Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Web is Working for South Dakota Businesses!

The web is working for South Dakota businesses. Google is helping. Google said it has a $55.6 million impact on South Dakota businesses!

An Economy Impact report for each state was released by the tech company last week. Nationwide, Google estimated it generated $111 billion in economic activity over the past year! In total for South Dakota, 2,300 companies were reportedly using Google to generate economic activity. !

In the South Dakota Economy Impact report, Google focused on two companies: The Lodge at Deadwood and the University of Sioux Falls.

According to its report, the Deadwood hotel and casino connects with customers around the world via the search engine. When they first launched their business into existence, they knew that in order  attract a broad audience of families, vacationers, business travelers and event planners, a strong web presence would be essential. The Lodge launched the website in 2010, and business took off! AdWords, Google's advertising program, has been an important tool in helping to bring customers through their doors.

USF relies on Google tools for marketing, admissions and to connect students with jobs and internships. This 131-year-old institution is thriving with the help of the Internet and their marketing department's digital efforts. USF uses Google tools such as AdWords, Google’s advertising program, YouTube, Google+ and Google Analytics to reach prospective students.

It is clear that Google has had a large impact on the great state of South Dakota and on the businesses within. This is the perfect time to reflect on the marketing plans of all businesses and what can be done to improve in order to benefit the business. Who knows, the web could be the number one marketing tool available!

Download the SD Report here!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Life Outside BIT: Andy Ogan

If you work for BIT you have probably met, worked with, talked to, or heard of Andy Ogan. If you work outside of BIT, you have probably viewed some of his photography work without even knowing! Andy Ogan is a valuable employee to BIT and an outstanding photographer outside of BIT who produces stunning photos of landscapes, architecture, wildlife and children.

Andy Ogan’s job in BIT is multi-faceted.  His primary work is part of the Network Technologies group, working primarily in the core networks of State Government, the Digital Dakota Network for K-12, and the REED network for the Board of Regents.  To list a few, he is involved in GIS mapping, the South Dakota Broadband Initiative project management, cellular drive testing, technology project reviews, traffic shaping, research, documentation, data presentation and writing. Lucky for us, Andy is also the unofficial BIT photographer!

Andy’s first interest in photography started about 15 years ago, as he found he enjoyed being behind the lens far more than he enjoyed being in front of the lens. His first real photography jobs involved digital photos and website content creation back in 1999-2003.  While his career in network administration took him professionally away from photography and content creation, it always remained a hobby of his.

In 2010, Andy finally decided to upgrade to his first DSLR camera, a Canon 60d, and a pair of lenses.  Since then, he has added to his camera kit.  Andy now has two DSLR’s, five lenses, lights, flashes, filters, a film SLR, two point and shoots, two antique 1930’s cameras that all still work, and a 1959 TLR film camera that still works.  

Andy is an active member of the Central South Dakota Photography Club and some other local / state-level clubs and groups, as well as the National Association of Photoshop Professionals.  His preferences in photography are photos of landscapes, travel, architecture, wildlife, nature, and kids.  Andy is hoping to start up a small side business selling his photo prints online sometime during 2014. 

For anyone aspiring to get into photography, Andy offers a few points that have helped him over the years!

First, practice practice practice.  In the world of digital, it only costs you your time to practice. 

Second, change your elevation.  A lot of photos of children online are taken from “parent height”, and you lose some of the connection with the children that you would have if you knelt down to their level.  It’s amazing how big of an impact you can make in your kid photos by just kneeling down. 

Third, if you are interested in photography but don’t have the equipment, there are great places online to rent equipment from at reasonable prices.  If you are interested in those, let Andy know and he can point you towards them.

Feel free to visit Andy Ogan’s photography site, Ogan.smugmug.com, to view more outstanding photos!


Stuart Scott-Life, Cancer & Fighting

Stuart Scott, an ESPN anchor, delivered an incredible acceptance speech Wednesday night after being awarded the Jimmy V Perseverance Award, a testament to his rigid and public battle with cancer. We encourage you all to invest 15 minutes to watch and listen to a great piece and speech by ESPN’s Stuart Scott on life, cancer and fighting. It’s well worth your time.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

10, 20, 30 Years of Service!

Craig DeTample-10 years!
Craig DeTample
10 Years of Service
Craig has worked for South Dakota state government for 10 years! The year 2004: Anchorman and Napoleon Dynamite were in theaters, Desperate Housewives debuted, ‘thefacebook’ just got registered, and Nokia and Motorola dominated the mobile phone industry. Craig was the driving force behind developing and now running the Technology Purchase/RFP/MOU/and Contracts process for the state. Craig led the state’s recent imaging review project which included writing, issuing, and assessing an RFP. He helps keep the technology RFP and contract process running smoothly for the entire state.  He has authored and co-authored many clauses for our four Technology contract templates and works closely with the ATG office to make sure our contracts processes and language is current, clear, and enforceable.  He is always willing to help his co-workers usher projects through the various processes he supports and coordinates.  You can often find him working closely with members of the PMO group as they select the appropriate contracts clauses and vendor questions for a technology project.  Craig is also adding coordinating the BIT internal phases of the State Technology Roadmap process to his list of duties.  Craig demonstrates a strong drive to get the job done quickly and accurately.
Outside of BIT, Craig gives back to our local community by putting on planetarium shows at the Discovery Center, acting in local plays, and writing. Also, in keeping with the local water options, Craig recently built his own wooden sailboat in a PDracer format.
Carrie Tschetter- 20 years!
Jim Edman, BIT Deputy Commissioner, recognizes and thanks
Carrie Tschetter for her 20 years of dedicated service to
State Government
Carrie Tschetter has worked for South Dakota state government for 20 years. The year of 1994: Forrest Gump was in theaters, Friends (arguably the greatest sitcom ever!) launched, the Sony PlayStation changed the gaming world, and Netscape launched Mosaic Netscape 0.9—one of the first widely available web browsers.  Prior to coming to BIT, she worked for Revenue where she served throughout the years as a project manager for several small to large Revenue I/T projects. Carrie has recently joined the BIT Project Management Office as a Point of Contact for Veterans Affairs, Military, Public Utilities Commission, and Revenue.   In her short time with BIT, she has taken an active part in the PMO team. She has learned about the BIT divisions through shadowing staff and has contributed beneficial ideas from an agency’s perspective to team meetings and to the Technology Roadmap planning.
Carrie and her husband, Brett, have two kids, Molly, 19 and Carson, 14.  Together they enjoy camping, hunting and fishing. During the baseball season, they spend a lot of time in the bleachers enjoying the sunshine.
Mark Cichos- 30 years!
Lastly, we recognized Mark Cichos for his 30 years of service.  After previous work for the state in college, the official year was 1985:  Version 1.0 of Windows was just released, Back to the Future was showing at the movie theatres, and Dire Straits was making it big with ‘Money for Nothing’.  He started for BIT as a developer building applications on the mainframe.    Recently when most of his staff had gone home for the day, a problem occurred with a Natural program he had written in his early days.  He was still able to log on to the mainframe and find the program that needed a change – just like riding a bike!   Today, Mark is a Development Manager for many agencies, most notably DOR, GFP, DENR, and DPS.   His team of analysts and developers are working hard to rewrite all of the systems he wrote in his early days.     
Mark Cichos receiving his award from David Zolnowsky,
BIT Commissioner
Throughout the years here, Mark and his wife Sue have raised two boys who now are off to college.   Sports were a very important activity in the Cichos household and Mark was always actively involved.
Congratulations and thank you to Craig, Carrie and Mark for your years of leadership, commitment and dedication to the State of South Dakota! Keep up the great work!

Other individuals recognized in June for their years of service found below!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Game, Fish, and Park Website has a NEW Look!

Have you visited the Game, Fish and Parks site lately? It has a new look! I am talking about the newly enhanced GFP website as well as the responsive design developed for mobile devices. Check it out here!

After almost 4 years since their last redesign, GFP partnered with BIT to give their site a facelift! BIT worked with communications staff from Wildlife and Parks for past couple of months to enhance the functionality and appearance of the site. The homepage of the site now calls out the main action items of purchasing a hunting or fishing license and making a camping reservation more prominently than before. The modifications now allow users to access the news and social networking platforms more easily and there is more emphasis on what is trending within the GFP agency from the homepage. In addition to the homepage redesign, their whole site was made responsive and mobile-ready. By doing so, it will allow users to easily browse the website from all devices including phones and tablets. In an increasingly mobile world, these improvements help GFP better serve their customers in an online capacity.

A special thanks to the key players in this project! Sarah Gates' design ability and talent as well as Kaitlyn Martinez's professionalism and development expertise proved to be invaluable throughout the project.

*If your agency would like more information on website redesign, mobile-ready, and responsive site services BIT provides, please contact your BIT Point of Contact.

Bryce Fosheim Joins the BIT Team!

BIT adds another employee to the team. Everyone, meet Bryce Fosheim!

Bryce was born in Pierre SD and lived in various places while growing up. After graduating high school, Bryce started classes at Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota for a Computer Science degree.  In 2012 he graduated from DSU with two degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics for Information Systems.

Bryce found his interest while in Middle School when he was gifted a "Teach Yourself C in 21 Days" book.  A long car trip led him to read most of it, and he started seeing the building blocks everywhere.  With that new knowledge he started programming and loved it.  That book alone led Bryce to where he is today.

As his first job within state government, Bryce works for BIT as a Software Engineer developing applications in the .net framework.  He will be working closely with the Development Team 6 to create/update/repair applications that the DOT needs.

Welcome Bryce! We are all happy to have you on our team!

Monday, July 14, 2014

2014 AAU Scholastic Duals Development Wrestling Tournament

Brandon Sharkey, Cooper Carter, Lucas Stoltenburg and Levi Stoltenburg all attended a wrestling camp in Beresford and then competed in the 2014 AAU Scholastic Duals Development Wrestling Tournament in Orlando, Florida. The tournament, also known as the Disney Duals is held on the Disney property at the ESPN sports center with a team-style set up.  The purpose of the AAU Wrestling Program is to create, stimulate and improve competitive opportunities for the athletes while promoting and developing leadership sportsmanship and educational experiences.

Five local wrestlers who attended Disney
Lukas Chase, Cooper Carter, Levi Stoltenburg, Lucas Stoltenburg, and Michael Lusk
Over the course of four days of competition, they had several matches. While competing against teams from around the country, Brandon (113 pounds) and Levi (195 pounds) both finished with a record of 5-4, Lucas 152 (pounds) went 8-4, while Cooper (152 pounds) finished with a 7-2 record. The ten day adventure was tiring, but very rewarding!

Brandon Sharkey will be a freshman at Rapid City Stevens High School this fall. He is the grandson of Wesley M. Johnson, Senior computer tech in Rapid City for BIT. Wesley has been with the state for almost 18 years serving all West River agencies at one time or another. Levi and Lucas Stoltenburg will be sophomores at Pierre Riggs High School this coming school year. They are sons of Lonnie & Gail Stoltenburg. Lonnie is also an employee of BIT serving as the Team 6 Development Manager and Gail works for DSS. Cooper Carter is the son of Kevin Carter of Pierre and the grandson of former GFP employee Art Carter of Ft. Pierre.

Brandon Sharkey and Luke Stoltenburg

BIT congratulates the four athletes that participated in the 2014 AAU Scholastic Duals Development Wrestling Tournament. It is an extraordinary achievement to be a part of such a prestigious national tournament. BIT also wants to congratulate the families of these athletes. Your continuous support and encouragement to these athletes has proven to be advantageous to their success.