Thursday, October 30, 2014

Manage your Outlook Mailbox with Quick Steps-Part 2

Depending upon your job and your general day to day activities, you might want to create different Quick Steps that are customized to your needs. Here is a list of other Quick Steps that can work for you as well as directions on how to create them! Be sure to read Part 1 on the blog as well.

·         Flag & Move-Marks the message as read. Flags the message. Moves it to your 1-Reference folder.-You are flagging things for different dates, such as Tomorrow, This Week, etc. Create one per flag you use often.

·         FYI & Move-Marks the message as read. Creates a forward as FYI message. Moves it to your 1-Reference folder.-You are often forwarding email to other people (articles, etc.)

·         Delegate- Marks the message as read. Creates a forward to a specific person. Moves it to your 1-Reference folder.-You receive messages now meant for others.

·         Reply & Delete- Opens a reply window. Deletes the original message -You often receive quick messages that you need to respond to, but that after which, you don’t need the original message. For example: “Hey, do you want to go to lunch with us tomorrow?” Your response: “You bet!”

After you start creating Quick Steps, you will find that there might be other ways that you can optimize the number of clicks required to get something done. Whenever you find yourself doing the same thing repeatedly, try creating a Quick Step. And as projects change, update your Quick Steps so that they are only the things you really do.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New Jobs Are Available!!

 The South Dakota Bureau of Information and Telecommunications has several full time employment opportunities; listed below. If you qualify and are interested, it is encouraged that you send in your resume and apply for a full time position.
Technology Engineer- Job ID 3497
This position designs, supports and provides network services for the Digital Dakota Network. A broad base of communication and security technologies are supported with a focus on supporting Juniper, Cisco, and Fortinet products. Other skill sets include personal computer support, routers and local area network design, LAN switches and hubs. 
Degree in Technology Engineering or related field is preferred but not required.
Senior Software Engineer- Multiple Positions- Job ID 3243
Senior Software Engineers work closely with South Dakota state agency staff to create and maintain business applications. Jobs in this family perform software engineering work that is focused on partnering with clients to understand their business processes, then to identify, define, and build applications that will assist the agency in providing services to the citizens of the state. Incumbents work on applications that are of average complexity to complex enterprise wide applications depending on their skills. Software engineering level assignment (SE3 or SE4) will be determined by the education and experience of the incumbent.
Degree in Software Engineering or related field and 6 or more years of software engineering experience is preferred.
Software Engineer- Multiple Positions- Job ID 3242
Software Engineers work closely with South Dakota state agency staff to create and maintain business applications. Jobs in this family perform software engineering work that is focused on partnering with clients to understand their business processes, then to identify, define, and build applications that will assist the agency in providing services to the citizens of the state. Incumbents work with a Bureau of Information and Telecommunications mentor to perform simple application development tasks depending on the skills of the incumbent. Software engineering level assignment (SE1 or SE2) will be determined by the education and experience of the incumbent.
A degree in Software Engineering or related field is preferred.
To apply for any one of the above positions:
1. Go to
2. Click on All Open Positions.
3. Search for Information and Telecommunications in the Category/Agency column OR enter the Job ID; which can be found below in each of the available postings.
4. Select the position you are interested in and apply.
5. If you would like to learn more about what BIT has to offer, check out these staff videos to learn more about what happens each day within our organization.

Manage your Outlook Mailbox with Quick Steps-Part 1

Do you find yourself repeated doing the same steps in Outlook? Are you continuously sending updates to your supervisors or frequently moving a vast amount of emails to the same folder? Outlook can make your workday easier by providing features that will save you valuable time. Any time you find yourself repeatedly doing the same steps in Outlook, try creating a Quick Step that applies multiple actions at the same time to messages. They are a useful tool to help you keep a clean inbox and to generally be more efficient at using Outlook.

Learn to use the default Quick Steps in Outlook to improve your productivity:

·         Move to: Moves the selected message to a mail folder that you specify and marks the message as read.

·         To Manager: Forwards the message to your manager. If your organization uses Microsoft Exchange Server, your manager's name is detected in the Global Address List and inserted in the "To" box, or you can specify the recipient.

·         Team E-mail: Forwards the message to others in your team. If your organization uses Microsoft Exchange Server, your team members names are detected in the Global Address List and inserted in the "To" box.

·         Done: Moves the message to a specified mail folder, marks the message complete, and then marks it as read. This option can be used for reference messages that you have responded to or otherwise dealt with.

·         Reply & Delete: Opens a reply to the selected message, and then deletes the original message.

·         Create New: Create your own Quick Step to execute any sequence of commands, name it, and then apply an icon to help you identify it.

Depending upon your job and your general day to day activities, you might want to create different Quick Steps that are customized to your needs. Check back tomorrow for Part 2 to view a list of other Quick Steps that can work for you !

Thursday, October 9, 2014

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.
Dan, Jan and Tanya, we thank you for all you do to improve state technology services - you all make a difference!
Dan Maxfield has been recognized for his high standards of excellence in the support and expansion of data center virtualization.
Almost 2 years ago, Dan was hired into the BIT Data Center Integration Team.   The focus had been on finding someone able to support BIT’s need for additional people in the area of virtualization and our VMWare product suite.   We were fortunate to have Dan step forward and we hired him for the position.  Dan brought to BIT existing experience and knowledge of VMware. Since he arrived at BIT, Dan has continued to build on his past technical accomplishments and has shown himself a willing team player. Dan recently earned the classification of 2014 vExpert and was asked to serve on the International VMWare User Group (VMUG) Content Committee.  This is the group that determines the focus of publishing from the International VMUG group to all its members. His daily efforts, his excellent presentations to educate others in BIT, and other tasks he takes on within the team as well as his positive approach to serving our clients have been the hallmarks of his time with BIT. 
What many people outside the Integration team probably don’t know about Dan is that his experience at his previous job in his home town of Hill City also allowed him to dabble in other areas of civil service.  Some of those included, participating in the City Commission of Hill City as well as eventually taking on the responsibility of being elected Mayor!  Outside of work Dan enjoys many activities, much of which he shares with his family: wife Arlene, and children Kristi and Matt.
So two years into his state career, BIT’s Honorable Mayor Maxfield is today a valued member of the Integration Team helping BIT keep moving the State ever further into the new and highly expanding world of virtualization. 
Jan Newman has been recognized for her high standards of excellence in project management.
While not a face seen daily in the Kneip Building, Jan Newman’s voice certainly rings familiar across many a conference call and Lync meeting in BIT.  Acting in roles including senior programmer, business technologies manager, senior analyst, and most recently Technology Engineer; Jan’s talent contributions have improved BIT and state government for 28 years.  While originally based out of Pierre, Jan currently lives and works from the Siberian-suburb of Watertown.  Combining knowledge of technology and industry trends, an ability to translate technical jargon into plain English, attention to detail and the persistence to keep herself and others on schedule, Jan remains a first choice for administering and leading long-term, high-risk, high-visibility, cross-divisional projects in BIT.
Jan’s current portfolio of work includes the I/T Asset Management research and evaluation efforts, the South Dakota Broadband Initiative, and the Dept. of Education’s  School Nutrition & Food programs.   Historically she has participated in the I/T Governance Processes project, Y2K remediation, Continuity of Operations Planning, Intergovernmental Preparedness for Essential Records, Joint Application Design (JAD) sessions, telemedicine project, standard establishment, research and one of the original versions of the BIT newsletter.  Her programming experience includes applications for the Office of the Attorney General, Department of Revenue and the Unified Judicial System. Prior to state government, she had experience with the Sperry Univac (most of you are going to have to use the Google machine to know what that was…), payroll and pensions.

Jan’s dependability, organization, and ability to quickly become well-versed on the wide gamut of technical variances of her cross-discipline task load has been paramount not just to her success in BIT, but to BIT’s success as a whole.  Her success proves how far one can go with an Accounting and Economics degree from SDSU.  Jan was one of the original BIT teleworkers paving the way for many others to work in office locations outside of Pierre. 
Outside of the office, Jan enjoys spending time with her husband George and cooking all of his wild game conquests.  Her adult children Vance, Keith, and Danielle keep her busy though she is convinced that spoiling her growing basketball team of grandchildren is her new life’s passion.  Finally, she is adapting to the new family hunting dog despite the early morning responsibilities of walking the beast. 
Tanya McDermott has been recognized for her high standards of excellence as a project lead for BIT. 
Tanya is a Software Engineer for the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications Development Team 4.  With over 7 years of service with the State of South Dakota in this field, she has proven to be a valuable employee to have on the team. 
Recently Tanya has been assigned the project lead on several projects including the Documentation for Eligibility Modernization System Replacement and the Ambulatory Payment Classifications (APC) Outpatient Pricing projects.  She excels at working on projects that have multiple stakeholders.  Her clear strength is her ability to relate to clients in a respectful and empowering way. 
In addition, she has a knack for mentoring which is most likely related to her experience as a teacher at Northeast Community College. Tanya collaborates well with her co-workers, going out of her way to have a team approach in working with clients while maintaining accurate focus on her clients’ goals.  She goes “above and beyond” what is asked of her.   
This born and raised Nebraskan has two children Savannah (8) and Kaiden (4).  She volunteers to assist the YMCA with their basketball and soccer programs.   Her exercise of choice is boxing.   She has a bachelor of science from Wayne State College and went on to get her masters from University of Phoenix in Computer Information Systems with an emphasis in project management.    She also has two years towards her doctorate. 
Again, congratulations and thank you all for your efforts.  BIT looks forward to many more years of these three being  valued members of our team!

September Longevity Recognition for BIT Employees

BIT recognizes staff in honor of their outstanding performance and dedication to our agency, state government and the citizens of South Dakota. Below is a list of those BIT employees that were recognized for longevity in the month of September. Congratulations and thank you for your years of leadership, commitment and dedication to the State of South Dakota!

Keep up the great work!

Kevin Sarvis                            DATA              13 years
Cheryl Voigt                            DATA              35 years
Joy Nye                                  DATA              46 years

Linda Peterson                        DEV                32 years
Barrie Sargent                         DEV                15 years
Jeremy Schultz                       DEV                11 years
Bruce Kinder                           DEV                8 years
Kurt Nussbaum                       DEV                13 years
Joanne Peterson                     DEV                36 years
Joseph Watson                       DEV                16 years
Mary Ann Word                      DEV                19 years
Rhonda Peterson                    DEV                28 years
Kim Wieczorek                       DEV                22 years

Marty Keegan                         TELE               18 years
Bradley List                             TELE               16 years
Jeanne Mertz                          TELE               20 years
Cami Shouldis                         TELE               13 years
Thomas Eugene                     TELE               26 years
Michael Waldner                     TELE               7 years
James Fry                               TELE               9 years
Ronna Masteller                      TELE               16 years
Brian Singleton                        TELE               32 years

Chad Anderson                       SDPB              15 years
Laura Dimock                         SDPB              13 years
Brian Gevik                             SDPB              9 years
Rex Kinnear                            SDPB              31 years


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Digital Dakota Network (DDN)-Videoconferencing Services

The Digital Dakota Network (DDN) is a fully equipped digital videoconferencing network designed to help South Dakotans overcome the remote geographical challenges within our state.

Primarily designed for distance education, DDN video systems have been placed in every public school district and nearly every high school throughout South Dakota. Many communities may have multiple systems where utilization is heaviest. Other educational sites that connect with DDN are the state’s Universities, State Technical Institutes, tribal schools, private schools, and even health care facilities that provide outreach training.

Videoconference connections are not limited just to South Dakota or traditional education users.  Special educational events are often scheduled through DDN to give all South Dakota public schools an affordable option to bring in outside programs or speakers. Examples of such use are classroom sessions from: NASA, the US Forest Service, the Badlands National Forest, Mt. Rushmore, the Keystone Mammoth Site, the outdoor campus and coming soon educational sessions from the Sioux Falls Great Plains Zoo.

Non-education users include State Government, non-profit organizations, for-profit businesses and other clubs/organizations. (Fee’s may apply for profit/non-profit users)

What are the benefits of using this type of network conferencing system?
There are many benefits to using the DDN for conferences in-state, out-of-state and around the world.
  • Minimizes travel time.
  • Reduces meeting expenses.
  • Increases productivity.
  • Intra/Interstate and global connections.
  • Connects communities.
  • Bridging services for multipoint videoconferencing.
  • K-12 classes can interact with students from across the state and world.

700 video conference units registered to the state server
15,000 videoconferences held statewide: FY 14 (July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2014)
18,500 hours of videoconferences held (FY 14)

Combined Services
DDN systems can be interconnected to maximize videoconferencing efficiency through increased geographic coverage. For example, a motivational speaker from Japan could be brought in via the interstate system and routed to any of the receive sites. Conversely, a locally originated program could be sent to almost anywhere in the world.

How to obtain the service:
DDN staff can be reached from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday by calling (605) 773-3333 for scheduling or technical assistance. Technical help line is 800-567-8345 and is staffed during all conference hours.
          Website information located at
          Online scheduling form

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Life Outside BIT: Keith Hemmelman

Capitol Lighting
Keith Hemmelman
You may recall a past article this month featuring Keith Hemmelman, a BIT employee, who won SDPB’s “Landscapes of South Dakota” photography contest. Today the BIT Blog gives you the background story on Keith and how he became a skilled and accomplished photographer.

Keith first became interested in photography as a teenager, an interest that came from his mother who was always taking photos of his family. Keith remembers getting a booklet many years ago published by Kodak that went over the basics of photography and had a variety of examples showing the results of various techniques. The final product that a camera is able to capture was amazing to him.

The book led him into photography. Keith has no formal training or experience with photography, most of what he knows has been self-taught. His participation in photography has varied greatly at different levels for many years, never really taking it seriously until the introduction to digital cameras approximately 10 years ago. The fact that he worked in the computer field helped speed up his transition to digital photography. Keith bought his first digital camera, and never looked back to film. Photography has become his hobby and he hopes to always keep it as a hobby and source of enjoyment.

Keith currently shoots with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera and his most used lens is a 24mm-70mm f/2.8 lens. He does have other lenses that he uses quite often depending on whether he is shooting landscapes, wildlife, events, or portraits of the family. Keith is an active member of the Central South Dakota Photography Club and also actively participates in the South Dakota Photography Facebook group. His main goal is to capture landscapes or moments in time and present it such that it catches the viewer’s attention.

Collage of Four Images:
Traveling Vietnam Wall, American Flag, Fireworks, Vietnam Memorial Statue
Keith Hemmelman

Keith has advice to other interested in photography:

1. Start small! That doesn’t necessarily mean to buy the cheapest or smallest camera, but rather curtail your desire to go out and over purchase camera equipment. You can learn the basics of photography with almost any camera.

2. Consider joining a local photography club if there is one available. If not, look to the internet, such as Facebook, to find a photography group to join.

3. For someone who is completely new to photography and doesn’t know where to start, Keith highly recommends a book by Bryan Peterson titled “Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition”. It will help explain the basics of photography, including the most important item being the “photographic triangle”.

4. Just get out and shoot. Look at your results, ask questions, and learn from it!

You can visit his personal photo website to view many of his photos. The web address is: .

Photography is what you want it to be regardless of the quality or content of your images or what someone else might think. So if you’re happy, then you are doing something right!