Liberty alumnus receives Microsoft award

Deputy Secretary of Technology and Liberty alumnus Aaron Mathes was recently given the opportunity to accept the Real Impact Solutions Award, presented by Microsoft to Virginia at the U.S. Public Sector Chief Information Officer Summit.

This event is geared toward educating the attendees on the work that is going into improving the efficiency of the government. Mathes, along with several other individuals, were given the chance to present some of the top projects in the industry.

“Each year Microsoft does a U.S. Public Sector Chief Information Officers conference,” Mathes said.

The conference takes place annually in Washington State, near Microsoft’s headquarters, according to Mathes.

The recipient of the award is selected through a vote of the summit attendees and is bestowed by industry peers to the most innovative and effective government IT (information technology) project presented.

Mathes presented the work that his team has been working on for the past several years.

“We’re transforming state government paper processes into electronic processes and electronic workflows using the Microsoft technology,” Mathes said.

His team is working to make it so that filling out paper forms for various governmental reasons becomes an unnecessary step. Their goal is to allow individuals to access and fill out the documents through the internet, instead of having to submit it in paper form, according to Mathes.

“We’re building web- based portals where citizens with an iPhone, an iPad, a PC … can fill out the form electronically and submit it,” Mathes said.

Mathes and his team are currently working with 10 different agencies as they begin to incorporate their plans. The agencies include the State Board of Elections, the Department of Education, the Governor’s Office, the Department of Historic Resources and several others, according to Mathes.

“What I am most proud of is the fact that this is actually producing a result,” Mathes said. “We’re actually changing things.”

One change that Mathes and his team are working on is the process of becoming a notary.

“Every year, approximately 20,000 citizens apply to be notaries. Before, that was entirely a paper process and took 30 days to complete,” Mathes said. “Now, it is an electronic-based process and you can get approved and get your ability to be a notary within a week.”

The change allowed the department to reassign three employees to different positions. It not only minimizes the time that goes into the process, but it also greatly reduces the amount of paperwork, according to Mathes.

Mathes was not originally involved in technology when he attended Liberty. He graduated from Liberty in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in religion.

“I actually started working in technology at Liberty as a student and then a full-time employee,” Mathes said.

Mathes has had about 12 years of experience working in Liberty’s IT department. Following his time working at Liberty, Mathes interviewed for the Chief Information Officer position at the Attorney General’s Office, according to Mathes

Since then, Mathes has become Virginia’s Deputy Secretary of Technology at the Secretary of Technology Office of the Governor.

Mathes is pleased with the amount of change that his team has been able to bring about. Both he and his team are looking forward to continuing to impact the way the government utilizes technology.

“We want to improve citizen services and at the same time reduce the size, complexity and cost of government,” Mathes said.

Mathes does not take the credit for the success that they have experienced. He credits both his team and the governor.

“I don’t see it as my success, the governor gave us the opportunity and the mission to make government more efficient,” Mathes said.

Mathes and his team will continue to work to give the government and the citizens the best possible options available when the two interact.

“I was very honored to accept the award on behalf of the Commonwealth,” Mathes said.

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