Chris Thiltgen named September 2009 employee of the month

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Volume 37-337 For Immediate Release: Sept. 16, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. --- Chris Thiltgen, an Environmental Specialist III with the Land Reclamation Program, Division of Environmental Quality, has been chosen as the September Employee of the Month by the Department of Natural Resources. Thiltgen, with the LRP's Non-Coal Unit, is recognized for developing an inspection report checklist and requesting laptop computers for field inspectors -- an effort that has reduced time spent on field inspections by 75 percent.

Bill Zeaman, Non-Coal Unit Chief, nominated Thiltgen and said, "Chris has the ability to identify timesaving techniques that generally reduce the amount of time spent on a project by utilizing 21st century technology to its fullest potential while not reducing customer service by one iota. In fact, his efforts generally present a better professional image of the Department."

Before implementing the inspection report checklist, inspectors would document their observations in a field book and then write the report in the office. The report would then be typed, passed to support staff for formatting and then sent back to the inspector for final signature. Support staff would then make copies and mail out the report. Now, with reports being issued in the field, a lot of steps are removed. The checklist supplies the inspector with all of the performance standards so he or she usually does not have to reference the regulations. When a performance standard is noted as in compliance, there is a checkmark to place next to the regulation. When a noncompliance issue is noted, not only is the box marked as noncompliant, there is also an area for comments, which allows the inspector to explain the noncompliant issue in detail.

In the first half of 2009, all 337 of the Non-Coal Unit's inspection reports were issued within an average of two days. In 2002 and 2004, it took seasoned inspectors more than 16 days to issue an inspection report. This means that inspectors can also quickly get back in the field to conduct additional inspections. In 2006, the Non-Coal Unit conducted only 100 inspections for the entire year.

Now, all five of the unit's inspectors use the checklist, laptops and GPS technology in the field. "The dedication, energy and excitement Chris brings to the Non-Coal Unit has helped us become one of the most productive units in the department," said Zeaman.

Thiltgen has worked for the Department since April 2007. He resides in Dixon.

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Editor: Photo is available at http://www.dnr.mo.gov/newsrel/images/thiltgen-eom.jpg.