OKI gets national award for its ‘Tree for Me’ innovation that helps with tree placements

Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) has won a national award for digital innovation from the National Association of Government Web Professionals (NAGW).

OKI’s Brandon Flessner, Suzanne Parkey, and Travis Miller

The winning entry: OKI’s Tree for Me tool, a web-based benefits calculator that gives users the ability to virtually place a tree on their property and see stormwater, air quality, and carbon dioxide benefits at any location in the OKI eight-county region.

Tree for Me was also developed to aid organizations in their tree distribution programs. Since OKI’s summer launch, eight tristate communities have used it, distributing a total of nearly 300 trees.

Suzanne Parkey, senior digital communications strategist; Brandon Flessner, GIS developer; and Travis Miller, Regional Planning manager, collaborated on the free tool. 

“It’s an honor to be nationally recognized for our innovative spirit, but it doesn’t come as a surprise to me,” said David Painter, OKI Board President and Clermont County Commissioner. “As a long-time Board member, I’ve had the pleasure to see firsthand the ground-breaking work our brilliant OKI staff perform on behalf of this entire region.”

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“For organizations of any size, from the smallest to the largest, Tree for Me makes setting up a tree distribution campaign easier and more efficient,” Parkey explained. “It also lets individuals find the right species for their exact location, and enjoy all the benefits that come with planting a new tree.”

OKI is the inaugural winner in a new category: Excellence in Digital Innovation and Engagement Award, which recognizes “innovative digital programs, services, or campaigns that are designed to engage users,” according to NAGW.

The association’s Pinnacle Awards “celebrate excellence in government web design and innovation,” said NAGW President Jason Huber. “We congratulate all the winners on their outstanding work that truly serves their communities.”

Formed in 2003, NAGW is an independent self-governing organization with an educational directive. Members are professionals from local, county, state, and federal government.