2020 Technician of the Year – Will Jones

2020 Technician of the Year – Will Jones

William’s dedication, resolve, commitment, and teamwork are clearly evident in everything that he does at Kitsap 911.  “It’s good enough” is not in his mind set. It is good enough when it is done right and only when it is done right.  He works well with his teammates, brainstorming, explaining, and doing hands on work at whatever level is needed to ensure all the work is done when needed.  He is always will to help others learn how to do something. He will take the time to explain a process and the reason behind the importance of each step in order to help strength the entire team.   He works to share improvements and new technologies through learning sessions in weekly meetings as well as sending articles over Teams to our department

 Here are just a few of the comments from some of William’s coworkers who nominated him for this award:

  • “I appreciate his hard work and determination when it comes to fixing a problem. He seems to be very involved this year with new projects.”
  • “Wow, what a year for him and all the projects; crazy great job!”
  • “With all the unforeseen time away from the office this year due to the coronavirus, I have not had the time or exposure to really get to know any of the technicians.  What I do know is that I have heard wonderful things about all the work Will Jones has been doing with remote dispatch and his efforts to make that a possibility. “
  • “The coronavirus and the response that followed was something that no one could have predicted and yet he has been working tirelessly to try and create a solution should our situation continue or should another situation like this ever come up again.” 
  • “He has worked tirelessly to institute remote 911 capabilities and is always willing and available for after hour’s emergencies/issues.”
  • “He welcomes new employees and teaches a brief class about the technology group, explaining their work to new hires in a way that is easily understood.” 
  • “He is my Employee of the Quarter recommendation; he has been performing at this level since he started work here in 2019.”
  • “His work with the remote 911 system was pretty incredible and he is always helpful to everyone. He was heavily involved in what was eventually the success of our remote 911 project. It was certainly a team effort, but he was innovative, dedicated, and committed to making Kitsap 911 one of the few 911 centers in the country capable of decentralized call taking and dispatching.”

Remote Dispatch and PCR:  Because of Covid, Kitsap 911 had to come up with creative solutions to protect our operators now and in the future.  The Remote Kits provided this safety zone.  Will was more than instrumental in this endeavor…he was essential.  I cannot stress enough, the magnitude and difficulty of this project nor the resultant safety achieved for our operators.

Again… this project includes equipment and hardware outside Will’s normal work arena.  Logging recorder, ACOM radio controller, MAX CT 911 phone system, CAD, etc… were all integrated into a package using Will’s knowhow and off the shelf components.  The result was that the remote dispatch kits emulates the existing operations floor positions at almost 100%.  Will even figured out how to use an USB foot switch to replicate the foot switch on the floor.

Will leveraged his knowledge of 911 dispatch operations and hypervisor/VDI technologies and created the remote kits that operators can use with a minimum on training.  There is a five-page document that they use to set it up in their remote location and then they are off to the races.  As for flexibility, he was given a set of criteria that gradually increased over the project duration.  He had to resolve different issues that popped up with each iteration.  He researched every potential method to try to meet those criteria rather than quickly giving in because something wasn’t natively supported by a platform (this goes double for the MAX CT 911 Phone system and the ACOM Radio Controller).  Our 911 phone and radio controller vendor are now in talks with us to help them set up a lab.  They did not think that this was possible.  Will showed them that he could take the improbable and turn it into a working system.

What makes this remote kit project so incredible was that a working phone system and radio controller system were done without the ancillary equipment that is required to make it work at a console.  Will was able to find ways around this “required” equipment and make our Remote Kits fully functional console positions.

Currently we have an eighteen-position operations center.  In the event of a disaster, we can now assemble and use 10 additional Remote Kits…here at Kitsap 911, or in any remote location that has access to the internet.  That gives us a total of 28 positions, an increase in positions of just over 50% at a very substantial reduction of cost per position.

The above was a HUGE undertaking and in addition to that, William continued working on or recently completed the following projects:

  • MFA (MultiFactor Authentication)
  • Technology monitoring
  • SharePoint Migration
  • Server Virtualization
  • Fire station digital alerting– At the beginning of this project, Will identified an overlooked area regarding the network connection between fire stations. He researched possible solutions, provided detailed recommendations, and worked with the county and management to determine feasibility.   His recommendation for a point to point VPN solutions was exceptionally well thought out and planned. This led to its acceptance into the implementation plan by management, and he has worked to acquire, configure, and deploy this equipment.

William is able to communicate with our member agency IT professionals exceptionally well. He is well respected for his knowledge and his ability to get things done.   William interacts well with Kitsap 911 employees. He keeps in mind the different IT knowledge of every person he is talking to and attempts to moderate how he is explaining specific information to fit the need. He also quickly realizes when how he is explaining something is not working and redirects his method to something more effective without being condescending.

William maintains good working relationships with vendors.  He consistently provides clear expectations and meets or exceeds expectations on timelines.

Will has continued to recommend and implement solutions that improve the security of Kitsap 911’s infrastructure. He has also work diligently to fulfill requests for the ever-changing needs of Kitsap 911. Some of the tasks he has been involved in are:

  • Upgrading the training room PCs
  • Continued to utilize PQD software for remote deployment and configuration
  • Replacing Telemessage with Smarsh as the preferred text capture solution
  • Setup and training of the Netmotion Diagnostics server
  • Renewing quotes for critical software such as Office365 with reduced licensing requirements and costs
  • Dispatch floor monitor replacements and troubleshooting resolution differences
  • Will played an integral role in expanding Kitsap 911’s remote work and remote 911 capabilities. Some of the many accomplishments you have made as part of this effort are:
    • Remote access training for admin staff
    • Conversion from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams
    • Assisting with the upgrade from ShoreTel to Mitel
    • Deployment of the Mitel Edge Gateway
    • Expanded the use of Connectwise Automate and configured it for use of remote CAD workstations
    • Creation of virtual CAD, Max, and ACOM workstations
    • Assisted with the planning, deployment, and troubleshooting of remote 911 kits

He has taken on many last-minute requests for tasks and projects during this period.  He worked extremely hard and has gone above and beyond to ensure they are completed even when they have short turnaround time.  He continues to remain flexible to changes in priority and expanded requirements. Many of the above initiatives would not have been possible without his involvement.

Will has freed up tech time by implementing RMM (Automate), software deployment (PDQ), and imaging (Clone Deploy) to save what used to take hours or days of manual labor to a more automated (and error free) monitoring and deployment. 

But wait…there is more! 

Will leveraged Automate for site and network alarms and monitoring.He migrated us from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 365. He even set up our admin phone system to allow remote workers to use their desk phones at home (using VPN) as if they were sitting here at Kitsap 911.  The phone has the same functionality remotely as it does when it is at your desk at work.

Will was instrumental in implementing a county wide VPN network for Purvis, our digital alerting system for fire alerting. He came in on an alerting project already underway and resolved a many of the design concerns over connectivity: 

  • He designed and built a backbone communication network for every fire station in our county
  • He worked with multiple IT agencies to allow traffic from this network to flow unimpeded  
  • He worked with the vendor to install this network and connect it to their system 
  • He created a standalone display for everyone to quickly be able to see status of stations  
  • He utilized cloud management to save time by being able to remotely configure the firewalls 
  • And he built a separate close secure network for the stations and servers 
  • Explain how the nominee exemplifies the “customer service” skills that often define how the calling public and public safety agencies dispatched perceive call taker and dispatchers.

William displays customer service in his dedication to producing the best possible product and/or solution.  He does not take short cuts to complete a job quicker and more on to something else.  He completes a task to the best of his ability every time.   When planning a project, he does the necessary research to make informed decisions. He takes the time to draft the project plan. He follows the project plan. He conducts testing when equipment is installed. He conducts project reviews sessions after a project is complete to ensure the project is done even better the next time.  That is how William ensures exceptional customer service.  He does his work well and then he ensures he keeps doing it better and better. 

William is also invested in the training of other employees.  He has been instrumental in training our two newest technology group employees hired within the last year. This was not an easy task with all of our staff working remotely due to Covid.  He provided 1:1 training via Teams on his areas of expertise and offered suggestions on potential knowledge sources and best practices. His assistance was crucial in getting these new employees functioning at the high level they currently are and getting them accustomed to Kitsap 911 technologies.

  • In one page or less, describe why the nominee should receive the 2021 Washington APCO-NENA Technician of the Year award.

It is difficult to describe the importance, enormity, and difficulty of the projects in which Will has been involved.  He has taken napkin drawn concepts and moved them into a working reality in a timeframe that, looking back, does not seem to be possible.

His technical acumen, work ethic, and “outside the box” mindset has resulted in advanced, innovative, and revolutionary products that Kitsap 911 uses day to day that even our vendors didn’t think were even probable.

There I no good enough for Will. He is dedicated to providing the best solution available.  He puts in the time to make this happen. A 40-hour work week does not exist in Will’s world.  Once he has something on his mind, he works tirelessly to get it done. 

Some might imagine a person that is this hard of a worker would be less than a joy to work with. That is not the case with Will. He is personable and takes time to have a laugh with his co-workers.  He works to create a solid team environment and it willing to share his knowledge with anyone interested in learning.  He understands when the team is a success, he is a success. 

Kitsap 911 gained more than a technician when Will joined our team in 2019. We gained an innovative thinker, willing to go the distance for the betterment of Kitsap 911. 

It is my pleasure to submit this nomination for WA APCO/NENA Technician of the Year for William Jones.   Thank you for your consideration of this nomination.

William has been with Kitsap 911 since June of 2019.  He moved here from Ruston, LA where he was previously a Systems Engineer for Ouachita Parish Police Jury serving Ouachita Parish Fire, Police, and EMS for almost 8 years.

Kitsap 911 (CENCOM) is the primary PSAP for Kitsap County. We handle approximately 347,000 calls for service annually, broken out between Law Enforcement, Fire, and EMS. We serve as the only provider of dispatch services for 8 Law Enforcement agencies and 6 Fire Departments. We also dispatch for Kitsap Animal Control, Port Gamble Natural Resources, Kitsap County Coroner, and Community Development.  We provide mutual aid services to Washington State Patrol, Jefferson, Mason, and Pierce counties, as well as three military bases (Naval Base Kitsap Bangor, Naval Base Kitsap Bremerton, and Naval Base Kitsap Keyport.) We collaborate with the Department of Emergency Management that shares our facility.  Kitsap 911 employs 78 full time employees and 4 extra help employees spread out between Operations, Technical Services, Administration, and Management. 

William is, by title, our Public Safety Systems Engineer.  If it has to do with I.T. then Will is involved…and then some.  He provides tier 3 escalation for all IT matters but works all tiers as needed.

William supports all IT hardware (routers, servers, switches, PCs, etc…), software, mobile computer terminals (MCT’s), auxiliary equipment, and interfaces. William monitors and maintains all servers, network equipment, and other hardware for Kitsap 911. He helps plan and maintain 5-year plans for the user’s hardware and the software/hardware path for Kitsap 911’s infrastructure. He investigates and analyzes security vulnerabilities and maintains our cyber security approach and provides training in these areas. He works to continuously improve our tools and software for our technology group to be able to work more efficiently as well as administration and operations by keeping an eye on emerging technologies. He maintains and updates Kitsap 911’s website and troubleshoots issues with Kitsap 911’s hosted web applications such as Gem911 (text to 911 application), SharePoint, and our document management system (DMS.) William is responsible for ensuring Kitsap 911 is current with technology.  He worked on wrapping up existing projects that were started before he was hired and is now working on projects from our current plan.  He took on a large number of ad-hoc projects and requests.  For every project or task that was assigned to him, he researched, evaluated, and recommended new and/or expanded solutions that exceeded the original planned solution.  He works on items from outside of his area of expertise and quickly learns new technologies.  He regularly evaluates existing software and makes recommendations for changes/upgrades.  He drafts upgrade/migration plans for every aspect of IT that clearly outlines what will be done, the timeline, the risks, and the costs.