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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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.

Secretary Williams talks with the Colorado Business Roundtable

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams made back-to-back appearances on the Colorado Business Roundtable’s radio how, “Connect & Collaborate,” first to address a variety of topics and then to tout the office’s award winning Go Code Colorado program and other issues.

On March 3,  host Peter Moore of Vital for Colorado kicked off the show by telling Williams something the secretary never tires of hearing: how easy it is to register and file documents with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.

“I’m a corporate lawyer and I’m really a fan of the Secretary of State’s web site. I’m literally on the web site nearly every day,” said Moore, who said in some states the process is so difficult his firm has to hire help to handle the filings.

“We try to make it really easy for people to use,” Williams said. “One of my goals as secretary of state is to make it so you don’t have to come to the office to do business with the state, whether that’s filing a document or a getting a certificate of good standing.”

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‘Doodle 4 Google’ competition electrifies Aurora elementary school

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams talks to students at Black Forest Hills Elementary School in Aurora today as part of a Doodle 4 Google event. (SOS photo)
Fourth-grader Madison Lee after Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced she is the Colorado winner of the Doodle 4 Google competition. (Google)

By Julia Sunny and Lynn Bartels

The happiest place in Colorado today might just have been an Aurora elementary school where fourth-grader Madison Lee learned that the artwork she submitted to run on Google’s home page was picked as the winning entry from the Centennial State.

Her parents, her principal, her art teacher and an auditorium full of students wearing colorful Google T-shirts could barely contain themselves when Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced Madison as the winner.

She never stopped smiling after that.

“It hurts your mouth a lot to be a celebrity,” she said, as the celebration at Black Forest Hills Elementary School wound down.

Fourth grader Madison Lee with her winning Google design, her art teacher, Erica Knowlton and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (SOS)

Each year, Google holds a nationwide contest that allows students K-12 to submit their doodle for Google.com. This year’s theme was, “What I see for the future.”

“I thought it might be cool to have robotic people who clean your house and people who go to Mars … and aliens floating around,” she said.

Madison is one of 53 finalists nationwide for the ninth annual “Doodle 4 Google” competition. Starting today, everyone across the country can vote online (the link is here) for their favorite doodle. Voting ends March 6.

“Please vote for me!” said Madison, whose drawing is in the “Grades 4-5” category.

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