November 16, 1995
Information manager wins national recognition
A State of Wisconsin information systems manager has been selected as one of four silver
winners of the Awards for Achievement in Managing Technology. The prestigious national
award is presented annually by American Management Systems and the Graduate School
of Industrial Administration, Carnegie Mellon University.
Rollin W. Ager, Director of the Bureau of Information Technology Services in the Wis.
Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations, received the award on Tuesday,
Nov. 14, in Washington D.C. at the Four Seasons Hotel. Four gold winners were also
named. They were selected from over 70 nominations.
Ager, who resides in Sun Prairie, leads a bureau of 180 people who helped the
unemployment insurance division devise a system in which claimants "let their fingers do
the walking" through interactive voice response technology. In response to
computer-generated questions, claimants use the keypad of their touch-tone telephones to
tap vital information - such as name, social security number, driver's license number, date
of birth, and simple yes or no responses - directly into the computer, thus avoiding
extensive re-keying of information. After a few minutes, live claims specialists come on
line to gather more complex claimant information.
Ager also led the technology team in developing the computerized job matching system
called "JobNet." The system was named first-place winner in the Leading Tools and
Technology competition for 1995 by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Interstate
Conference of Employment Security Agencies. The judges called the system "state of the
art technology. The look is inviting and user-friendly and accessing information is simple."
JobNet features easy-to-use, touch-screen computers that can put workers in touch with
the right job almost instantly, no matter where in Wisconsin they live. Users can narrow
their search to a particular city or expand it to the entire state. Hours, wages, and
instructions on how to apply are provided.
"Innovative information technology develop is one of the hallmarks of my administration,"
said Gov. Tommy G. Thompson. "I am especially proud of DILHR's outstanding
accomplishments under the leadership of Secretary Carol Skornicka and Mr. Ager. These
projects and others within the Department would not have been possible without the vision
and strong professional leadership of Mr. Ager."
Secretary Carol Skornicka agreed. "This is a big-time award, justly deserved. It reflects
on all of us. Because of the useful technology Rollin and his bureau have deployed, the
Department is well positioned to implement Wisconsin Works for a true partnership for full