King County's Impressive Cultural Evolution: Stories And Insights From An Exciting Journey

Increase employee engagement scores by 33% in one year? Impossible? Not in King County. It actually happened! Come hear how.

Change can be messy. It can be hard. Sometimes—perhaps more often than not—there are false starts along the way; times when we must stop, reassess, and redirect. Just ask the leaders of King County’s various divisions. During this engaging presentation and panel discussion, learn about King County's journey to become a truly healthy organization and an exemplary role model of efficiency, effectiveness and accountability…a journey that began with a focus on the use of continuous improvement tools and implementing Lean practices but that, ultimately, morphed into a far more robust change management initiative grounded in strong leadership development and solid cross-functional team collaboration.


Brett Cooper
Integris Performance Advisors

Brett Cooper has been a member of the Washington State Lean Expert Partnership Program since 2012. In that time, he has been an advisor to a large number of agencies at the state, county and city levels, with his guidance focused largely on how to cultivate a Lean culture intentionally. A passionate advocate for creating more healthy workplaces, Brett dedicates a large percentage of his time and energy to studying the impact of great leadership and effective teamwork, and to sharing what he learns with a wide variety of organizational leaders. Brett is President and Co-Founder of Integris Performance Advisors, a performance-optimization consulting and training firm; a volunteer coordinator for East Bay Stand Down, a nonprofit serving homeless Veterans throughout the San Francisco Bay Area; and a board member for Partners in Sustainable Learning, a nonprofit bringing early childhood education to communities in the developing world.

Ken Guy
King County Finance and Business Operations Division

Ken Guy has been in public service leadership positions for regional and local governments for over 30 years. Since 2005, he’s held the position of Finance Director for King County the 13th largest county in the nation serving 2.1 million residents. Ken has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of WA and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from WA State University. He lives on Bainbridge Island, WA with his wife Cindy, a teacher and high school gymnastics coach. They have two adult children. In his spare time, Ken enjoys golfing and skiing with his family, umpiring Little League games, and attending WSU football games in Pullman, WA.

Jennifer Hills
King County Office of Risk Management Services

Jennifer Hills has been the Director of Risk Management Services since 2003 for King County, which includes the Seattle-Bellevue metropolitan area, which is the 13th largest county in the United States with a population of over 2 million. Jennifer manages a staff of 31 in the areas of claims, enterprise risk management, risk finance, insurance & contracts, and open government. King County provides direct and regional government services such as law enforcement, adult and juvenile correctional facilities, public health services, wastewater treatment, and criminal justice through the courts, prosecuting attorney’s office and public defenders. King County also operates the regional bus, light rail, and street car service. Prior to joining King County, Jennifer worked for the Washington Cities Insurance Authority, a municipal insurance pool providing insurance and risk management services to over 100 cities in Washington. Jennifer earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from the University of Washington. She is active in several industry groups and is the Past President of the Washington Chapter of the Public Risk Management Association.

Norm Alberg
King County Records and Licensing Services

Norm has a 30 year career leading a variety of technical, engineering and service organizations, including over 17 years of executive leadership experience in both the public and private sectors. Norm has worked at King County for the last eight years, including leading the RALS division for the last five years.  Norm has lead RALS on a 4-year continuous improvement (CI) journey, has presented information on the RALS journey at Washington State’s Lean Conference for the last 2-years, and has made presentations at several State and national forums. Prior to King County, Norm worked for four years at Starbucks and seven years as a management consultant. Additionally, Norm previously worked for Washington State, Seattle City Light and the City of Seattle. Norm is a Licensed Professional Engineer as well as a certified Project Management Professional.

Sandra Kilroy
Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer
King County Wastewater Treatment Division

Sandra Kilroy is the Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer for the King County Wastewater Treatment Division and served as the Assistant Director for the utility for the past five years. She has championed moving the agency to a utility of the future, led the division’s Lean revolution and continuous improvement efforts, spearheaded robust workforce development, and managed strategic business planning and performance management. In the past, she managed King County’s salmon recovery, watershed restoration, floodplain management, and water quality programs and served a key communications and organizational development role in the merger of two large governments. In all her roles, Sandra is a leader in supporting high performance government and is dedicated to employee engagement and continuous improvement.

Megan Pedersen
King County Office of Labor Relations

Megan partners with King County’s unions to advance the executive’s focus on employee engagement and increasing capacity for public service through innovation, continuous improvement and sustainable cost growth. In 2016, she helped lead King County to accomplish a first ever Total Compensation agreement with the County’s Coalition of Unions. She is currently leading the county's efforts to establish a first ever Master Labor Agreement creating efficiencies and standards across some 70 collective bargaining agreements. Megan previously served as Interim Director of the Office of Labor Relations, as Deputy Director of King County Records and Licensing Services Division, and as a Labor Litigator with the Office of Labor Relations. Before joining King County, she was an associate with Seattle law firm Williams Kastner; she is a graduate of the University of Washington Law School.
your typical Q&A session and should take pressure away from asking “the perfect question”.