12/9/20 - A Message from Secretary Hou: Bright Spot - Telecom Team

Good Afternoon IDHS Team,

As the largest State agency responsible for responding to the needs of our community, you can imagine that there is a significant operations and technology support that we rely upon. Thanks to the many individuals and units that have cross-collaborated during this COVID-19 pandemic, our IDHS team continues to move forward with great success and impact. Today, I am thrilled to use the Bright Spot to highlight our Telecom team.

The Telecom team supports and handles telecommunication requests for all IDHS staff, including 6,190+ iPhone/flip phones, 1,016 MiFi/Air Cards, 26,708 phone lines, and 1,659 desk Centrex phones. In the early weeks of COVID-19, as employees adjusted to working remotely, the team spent time looking for the quickest and most reliable ways to process incoming requests. With wide-ranging requests, the team now processes 50-70 requests per week for various needs. In addition to providing support via email or over the phone, the team also helped employees with adjusting to working remotely.

Supporting all of these users with technology and remote work support brought unique challenges. For the first time, many employees were forced to transition from desktop PCs and desk phones to working from a laptop and mobile phones. Staff has divided and conquered managing communication, responding to worker needs, and making weekly visits to the office to receive deliveries of new mobile phones and other needed technology. Quickly, Telecom was able to figure out a schedule that worked for each person on the team, while also following social distancing guidelines.

We owe a huge thank you to all members of this team, led by Ron Ramirez with support from Mary Troesch, Vone Boualavong, and Rhonda Reed. Although this new structure has kept them busy, Telecom has exceled at working remotely, allowing them to have limited interruptions during a time of increased demand for products and services. Cheers to Telecom for thriving through this time, and for partnering with BIP (Bureau of Innovation and Productivity), Property Control, and IT to keep us operating.

Thank you to the team for all of this support, and we will continue to look to them for guidance.

Thank you,


Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS