Secretary Williams hands out Enstrom’s toffee, goodwill in Taiwan

Secretaries of State Wayne Williams of Colorado, Alison Lundergan Grimes of Kentucky, Tom Schedler of Louisiana, Chern-chyi Chen, the deputy director general of the Bureau of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Economic Affairs, and Secretary Mac Warner of West Virginia during this week’s visit to the Asian country.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams handed out tins of Enstrom Candies this week when visiting Taiwanese dignitaries as part of an international trade mission to Asia.

Mountains are featured on one of the tins of Enstrom ‘s toffee.

Williams is the western region vice president for the National Association of Secretaries of State. He was joined on the trip by three other secretaries of state: Tom Schedler of Louisiana, Alison Lundergan Grimes of Kentucky and Mac Warner of West Virginia.

“The challenge with bringing Enstrom’s is that my fellow secretaries are tempted to eat it instead of giving it as a gift to our hosts,” Williams joked.

The Grand Junction-based company is known for its mouth-watering toffee. The candy is always a hit on Valentine’s Day at the Colorado Capitol.

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2017 Go Code challenge winners focus on water, noise and farmers

Secretary of State Wayne Williams with Andrew Cole, the program manager for Go Code Colorado, which held its final competition Wednesday night. (SOS photo)

Wednesday marked the end of another successful year for Go Code Colorado, a statewide business app challenge housed in Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ office.

After months of preparing, the top 10 teams gave their final pitches to a panel of judges. A member from each team spent five minutes explaining their app idea, followed by a three-minute question-and-answer period.

“I don’t know if this is uniquely Colorado, but it’s the best of Colorado,” Andrew Cole, program manager for Go Code, said after Secretary Williams announced the three winning teams.

The Seawell ballroom at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts filled with cheers from the winning team members and their friends and families, and some groans from those who made it as far as the finale but did not win. Some vowed to return next year.

The three teams — Drip, Hud Buddy and Magpie Supply — will each receive $25,000 contract from the state and a sponsor incentive package.

“I continue to be impressed by the creativity and collaboration of the Go Code Colorado teams,” Secretary Williams said. “Teams continue to show the value of public data if we can get it into the hands of innovative and entrepreneurial people who have a different perspective on how to use it.”

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Colorado raffle drawings offer big dreams, help nonprofit licensees

Children’s Hospital dream home in the Bonnie Brae neighborhood of Denver. (Photo courtesy of Children’s Hospital Colorado)

Each year the Colorado Secretary of State’s office issues hundreds of raffle licenses.

And three nonprofit licensees — The Boys and Girls Cub of Metro Denver, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Colorado — offer a dream home as the grand prize.

Raffle tickets for the three nonprofit licensees range from $100 to $150.

The Boys and Girls Club offers a safe place for children by providing after-school programs, a meal, help with homework, or whatever else a child may need. A membership is only $2 annually for a child, thanks to fundraising events such as the “Dream House Raffle.” The slogan is “Your chance to win is their ticket to thrive.”

The grand prize this year is a 9,500-square foot house in the Stapleton/Lowry area.

The winner is offered the option to forgo the house and take $2 million in cash instead. Shannon Bee, the Secretary of State’s office’s bingo & raffle supervisor, said Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver has been doing successful house raffles since 1995.

The Boys and Girls Club four-bedroom, seven-bathroom dream home in the Stapleton-Lowry area. (Photo courtesy of Boys and Girls Club)

Children’s Hospital of Colorado does not offer a cash option but it does cover the cost of one year of taxes on their dream home as well as some of their other top prizes.

Children’s Hospital Colorado is the leading center for children’s health in their seven-state region. Children’s pioneers new methods of treatment and care made possible through fundraisers such as the mighty millions raffle.

In addition to dream homes, prizes such as cars, vacations, gadgets and various other items are raffled off.  The dream home offered this year is in Denver’s Bonnie Brae neighborhood.

St. Jude also conducts dream home raffles in Colorado among other states. The nonprofit licensee offers two homes in Colorado this year, one in the Denver area and one in the Colorado Springs area.

For St. Jude, it’s a win-win situation. Winners receive their dream home and are helping to end childhood cancer. St. Jude research hospital offers their services to patients and their families free of charge thanks to donations and raffles like the Dream Home giveaway.

Go Code Colorado: “This is the epitome of how we should be thinking”

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with the Durango High School team that advanced to Go Code Colorado’s mentor weekend in Boulder. Left to right, Noah Clements, Anthony Parker, Cord Arnold, Jarvie Arnold, the secretary of state, Georgia Witchel and Claudia Luthy. (SOS photo)

By Lynn Bartels and Julia Sunny

The Colorado Secretary of State’s data-to-app contest, Go Code Colorado, attracted a variety of entrepreneurs, coders, Google bigwigs and others to its mentor weekend, which kicked off Friday night in Boulder.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who had been in Rifle earlier that morning at a regional clerks training seminar, braved rain, snow, fog and a detour on eastbound Interstate 70 to make it the event, held at Google’s headquarters in Boulder. He noted that some members of the Durango High School challenge team were missing their prom to attend mentor weekend.

State Sen. Steve Fenberg, a Boulder Democrat, heaped praise on the Secretary of State’s office and its award-winning Go Code Colorado program.

“This is, in my opinion, the epitome of how we should be thinking about government moving forward,” Fenberg said. “We should be thinking about how to take the assets and the innovation of the new industries that are popping up around tech and see how that expertise and that talent solves some of the problems that maybe government can’t do on its own.”

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Go Code Colorado: using public data to make business decisions

One of the finalist teams, Cache Money, from the Go Code Colorado challenge weekend in Colorado Springs poses with Secretary of State Wayne Williams. Left to right, Eric Meldrum, Williams, Daniel Baliczek, Lallo Vigil and Aaron Kern. (Photo by Stellar Propeller Studio)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams traveled across the state over the weekend to attend Go Code Colorado challenges in four cities, giving him a first-hand look at how entrepreneurs, software developers and innovators use public data in an attempt to come up with the next great app.

Williams visited Grand Junction Friday night, Fort Collins Saturday morning, Denver Saturday afternoon and Colorado Springs Sunday evening. The only challenge city he  missed was Durango, which is where Williams in 2016 kicked off his Go Code Colorado tour.  The 10 finalists teams — two from each location — were announced Monday.

“Water rights, farm-fresh food and housing development are a few of our favorite teams,” read the headline on the news release from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and staffer Andrew Cole, who oversees the Go Code Colorado program. (SOS photo)

Those 10 teams will now head to an  expenses-paid Mentorship Weekend April 21-23 in Boulder, on their way to compete in the May 24th Final Competition event. At stake are three $25,000 contracts.

Gazette reporter Wayne Heilman, who has covered several Go Code Colorado competitions, wrote that the two Colorado Springs finalist teams “hope to continue the success of Hively.”

That’s the 2016 local team that became the first from the Springs to win the competition with its web-based application to help match employers with potential employees.

About Go Code Colorado: Go Code Colorado is a statewide business app challenge housed in the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. The award-winning challenge is the first and only statewide effort of its kind that uses public data to solve business problems. It is overseen by staffer Andrew Cole.