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Chemical engineering student wins Governor's 30-Day Sprint competition


   

Bernice Bynum, Jean Terry Saunders, Donte Elam, and Gov. Bob McDonnell. Donte Elam and Gov. Bob McDonnell display the 30-Day Sprint certificate and trophy. Also pictured (from left) Bernice Bynum with the DMV and Elam's mother Jean Terry Saunders. Photo courtesy of the governor's office.


RICHMOND, Va., July 26, 2012 – Donté Elam of Midlothian, Va., a junior majoring in chemical engineering in the College of Engineering, was named winner of the 30-Day Sprint competition sponsored by the governor’s office. The winning entry was selected from among 1,300 ideas submitted by state employees that could help increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the state government.

Elam works at the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles’ (DMV) customer service center in Hopewell this summer. He suggested the DMV create a function that enables customers to begin their transactions at home, thereby expediting the customer service process and shortening overall waiting times.

“Donté Elam’s winning idea will help us serve our customers, Virginia’s taxpayers, more effectively and efficiently,” said Gov. Bob McDonnell. “He provided a simple yet elegant suggestion that reflects what he’s learned through his daily work experience. I encourage all state employees to question the status quo and continue searching for innovative solutions in their work daily.”

Elam said working directly with citizens exposed him to some of their needs and frustrations while seeking the services of the DMV.

“My goal was to enhance people’s relationship with the DMV while at the same time saving resources at the agency,” he said. “I am very humbled upon receiving the award and recognition from the governor. I am even more pleased to be able to affect our commonwealth in such a positive way.”

Elam, along with state employees in seven other categories, was honored at the annual Governor’s Awards for Public Service luncheon in Richmond earlier this month. Elam received a $2,500 cash award.

“Donté displayed laudable initiative and creativity with his 30-Day Sprint submission,” said Sherwood Wilson, vice president for administrative services. "His idea will greatly impact customer service at the DMV, and his efforts and enthusiasm are commendable.”

The College of Engineering at Virginia Tech is internationally recognized for its excellence in 14 engineering disciplines and computer science. The college's 6,000 undergraduates benefit from an innovative curriculum that provides a "hands-on, minds-on" approach to engineering education, complementing classroom instruction with two unique design-and-build facilities and a strong Cooperative Education Program. With more than 50 research centers and numerous laboratories, the college offers its 2,000 graduate students opportunities in advanced fields of study such as biomedical engineering, state-of-the-art microelectronics, and nanotechnology. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.