data Center

Alan (Al) Peterson is a technology engineer level 4 for BIT.  He has been a member the BIT (CDP,IPS,I\S) team for 39 years(yes, 39!).  He started working at the State in 1976 as a COBOL programmer for Central Data Processing.  (For those reading this who are too young to have worked with COBOL, rest assured Al arrived with the newest and latest programming skills).  In 1979 he joined a team researching mainframe database technologies.  That team picked the technology that would become the State’s first Database Management System (ADABAS from Software AG).   Some of that team eventually formed a Database Administration Group supporting the new technology with Al as one of the founding members.  He has remained a valuable member of that team since 1979.
Al’s current duties span technologies used on both Windows and the State’s IBM mainframe.  These include Natural, Natural Security, Webmethods, EntireX and Natural Engineer.  His backup duties include Trim, Auditre and Predict.
Most recently Al has been integral in the implementation of Natural Engineer. Natural Engineer is a key tool that will provide structural analysis of the DSS Automated Eligibility (DSS’s largest application).  Al is also key to the success of the State’s SOA toolset (Software AG’s Webmethods) implementation.  His instinctive insights and inputs in every area of his duties enable everyone that works with Al to be more successful as he’s always willing to share and teach.  Those who have been in BIT for many years may remember the “rigors” of the ABABAS File Design Review process and feedback process and the helpful feedback that was so often forthcoming from that process. 
Al is definitely a team player and his years of experience and skills make him a valued member of the BIT team.  He always strives for the success of the organization as his top priority.  
Al grew up on a farm near Artesian, SD.   He is an alumnus of Dakota State in Madison and is a lifelong resident of South Dakota.  He is an avid hunter and fisherman, enjoys ATV trail rides in the Black Hills, and his pontoon boat on the river.  He also likes to try out BBQ and grilling recipes, always looking for that perfect marinate/seasoning/grille combination.  More recently he has been enjoying time with Denver, his grandson who has more hair than Al.
Linda Plett- Telecommunications
Linda is a technology engineer and has worked for BIT for almost 19 years.  She is a member of the IT Asset Management team.  She began her career with BIT at the Help Desk and was instrumental in the implementation of the HEAT call tracking system.  Through this implementation, Linda became more knowledgeable on SQL server and as a result moved from the Help Desk to the Database group.  In 2013 when BIT started looking at IT Asset Management products, Linda represented the Database group on the project.  She took great interest in reviewing and learning about the different vendor packages and when LANDesk was purchased, Linda became part of LAN Services and the ITAM team.  Linda does most of the backend database work for the LANDesk software.  She also works with state agencies by presenting to them their installed software, what software they have purchased and combing the two so they know where stand with software compliance on Microsoft and Adobe products.  Linda has learned a lot about different software licenses, the ins and outs of what can and cannot be done with each of the different software packages.  She has been very proactive in working with LANDesk to pass along ideas and resolve issues we have experienced with their software. She sometimes gets the impression that we give LANDesk ideas on how to improve their software.  
In her spare time, Linda has enjoyed doing crafts and is very talented in doing floral arrangements and making jewelry.  She also likes to travel – has been to Scotland, England, Whales and is planning a trip Ireland.  
Linda has 3 sons – Trevor, Denver and Jeremy, two daughter-in-laws – Natasha, who works for BIT Development in Rapid City and Kori, and a very special granddaughter – Katia – who is the light of her life.   

Elise Bunkers- Development

Elise is a software engineer level 2  for the development department of BIT. Elise’s day-to-day responsibilities include the primary support of several DOT applications. She originally created BIT’s Application Portfolio Management system which is used to track information about BIT’s 800+ custom applications. Elise was one of the first BIT developers to incorporate responsive web pages. This allows the displayed website to auto-resize depending on the viewing device (desktop, tablet, phone, etc.).

Elise recently worked on a team to develop a system that included both a web interface along with a mobile collection module. Users are able to inventory, inspect, photo, and geo-locate items using a tablet. The information is collected in the field using a mobile device, and then viewed through a browser.

Elise moved to Pierre in May of 2013 and started working for BIT as a summer intern. The summer intern position turned to into a full time position and she has been working for BIT ever since.

Elise grew up in Del Rapids and graduated from Dakota State University in 2013.

Even though she doesn’t catch many fish, she likes to try whenever possible. Hiking is another way Elise is able to enjoy the outdoors. While indoors, she likes to read, knit, and watch various types of movies.

Randy Sullivan- Administration
Randy Sullivan, BIT Purchasing Agent, has been with State government for 39 years.  He has been a vital member of the BIT Finance Team since 1996.  His career with State government began in 1976 when in worked as an intern at KUSD Radio and TV.  He was hired as a TV on-air operator and production assistant and then transitioned to TV production full-time.  In 1978 he took the Purchasing agent/Property Management Officer position for SDPB & KUSD-TV and Radio.
Randy’s primary role with BIT has been coordination of technological, broadcasting and radio equipment purchases for all divisions of BIT.    He is also tasked with grant purchases, Statewide BIT inventory, surplus property, writing local purchase orders, working with OPM on the Statewide Procurement Management system, reviewing and updating the BIT accounting, purchasing and contract databases.  He has been involved with the LANDesk project that is currently underway.  His software and hardware data for BIT purchases has been extremely instrumental in resolving some of the issues that were encountered.
Randy is native to SD.  He was born in Mitchell and grew up in that area, along with his 9 brothers and sisters in that area.  He received his degree in Mass Communications in 1976 from USD (go Yotes).
Randy married to his lovely wife, Sandie, in 1987.  He is very involved with the Lions Club, meals on wheels, and the Vermillion Coalition Against Domestic.   His 2 children and 2 grandsons keep Randy on top of his game! 
Again, congratulations and thank you all for your efforts and for all the years of dedication of service to the State—BIT looks forward to many more!

Employees of the Quarter Announced at BIT

In honor of these individuals’ outstanding performance and dedication to the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications, state government and the citizens of South Dakota, we gladly recognize them for their high standards of excellence in their duties.

Kristina, Ki, Carrie and Nic, we thank you for all you do to improve state technology services – you all make a difference!

Ki Weingart, Data Center (top left); Nick Penning, Telecommunications (top right);
Carrie Tschetter, Administration (bottom left); Kristina Cottingham, Development (bottom right)

Kristina Cottingham – Development 

Kristina is a Software Engineer II for the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications Development Team 2.  She has 16 months of service with the State of South Dakota in this field.  Kristina graduated from Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.

She has been completing her Master’s Degree online and will be graduating with it this May.  Kristina has been assigned the project lead on several technology upgrade projects.  She successfully completed the AG40 Campfire Database system for the Department of Agriculture WildLand Fire Division and received praise from the clients on her work.  Kristina has also been working on the PS16 Video Request system for the Department of Public Safety that will streamline the processing of Highway Patrol videos.

In addition, Kristina is working on multiple systems within the Department of Environment and Natural Resources FoxPro conversion project.  She has excellent organizational skills and always likes to have a full plate of tasks to stay busy.  Kristina possesses excellent communication and people skills to go along with her outstanding technical skills.  She collaborates and interacts well with co-workers in team environments to insure the success of projects. She also has the unique ability of understanding and meeting client needs when interacting with them while efficiently meeting the objectives and goals of BIT.

Ki Weingart – Data Center

Ki is a technology engineer for BIT and has worked for the State of South Dakota helping to satisfy our clients’ needs for 36 years!  He came to Pierre in 1978 to work for a private firm. Eventually Ki started working with Alan Peterson and Jim Dickson as the first DBA’s for BIT back when it was called: Central Data Processing.

Ki has worked on a lot of projects during his career. He’s supported every mainframe disaster recovery drill, countless client application walkthroughs and implementations, trouble-shooting events, and countless late night calls from Operators calling him to fix Abends after hours. His current duties include ADABAS, Natural, Trim, Auditre, and backup support for WebMethods, EntireX and Natural Engineer.

Over his years with the state Ki has been a positive, helpful team player always willing to assist anyone with a need he can support.

Carrie Tschetter – Administration 

Carrie has been recognized for her high standards of excellence in project management and customer advocacy.

Carrie is a member of the Project Management Office.  She is the Point of Contact for four state government agencies:  Department of Revenue, Department of Military, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Public Utilities Commission.  Carrie is able to provide her top notch customer service to state agencies due to her previous experience as a client of BIT.  She came to BIT about a year ago from the Department of Revenue (DOR) bringing with her twenty years of service to the State of South Dakota.

Since joining BIT, Carrie has actively participated in several activities to learn about the services BIT provides our client agencies.  As a Point of Contact, Carrie has taken an active role in project meetings for her assigned state agencies.  The DVA is in the process of building a new VA home in Hot Springs.  To address DVA I/T concerns, Carrie participated in two trips to visit the new VA Home with BIT LAN Services and Network Technology staff.  Through working on the VA home project, she found that the State Engineers’ Office was not including the recommended I/T clauses in their contracts. She has also assumed a more active project leader role for several DOR projects.  During a recent cyber security tabletop exercise with DOR, Carrie was instrumental with assisting in the planning and successful execution of the joint project.

Carrie can translate the technology jargon for agency clients.  She also has become an asset to the PMO team by contributing her past experience and her current research on specific topics.  She has added a dimension to BIT workgroup discussions by providing her input based upon an agency client’s viewpoint.  When the PMO team needed assistance to manage a few projects, Carrie volunteered to manage the BIT SDPB Audio Webcasting project, serve as the PMO representative on the Classic .asp rewrite work group, and participate in an incident notification review.

Nic Penning – Telecommunications

Nic is a Technology Engineer and a valued member of BIT’s security team. He spends a majority of his time analyzing information security threats which aids in hardening the defense of the State of South Dakota’s network infrastructure.

“What I find most interesting about information security is malware and everything in its related nature. I find it fun reversing binaries and trying to figure what the malicious applications do.”

Nic is originally from Hulett, Wyoming just 10 miles from the Devils Tower National monument. He grew up building and fixing computers starting at the age of 10 for his father’s company, Double Star Computing. After high school he attended Gillette College in Wyoming and received his associates in Computer Information Systems, while competing on the collegiate cross country and track team. Nic continued his education at Dakota State University with the opportunity to not only obtain a fun Computer and Network Security Degree, but also competed in the full marathon at the national collegiate level. His second year at Dakota State yielded many accomplishments such as the Cyber Corp Scholarship for Service opportunity and a summer internship working for BIT.

“After my first ever day in Pierre, I knew right away that this was a great place to live. The first thing I did once I arrived was went for a 10 mile run by the river, and I knew that if the people here were as nice as the run I had, then this was going to be a great summer, in which it ultimately was.”

Nic completed his education at Dakota State University graduating with a Master’s Degree in Information Assurance with a Specialization in Cyber Security.

Some of Nic’s recent accomplishments include statewide Nessus vulnerability scanning; this is part of a larger project to map out the security vulnerabilities statewide and put together a more comprehensive plan to reduce the attack surface. He also worked on the IDS upgrade, including hardware and system software upgrade. This allows the state to support 10Gbps throughput at the IDS level. It brings additional capabilities like the ability to check files for malware on the wire. Finally, Nic has had a part in the installation of a security sandbox to reverse malicious code, engineering a solution to shut down automatically executing office files, and volunteering to present to the point of contacts regarding security.

Again, congratulations and thank you all for your efforts and for all the years of dedication of service to the State—BIT looks forward to many more!