Transformers Team

What does the future hold?

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Nov 13

September 2019 Newsletter

Posted on November 13, 2019 at 8:42 AM by Nicole Watanabe

Transformers Quarterly Newsletter

Every Data Shufflin'

Accela Upgrade Exploratory Work

Earlier this year, Accela released the first version of their new EH Civic Application. This new application will replace Decade in the coming years. To help understand the features and cost, we have been doing exploratory work to better understand the implications. This has included:

  • Having multiple visits with Accela Reps.
  • Receiving demonstrations of the new EH Civic Application. 
  • Evaluating possible Accela solutions for the Land Use team.
  • Scoping our implementation options.
  • Obtaining cost information for implementation and annual user license/maintenance fees.
  • Meeting with other agencies who use Accela to learn from their experiences.
  • Evaluating Berry Dunn Consulting services to ensure that we asking the right questions of Accela related to our requirement needs and contract negotiations. 

We are planning to do a roadshow to the EH offices sometime this Fall to provide the full background and to get your input on the timing for migrating over to the new EH Civic Application. We had hoped to do this sooner but we are still gathering some additional information. 

Want to see what the new EH Civic Application will look like?

Check out this 1 hour video:

It covers:

Who is Accela (at 2:32 minute marker)

Delivering Government Services (at 5:21 minute marker)

Unique EH Challenges (at 10:20 minute marker)

How Accela Helps (at 14:41 minute marker)

Demo (at 23:08 minute marker)

Questions (at 50:50 minute marker)

So what else are the Transformers working on?


Since rebooting the Transformers Team in June 2019, we are gaining momentum on our 2019 EH Information Management objectives which are located here.

Address Validation Makes a Difference

One year ago, the EH Address Validation Policy (EH Address Standardization Policy) went into effect and it’s paying off! Adam Anderson, our Planning and Information Management colleague and agency GIS guru, recently mapped EH’s 38,000 On-Site Wastewater Treatment records while working on the development of a septic system search tool. He plans to incorporate these maps into a future property-based search tool. Adam was pleasantly surprised to see only 10% of the records failed to pass address validation, instead of the 20% that is statistically typical. “Those are really good results. Pretty remarkable." - he said. The improvement can be attributed to EH staff’s commitment to address validation.


If you haven’t already made a bookmark on your internet browser to quickly access the United States Postal Service website, you can do it in a matter of seconds by following these steps:

1.  Open up the page you want to add a bookmark to - USPS Address Verification.

2.  Find the star in the URL box. (see left picture below)

3.  Click the star. A box should pop up.

4.  Choose a name for the bookmark. Leaving it blank will only show the icon for the site. (see right picture below)

5.  Choose what folder to keep it in.

6.  Done when you're done.

Electronic Filing Assessment Updates

This past weekend, I (Traci Jervis) went to IKEA in order to talk to someone about a new kitchen. I tend to avoid IKEA: it’s gigantic, causes sensory overload, and I can never find my way out. Invariably, I take a turn that I believe will take me to where I want to go, only to end up in Children’s Furniture, Glassware or surrounded by throw-pillows. It takes way too much time to find my destination because I have to navigate the sheer size, number of departments, and the plethora of distractions barring my way.

Now, what does my trip to IKEA (and the large glass of wine that followed), have to do with our e-file assessment update? They both present situations where the structure works for some people, but not for others. For those who are used to navigating the myriad of turns and corners, the system makes sense and items are easy to find; it still takes time to get to where they are going, but they at least know the general direction. For those who are not familiar with the layout, it can be frustrating and time consuming, so much so, that a person just gives up.

Over the past month or so, I have been meeting with different people regarding our e-filing system. For most people, it seems that the current filing structure mostly works, but that there could certainly be improvements. For example:

  • Many documents on the I-drive probably need to be deleted, but there is uncertainty about what can be thrown away;
  • Some folders were created, but are not used;
  • It is difficult to navigate through programs other than your own;
  • Documents have to be saved in multiple locations so other divisions can have access.

My plan is to continue assessing our current state. With our pending migration to Accela (and hopefully a Document Management System), we will probably have to do some electronic file clean-up, but more to come on that topic. For now, if you have any thoughts on our current filing system, please let Traci Jervis know.

What do you know about Zoom?

Zoom is an online real-time video communication software that can be accessed anywhere using only an internet connection and a webcam. Specific directions on how to setup a zoom meeting can be found on the intranet at this link: Here are some quick tips to help get you started.  

How to request a User Profile: email your Zoom Administrator requesting to add you as a user to the account. The administrator for Environmental Health is Traci Jervis. If you want a session that is more than 40 minutes long, you will need to have the administrator set up the zoom meeting, because they have the Pro Account license. 

*Do not put in a IT HELPDESK TICKET to have access or if you have problems setting it up.* 

Helpful Zoom Tips:

  • Host has to hit the record button to record the session.

  • Once you open your PowerPoint on your laptop – Select PowerPoint presentation when sharing.

  • Select share computer sound in Screen Sharing for videos so the participants can hear. 

  • If something funky goes on with the sound, turn the volume all the way down and then back up to reset.

  • Select Unlock Screen Share to allow all participants to share a screen.

  • Select Optimize for full screen video clips at the bottom of the share screen settings.


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