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Category Archives: KAI Partners

California Digital Government Summit recap

Agile, Conferences, Digital Transformation, Event Recap, Government, Information Technology, Innovation, Innovation in the Public Sector, IT Modernization, KAI Partners, Product Management, Public Sector, Sacramento, Technology, Waterfall


Photo credit: Techwire

By Dave G. Cornejo, MBA, CSM

For over 30 years, Sacramento has been home to some of the largest and most-anticipated government technology conferences on the west coast. This year’s Digital Government Summit was no exception.

About the Event

Hosted by Government Technology/e.Republic, the summit included key state and local government executives, technologists, and industry specialists to address the most important policy, management, and technology issues surrounding the future of digital government in the State.

This year’s event included an impressive line-up of guest speakers like Governor Newsom’s Advisor on Innovation and Digital Services, as well as representatives from the Department of Technology, the Government Operations Agency, and more.

Key Takeaways

Some of the most interesting topics from the breakout sessions included:

  • Re-inventing Customer Services
  • AI (machine learning and predictive analytics)
  • Census 2020
  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Design Thinking in Action (putting focus on people when designing new services and products)

The overall theme for this year’s summit was on customer-centered technology, so it was not surprising that a large crowd gathered to hear the latest chapter on the Governor’s plan for the Office of Digital Innovation (ODI).

Governor’s Goals

Summit attendees learned that Governor Newsom wants the State to be more innovative on how it interacts with clients. He believes government is not focused on customers like private industry and he wants that to change.

Some of ODI’s innovation goals include the following:

  1. Encouraging agile and modular approaches to project management, rather than “waterfall” models.
  2. Bridging silos, not blowing them up.
  3. Developing talent, creating a community, and investing efforts in a culture change.

Final Thoughts

Working for a private sector consulting firm that supports many state public sector agencies to digitally transform, it was encouraging to hear the innovation-focused message from the Governor’s office and other guest speakers and summit attendees—and to know that we are on the same page when it comes to using technology to better serve Californians.

About the author

Dave G. Cornejo is a retired State executive having served as an Assistant Executive Director over Administration and Information Technology, Chief Financial Officer, and a Fiscal Division Chief. In these capacities, Dave successfully oversaw the implementation of multi-million-dollar technology projects. Dave has also taught Computer Information Science and Business courses as an Adjunct Professor with the Los Rios Community College District and served as a loaned executive to the California Performance Review team. Dave currently serves as a Financial Analyst for one of our public sector health care clients.

Medicaid Enterprise Systems Conference 2019

Conferences, Digital Transformation, Event Recap, Government, Healthcare, Information Technology, Innovation, Innovation in the Public Sector, IT Modernization, KAI Partners, Medicaid Enterprise Systems Conference 2019, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Project Management, Public Sector, Technology

KAI Partners was thrilled to attend the Medicaid Enterprise Systems Conference (MESC) last week in Chicago. MESC is an annual event bringing together public sector and private sector Medicaid leaders and partners to discuss issues around national Medicaid programs and systems.

A primary focus at MESC is claims management by Medicaid Management Information Systems (MMIS), provider management, and benefits eligibility management.

MESC is a critical meeting point for thoughtful dialogue, workshops, and demonstrations of new technologies. Over the course of three days, the KAI Partners team participated in several informational sessions, attended workshops, and had discussions on the trade show floor with new contacts and potential partners.

The conference provided insight into the various issues confronting systems across the nation and a valuable opportunity for us to share our knowledge working with MMIS technology, data warehousing, analytics, and business intelligence.

The themes of this year’s event centered primarily around the following:

  1. Health Care Innovation
  2. Medicaid Innovation
  3. Operations and Compliance
  4. Procurement and Contracting
  5. Interoperability
  6. Data and Analytics

These themes appeared throughout MESC sessions, where topics included the role of AI, Robotic Process Automation, Program Integrity, Modularity, Data Analytics, Organizational Change Management, Modernization, Outcomes-based approach to successful Medicaid system programs, and more.

From discussions at MESC, as well as our work here in California, we know the goals are to develop Medicaid solutions that are qualitative, supported by relevant technology, and that meet the needs of those who rely on these critical medical services.

One discussion centered around outcomes and encouraged technology vendors to be more active in pushing their technology further to achieve the desired outcomes—and to not be content with checking boxes on contract requirements.

Technology vendors were encouraged to engage in greater depth in understanding the limitations of the proposed system and to work with their public sector partners to achieve results that will have a meaningful impact on the populations served.

We were very encouraged by the session themes and with our discussions during the conference—they play to our company strengths and support our goal to serve a greater segment of the Medicaid enterprise. We look forward to pursuing opportunities that provide excellence in health care consulting and helping Medicaid departments achieve the programs and member outcomes for which they strive!

Attending MESC on behalf of KAI Partners this year were:

Ryan Hatcher: Ryan Hatcher is a skilled communications and management consultant with over a decade of experience campaigning for government, public affairs, and political clients. Ryan serves as an executive consultant providing communications support to one of California’s heath care agencies. He resides in Sacramento with his wife, Nikki, and their two dogs; in his spare time, Ryan enjoys experimenting in the kitchen and tinkering/building things in his garage.

Alexis Kalman: A graduate from UC Davis, Alexis spent over 10 years working with State Medicaid and other health and human service departments to develop, implement, and operate analytic warehouses and decision support systems. In her current role with KAI Partners, Alexis works as a technical project manager for a statewide education agency. Alexis is a board member at the YMCA of Superior California representing the Yolo YMCA. She also participates in both Boy and Girl Scouts with both of her children.

Lucie-Anne Radimsky: Lucie-Anne has over 15 years’ experience in communications and business development in the U.S. and Europe. She has represented clients within the technology, energy, and telecommunications sectors to government agencies, press, and industry analysts throughout the world. Lucie-Anne is an active community volunteer and has served on numerous non-profit boards and led alumni groups in Paris, Washington D.C., and San Francisco. She holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Irvine. She resides in Sacramento with her Brazilian husband and two boys.

KAI Partners Staff Profile: President & CEO, David Kendall

Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Community Service, Corporate Training, Entrepreneurship, Front Street Animal Shelter, KAI Partners, KAI Partners Staff Profile, Learning, Managing/Leadership, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Professional Development, Program Management, Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Sacramento, Sacramento Steps Forward, Servant Leadership, Small Business, Training, WEAVE, Workforce Development

There are many paths to success and while not everyone takes the same path, we often manage to arrive at the same destination. In our KAI Partners Staff Profile series, we share interviews and insight from some of our own employees here at KAI Partners. Our staff brings a diversity in education, professional, and life experience, all of which demonstrate that the traditional route is not necessarily the one that must be traveled in order to achieve success.

Today, we bring you the journey of our very own President & CEO, David Kendall! David founded KAI Partners in 2003. As our President & CEO, he is a managing director for the organization, as well as service delivery lead for a number of our clients.

KAI Partners, Inc.: How did you get into your line of work?

David: I spent nine years in the U.S. Air Force performing a technical role related to electronic warfare. At the same time, I was finishing up my undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems from University of Maryland University College. After the Air Force and graduating from college, I worked for several different companies in project manager and program manager roles.

KAI: Are there any certifications or trainings you’ve gone through that have helped in your career?

David: I have my Project Management Professional (PMP)®, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM®), and Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO®) certifications. I’ve found that certifications give us a common language to talk about a particular domain. They provide a framework to execute tasks in a specific order to achieve an outcome. They also provide a professional community and opportunities for community service.

KAI: What is your favorite part about your line of work and why?

David: For clients, my favorite part of my job is providing solutions to business problems. Helping solve problems means I can really see the value for our customers, partners, and our staff. My favorite part of being a small business President & CEO is individual and team development.

KAI: What is one of the most common questions you receive from clients and what counsel or advice do you give them?

David: I frequently get asked by clients, “How do I manage change across my organization?” I recommend building coalitions, identifying change agents, and including these people in the process early and often. Internally, I sometimes get the ‘What’s in it for me?’ question. I think it’s important to communicate why we do what we do and how this relates back to all aspects of a person’s work—their own development, the team’s development, our community, and our customers.

At the end of the day, our goal is to help provide more reliable services to Californians, so it’s important to keep this at the forefront.

Now that we’ve learned more about David’s background and current work as both consultant and KAI Partners’ President & CEO, here’s a little more about him!

Quick Q&A with David Kendall:

Daily, must-visit website: For work, I visit Asana.com. It’s a flexible work management tool that allows the team to create a set of business rules so everyone can work successfully. For news and information, I go to the New York Times, LinkedIn, and—of course—social media sites.

Preferred genre of music or podcast to listen to: The most recent audiobook I listened to was “Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us,” by Dan Lyons. I read this for the bi-monthly KAI Book Club. The book club is a newer endeavor for us internally. I’ve enjoyed the participation and a diversity of perspectives and thought-provoking discussion that comes out of our meetings. We also have a resident mixologist who creates thematic cocktails based on each book!

Best professional advice received: “Leaders are not appointed.” Another piece of advice I received is simply said (but not always simply done), and that is: Manage expectations. I’ve found that this applies to any management job at any level.

Book you can read over and over again: Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio.

Most-recent binge-watched show: “Letterkenny” on Hulu.

About David: Mr. Kendall’s career serving the public sector includes key consulting positions for various health and human services agencies. Mr. Kendall supports a number of community partners in the Sacramento region, including WEAVE, Sacramento Steps Forward, and Front Street Animal Shelter. In his spare time, David enjoys playing golf and cooking.

How to Hack into an IT Career (No hacker skills required!)

Cloud Computing, Corporate Training, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Government, Information Security, Information Technology, Innovation, Innovation in the Public Sector, IT Modernization, IT Security, KAI Partners, Professional Development, Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Public Sector, Sacramento, Technology, Workforce Development

By Jamal Hartenstein, JD, CISSP, CGEIT, PMP

I recently had the opportunity to speak to a group of civil servants through the organization, NxtGov. NxtGov is a professional network for people working in California public service, and those who are interested in public service. According to NxtGov, “We want to develop this network into a platform for collaboration across government and other sectors to develop innovative ideas to improve government service and restore trust and pride in public service.”

To achieve their mission, NxtGov promotes training and advancement of current government workers and actively recruits new talent. NxtGov adds value with opportunities on how to find and apply to government positions and training on how to sharpen skills to promote within.

My discussion focused on improving understanding of the Information Technology workforce within the public sector, including information on the different certifications and skills-building that might be beneficial. With so many public sector agencies undertaking large system replacements and other innovation projects, skilled IT professionals are needed now more than ever. And, IT professionals with different backgrounds—like project management and change management—are just as much in demand.

Interested in learning more? Here are some Q&A on IT certifications and professional development:

  1. Do I need an IT certification? Considering all the letters behind my name, I definitely think certifications are valuable! Plus, certifications are often mandatory checkboxes when applying for government positions. Even if it’s not mandatory, a certification can indicate to employers your interest in and dedication to a particular industry. A certification can also validate years of experience and capability.
  2. Which certification do I need? First you need to determine which certification is most valuable to you and your goals. A certification is only as strong as the certificate authority and how you use your credential. Remember that earning a certification often allows you to gain access to and participate in a new online community with membership by the certification authority. Resources will become available that otherwise were not offered, which only aids in your continued development.
  3. Is a PMP® an IT certification? Short answer: Yes! Many of us have been involved in IT project management, but just didn’t know it. A PMP® credential is a valuable IT certification and as of July 2019, there are nearly 900 open project management jobs in the Sacramento region. (Bonus: The average IT Project Manager position pays upwards of $95K annually).

The future of IT in the public sector is great and growing. Whether it’s through cloud migrations, third party software replacements, or an innovation we haven’t even thought of yet, now is the time to start taking your professional development up a notch. For a sustainable IT career, you should keep up with new certification and training and make sure you don’t stay stagnant in a position that isn’t growing along with the speed of technology.

How are you navigating the IT changes in the public sector? Be sure to check out NxtGov to learn more about the important work they’re doing to help improve government services.

About the Author: IT Security Program Manager at KAI Partners, Jamal Hartenstein is a cybersecurity legal expert who has helped some of the country’s largest financial institutions, healthcare companies, and federal agencies develop their IT Security Roadmap programs. In his current role, Jamal provides guidance to executive staff and security professionals on laws, frameworks, and policies that help shape their strategic plan, and helps organizations innovate safely and securely. Prior to working for KAI Partners, Jamal served as an Electronic Warfare Sergeant in the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Corps, where he was a steward for Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) framework. He earned his undergraduate degree from Georgia Military College and his Juris Doctorate from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in California.

Sacramento’s Impact Global Venture Summit recap

Conferences, Event Recap, Information Technology, Innovation, Innovation in the Public Sector, Internet of Things, IT Modernization, KAI Partners, Learning, Non-profit, Public Sector, Sacramento, Startup Company, Technology, The WorkShop


Photo credit: Impact Venture Capital

By Terry Daffin (PMP), Shyanne Long (CSM), and Lucie-Anne Radimsky (CSPO)

KAI Partners was in full force at Impact Venture Capital’s recent Impact Global Venture Summit!

Our organization thrives on innovation and partnership, so the summit was a great opportunity to meet with local entrepreneurs, businesses, and funders of next generation technology in Sacramento.

While the idea of “global” attached event in Sacramento might raise some eyebrows, we can assure you that the event lived up to its geographic expectations—we met with people from over 20 different countries who are currently living and innovating in the Sacramento area.

The innovative organizations in attendance at the summit represented industries such as agriculture, construction, IoT, VR products for the military, Blockchain, education, and entertainment.

What Sacramento may lack in density, we make up for in diversity, which is critical to long-term growth and success of any organization and/or region. The Impact Global Venture Summit was a good reminder that although Sacramento has always been top of mind due to its proximity to political power as the State’s capital, its popularity is starting to grow.

Rising costs in the Bay Area; our region’s thriving healthcare, construction, and agriculture sectors; the proximity to research institutions; and a skilled workforce and space spurring a resurgence of manufacturing all play an important role in attracting entrepreneurs and businesses from around the world.

Take for example autonomous vehicles, which is a priority for the Sacramento Urban Technology Lab, led by Louis Stewart of the City of Sacramento. Mr. Stewart presented this concept at the summit and discussed the initiative’s far-reaching implications in terms of raising our profile globally to Asia and Europe, including work-study visits to Germany and discussing with China the possibility of a training university co-locating in our region. Louis was joined by the CEO of SMUD, who have announced they will contribute $15 million toward the creation of a California Mobility Center, which will play a pivotal role in redefining SMUD’s future beyond selling electrons.

This topic was reiterated by Jan Geldmacher of Sprint, who discussed the rising importance of networks supporting the technologies of the future through 5G. He detailed Sprint’s latest project, self-driving robotic charging stations, which will service parked cars in heavily dense urban areas where static charging stations are uncommon.

It was empowering to have strong businesswomen in attendance and speaking on panels. During the “Women in Tech” panel, it was noted that in the future, there will not need to be a separate segment and panel just for women. Hopefully, it will be a given that women will not only be included, but also ingrained in technology, innovation, and all things business related. One panelist who stood out was Brissa Quiroz, the Director of the Valley Industry Partnership (VIP) Program at Fresno State University. With a PhD in Environmental Science and Engineering, Ms. Quiroz expressed her passion for fostering students interests in STEM programs, especially those who come from low income and minority groups. Ms. Quiroz made it clear that she hopes to get more girls into STEM programs and keep their interest thriving.

The event also included Epic Office Hours for current and future startup founders to ask questions and receive advice from some of the area’s most successful founders and investors on what it takes to succeed in this new ecosystem of innovation and disruption.

KAI Partners was pleased to be one of over 1,000 attendees enjoying this premiere event supporting entrepreneurship and innovation in the Sacramento region. Did you attend the Impact Global Venture Summit? What were you most excited to learn?

About the Authors: Terry Daffin is the Community Manager of KAI Partners’ coworking and collaboration space, The WorkShop Sacramento. Lucie-Anne Radimsky KAI Partners’ Business Development Lead, covering all divisions of KAI Partners, including training and managed IT services. Shyanne Long is an Associate Business Analyst supporting business intelligence and research.

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