Another banner year for the Secretary of State’s “Go Code Colorado”

Guests, contestants and Colorado Secretary of State staff mingled before the start of this year’s Go Code Colorado competition. Left to right, Sean Williams, son of Secretary of State Wayne Williams; Tim Griesmer, legislative director for the SOS; Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert; Secretary Williams; and Jack Arrowsmith, director of the Statewide Internet Portal Authority. (SOS photo)

This year’s winners of the state’s ultimate techie competition, Go Code Colorado, walked away with $15,000 per team after creating tools that turned government data into useful information on three different fronts, including the tiny house movement.

The final competition was held Thursday at the Seawell Ballroom in Denver. Judges selected three winning teams from nine, which had been whittled down from a competitive field of participants that started with nearly 40 teams made up of more than 260 participants after the kick off in February.

“This year’s finalist teams showed an incredible breadth of ideas for how public data can help business decision makers,” said Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

The three winning teams were Carbos from Fort Collins, Adobio from Colorado Springs and Business Incentives from Grand Junction.

When I heard there was a team named Carbos, I initially thought that was the entry about food trucks. Instead Carbos leverages public data and blockchain technology to remove barriers to entry into the carbon offset marketplace.

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Go Code mentor weekend kicks off at Google

The Google Boulder campus, the host of Go Code Colorado’s 2018 mentor weekend. (Go Code photo)

Go Code Colorado‘s fifth annual mentor weekend kicked off last Friday at the new Google campus in Boulder.

Go Code 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.

This year’s finalist apps focus on housing development, food trucks, childcare and transportation.

Andrew Cole explaining the 2018 “Go Code challenge coin” to the crowd on Friday. (Go Code photo)

Cole thanked the teams for helping to make public data in Colorado more accessible. He then handed out a “2018 Go Code challenge coin,” similar to challenge coins that military members receive upon finishing boot camp. He explained that the story goes if a military member is caught without his coin, drinks are on that person.

Mentor weekend provides an opportunity for all 10 teams to receive mentorship by leaders from Boom Town AcceleratorCA TechnologiesGoogleHouse of GeniusTwitter and other minds from Colorado’s tech and entrepreneurial community.

This years competition kicked off Feb. 7 in Denver. In attendance were Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his predecessor, Scott Gessler, who was in office when the Go Code Colorado challenge began, as well as various SOS staffers and Colorado lawmakers.

The challenge weekend began April 13 in five cities statewide: Colorado Springs, Denver, Durango, Grand Junction and Fort Collins. Two teams from each location were named finalists, awarded $2,500 each and headed to Boulder for mentor weekend April 27-29.

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Another Club 20 conference, another great Western Slope experience

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams with Irv Halter, director of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, and former Colorado attorney general and U.S. interior secretary Gale Norton, at Club 20’s awards dinner Friday night in Grand Junction. (SOS photo)

I first visited Club 20, an influential Western Slope group, in 2002 to cover the U.S. Senate debate between Republican Wayne Allard and Democrat Tom Strickland.

That was my introduction to the Western Slope’s complex issues.

During most of my Club 20 visits to Grand Junction, first for the Rocky Mountain News and then for The Denver Post, I covered candidate debates at the fall conferences in even-covered years. Every visit, I met more and more folks, from county commissioners to water experts, and the experience made me appreciate the uniqueness of our state.

Now when I attend Club 20 I go with my boss, Secretary of State Wayne Williams, as was the case Friday and Saturday.

Williams Friday morning kicked off the UChooseCO campaign in Grand Junction, which is designed to inform unaffiliated voters about the June 26 primary. For the first time they’ll automatically be able to participate. That night he attended Club 20’s awards dinner and on Saturday the secretary addressed the group about ballot measures.

At the two-day event, I realized that in a way I had come full circle.

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Go Code Colorado: another year of data-driven competition

Simon Tafoya, the policy director for Gov. John Hickenlooper, and Secretary of State Wayne Williams, at the Go Code Colorado challenge kickoff Wednesday night in Denver (SOS photo)

Colorado’s funkiest and most fun data contest — Go Code Colorado — kicked off Wednesday night, marking the fifth year that the Secretary of State’s office has invited creative minds to use public information to build a product that helps businesses.

“We work hard to make data available and usable for Colorado businesses,” Secretary of State Wayne Williams said in his opening remarks.

Previous winners have developed a range of projects. One helped small farmers locate farmers markets and price information. Another created a platform for companies to connect with potential employees based on personality match.

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

“This is, in my opinion, the epitome of how we should be thinking about government moving forward,” he 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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Denver Rustlers: A Colorado tradition

Gathered for today’s Denver Rustler’s event: Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Steve Weil of Rockmount Ranch, and Wes Friednash and Josh Hanfling, who both help oversee the event. (SOS photo)

For 33 years now, Colorado’s business, civil and political leaders have worked together to make Denver Rustlers the guardian angel of both the Colorado State Fair and the rural kids who show their animals at the event.

Denver City Councilwoman Kendra Black and Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson. (SOS photo)

The Rustlers boarded three large buses today and headed south to Pueblo, where its pool of money will be used to bid on sheep, cattle and more during the Junior Livestock Sale.

“It’s one of my favorite events,” said Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who works in Denver and commutes from Colorado Springs. “It’s always nice to get outside of the metro area and visit the rest of the state.”

The event begins in Greenwood Village with an early lunch at Del Frisco’s (home of the most incredible mini corn dogs you will ever eat).

It attracts current and former governors (John Hickenlooper and Bill Ritter, respectively), current and former agricultural commissioners (Don Brown and Don Ament, respectively); members of Congress and the General Assembly, county commissioners, city council members and more.

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