Going Digital: Paving the Way for the Digitization of Decades of Files

Kelly Owens - Supervising Engineer @ the Office of Environmental Management

With files dating back to the ‘80s and a retention policy that requires the Office of Waste Management to keep all finalized documents forever, available space is running out. Kelly Owens, a supervising engineer, spent her time with the Innovation League brainstorming ways to digitize the files, both to alleviate space concerns and make the materials more easily accessible. Inspired by a lesson focusing on competitions and rewards, she came up with a contest that will reward the environmental consultancy that provides the office with the greatest quantity of digitized files. Once the files are uploaded, the site locations can be plotted on Google Maps with all the associated files linked to the site. Instead of having to come into the office, Kelly explains, the consultants can get them online making “it easier on them and easier on us.”

Kelly highlights the value of her Innovation League colleagues, explaining “almost every session we would talk about our projects and where they stood, and people would give you ideas. It was good getting ideas from people that knew the basics of your project but they could give you an outsider’s view of how you could shape it better.”

Inspired by her work with the Office of Innovation, the Department of Environmental Management wants to digitize files across the agency and they’ve asked Kelly to help mentor people from other offices. She’s excited to share her learning throughout the department, and knows she can look to her former colleagues from the Innovation League for help when needed. “I made a lot of friendships. I feel comfortable that I could contact them in the future after this is over and say ‘what do you think about this?’ That’s a great thing.”