As a collaborative organization that charges minimal dues, AGCCP depends heavily upon the energy and commitment of its board of directors. To learn more about this year’s board, read the biographies below.
Demitra (Dee) Crayton | Monica Cichowlas | Shannon L. Spivey | Debra Hudson | Susan Pontarelli | Wendy Urbanic | Janet B. Nelson | Jennifer Gogol | Nick Scheidegger | Daniel Wuethrich | Rogena Bonner| Carol Rhodes | Stephanie Brown
Dee has been employed with the City of Charlotte since 1976. Dee began serving the City of Charlotte as a part time employee and eventually became a full time employee. She worked in the Print Shop before she transitioned to the Customer Service & Information Center (CS&IC). Dee began working for CS&IC as a Customer Service Representative and worked her way up to Manager. When CharMeck 311 opened in July 2005, Dee began as the Operations Manager and continues to fill that role currently. All of Dee’s full time positions have been under the division of the City Manager’s Office until July 2017 when the center merged with Housing & Neighborhood Services.
As Operations Manager at CharMeck 311, Dee leads a team of 70 Customers Service Representatives, 7 Supervisors and an Assistant Operations Manager, and is responsible for the daily operation of the Center. In 2017, the Center served over 1.6 million customers by phone, walkups and the IVR. Dee also serves on various committees with partnering departments and is frequently involved in collaborating with partnering departments when CharMeck 311 is asked to take on new calls/services.
CharMeck 311 has been a model for many call centers throughout the country, and over the years Dee has been invited to several cities to assist with projects involving their call centers. Dee was invited to Louisville, Kentucky to serve on a team that included both public and private employees to determine if the Louisville call center needed a new phone system and additional employees. Dee was also very instrumental in helping the City of Durham, NC get their call center up and running.
Dee has been involved with the AGCCP since the beginning and has served as the Board Chairman since 2005 when the AGCCP was officially organized and the by-laws created. Dee was the facilitator when the annual conference was held in Charlotte both in 2003 and 2014.
Dee is married with three children, ten grandchildren and ten great grandchildren.
Dee currently serves in or is a member of the following associations:
- Past President and Secretary of Post 262 American Legion Auxiliary
- Member of the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary
- Board Chairman 2005 – Present of AGCCP
- Member of AWWA – American Water Works Association
Monica Cichowlas leads an award-winning team of 24 in Jacksonville’s customer service center, 630-CITY. The main point of contact for city government, 630-CITY serves more than 600,000 customers annually with a high approval rating.
With a broad background in corporate training and customer service, Monica has more than 22 years of success in contact center management. She came to the City from Merrill Lynch in 2000, recruited by former mayor John Delaney following her service on a volunteer task force to help develop the City’s first-ever customer service center.
Monica has led numerous service improvement projects city-wide, including Sterling Team 3, which identified the need for and then created customer service training that is now required for all city employees. A Certified Customer Service Trainer, she is a founding member of the Association of Government Contact Center Professionals (AGCCP) and currently serves as Executive Vice Chairman of that organization. Monica has a degree in Merchandise Management from International Academy of Merchandising and Design, and earned a Call Center Management Certificate from the University of Phoenix in 2001.
Under Monica’s leadership, the 630-CITY team has helped to enhance the customer service culture within city government and served as an example for other government contact centers nationwide. 630-CITY has either pioneered or adopted a number of best practices including the utilization of data from call management software to assess employee performance, predict call volume and plan for contingencies. Monica has also provided customer service training and assistance to community organizations, including the Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless and the Wounded Warrior Project. In 2012, 630-CITY won the Teamwork Award from the Government Customer Contact Services Community, was one of three finalist for the 2015 Overall Excellence Award from the Government Customer Contact Services Community, and earned the Citizen-Engaged Community designation for 2014- 2016, and 2016 – 2018 from Public Technology Institute.
Shannon has worked with the Baldwin County Commission since 2006. She earned her B.S in Marketing from the University of South Alabama after which time, she and her husband were stationed in Germany where she worked for Army Community Service in their Information and Referral Division and in the Relocation Division. Upon returning home, she worked in the funeral service industry for 10 years before deciding to once again join the public service arena. As assistant to the Mayor of Daphne, much of her time was spent helping citizens who had tired of trying to figure out whom to call for help. It was this love of trying to figure out “who does what” that led her to apply for the position of Customer Relationship Manager for the Baldwin County Commission in 2006. As such, she manages their service center, which currently averages 28,000 calls per month and she still spends much of her day gathering information and referring citizens to the appropriate agency or finding an answer to that impossible question. Baldwin County currently uses Lagan CRM software and Siemens OpenScape Contact Center for call routing. She currently manages a staff of 6 fulltime Customer Service Representative and a Knowledgebase/Website coordinator all of whom are working to grow the contact center and the services offered to the citizens of Baldwin County and the 14 municipalities within her borders.
Debra Hudson was hired as a 311 supervisor in October, 2005. Debra was instrumental in the final preparations required for the launch of Minneapolis 311 in January, 2006. The 311 Call Center is an inbound, single access point for City of Minneapolis information and services via the telephone, email and the web.
To 311, Debra has brought her skills in the areas of strategic & organizational planning, process improvement, systems development & deployment and an unwavering focus on quality and on-time deliverables. Debra is currently the 311 Operations Manager, responsible for managing daily call center operations with a support staff of three supervisors, two Operations Desk Agents and twenty two call center agents, which has handled over 3 million calls to date.
Debra has previously worked with contact centers for Marshall Fields and CIGNA Insurance in the private sector. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and a former longtime Minneapolis resident currently residing in Brooklyn Park Minnesota.
Sue Pontarelli has worked for the City of Evanston Police Department since 1984 in numerous positions, including Service Desk Officer, Crime Prevention Specialist, 911 Operator and most currently the Supervisor of the 311 Center and Police Service Desk.
On March 1, 2011 the City of Evanston 311 Center was launched. Sue was part of the team that built the Center from the ground up. Sue’s true passion is comedy and loves to do stand-up and performs with several improvisation groups in the Chicago land area. Sue is very excited to be a board member of the AGCCP.
Sue is married and lives in Chicago with her husband.
Wendy Urbanic started with the City of Pittsburgh in 1999 and was selected to manage the City of Pittsburgh’s 311 Response Center since its inception in 2006. With an acute focus on stellar customer service the center has grown from 3 FT operators to a crew of eleven who have worked in tandem with the Emergency Operations Center when necessary. Pittsburgh’s robust twitter account (@Pgh311) has inspired her interest in social media
Wendy has been a member of the Association of Government Contact Center Professionals since 2007 and has served on the AGCCP board since May of 2012. She has over 25 years of customer service experience in a variety of capacities, including being a utility services advocate for a non-profit, developing and managing a quality assurance center for a Fortune 500 Company, running her own business and serving as an employment services coordinator.
Janet’s career encompassed 34 years with the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. From 1974 until 2010, she worked in various departments that included Human Resources, Department of Transportation, Neighborhood Development, Public Service & Information, Customer Service & Information and CharMeck 311.
She worked in a number of positions throughout her career but one area stood out more than the others, her passion for training and development in the Customer Service & Information Center as well as CharMeck 311 . It was important to have an outline of what would take place from the beginning when a person was hired. She was instrumental in getting the cross reference keywords developed that are still being used now.
As one of the founding members of AGCCE, now AGCCP, she did a lot of research in helping to get the
the information needed that would allow the AGCCP to exist today.
Janet retired from CharMeck 311 January, 2010.
Jennifer Gogol has served as the Customer Service Manager for the City of Toledo Public Utilities since 2011. Subscribing to the philosophy that customer service is not the responsibility of a particular unit, rather everyone who comes into contact with a customer, Jennifer has worked diligently to change the culture and level of service provided to customers.
In 2015, she facilitated the merging of the public utilities customer service center with the mayor’s action center for a unified contact center concept. She also administered an aggressive rebranding campaign. In just eight weeks; the two call centers merged, and the Engage Toledo Initiative was launched. The results were a seamless transition to the customer, and a built-in redundancy with triple the workforce available to service the customer. The Engage Toledo Call Center offers citizens a 24/7/365 operation to improve the collection, management, completion and follow-up on citizens’ request for city services.
Under her leadership, the City of Toledo launched the Inaugural Engage Toledo Ambassador Academy, earned national recognition for citizen-engagement as the 2017 recipient of the Association of Government Contact Center Professionals (AGCCP) Award of Distinction, and the Public Technology Institute’s Citizen-Engaged Community designation for 2016-2018.
Nick Scheidegger is currently an Operations Manager for Denver 311. He has been with the City & County of Denver’s Contact Center since their launch in 2006. Prior to the city, he worked in other contact centers within the travel industry. In addition, he has many years of retail management experience, most recently Wild Oats Markets.
With a solid foundation of customer service he is always looking for ways to improve service delivery. He is currently participating on a citywide initiative to improve the customer experience in the city of Denver. An accomplished Customer Experience and Contact Center Leader, Nick co-manages a staff of 32 agents and support staff. He has many other notable accomplishments: Development of a Quality Assurance and Schedule Adherence program, implementation of a call recording solution and most recently served as a business sponsor during Denver’s transition to a new CRM platform, Salesforce. He received his certificate in Call Center Management from Benchmark Portal and has attended both the Synergy and AGCCP Conferences. He is a Peak Academy Black Belt and also holds a green belt in Six Sigma.
He believes the best decision Denver ever made was to join the AGCCP. He values the many relationships he has gained through the AGCCP since becoming a member in 2009. In addition, the association’s Google Group has been an invaluable tool that has allowed him to collaborate with many of his colleagues throughout the year. Lastly, the annual conference has allowed him to meet with fellow industry leaders, share common concerns and bring forward the vision and values of the organization.
Dan Wuethrich became a member of AGCCP in 2014 and as a Board Member in 2016 after joining Sarasota County, FL’s Contact Center as Operations Manager in the Fall of 2013. He was named the 2nd recipient of the County Administrator’s Smooth Sailing Award in 2015. An avid runner, Dan organized the first county employee 5K Fun Run/Walk in 2017 raising over $2K to benefit United Way.
Spending 8 years with AAA of Western Central New York Dan was the Operations Manager for a multi-location 24/7 operation responsible for sales, membership and Emergency Road Service calls. While at AAA, he implemented a WORK AT HOME program including the overnight shift. He was one of eight employees to receive the first AAA Presidential Award. Dan also spent 20 years supporting Contact Centers at AT&T in various positions including Operations Manager, Marketing Manager, Trainer and Human Resources Manager.
Dan holds a BS in Economics from SUNY Empire and two Associates Degrees in Journalism and Business & Banking.
Currently the chair of the AGCCP Award of Distinction program, Dan and Sarasota County invite you to the 2019 AGCCP Conference on the beautiful tropical sandy beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, May 6- 9, 2019.
Carol has been employed with the City of Columbia since 1994. She has held various positions in the City Manager’s office that has resulted in 25 years’ experience in local government. Under Carol’s leadership, the development of the Contact Center for the City of Columbia was created and opened in 2014 with two customer service representatives serving the Public Works Department – Solid Waste Division.
As Assistant City Manager, Carol’s purview and responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following: completing performance evaluations, coaching, transitioning to a customer-focused culture, streamlining the process for special events and legislative affairs. She leads the implementation of the city’s Strategic Plan, assists in the formulation, direction and implementation of major policies and procedures, represents the city at a variety of Commission and Board meetings, and relieves the City Manager of administrative operating details. The following departments are included in her purview: Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Office of Cultural Affairs, Special Events, and Civic Relations.
Carol received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Southeast Missouri State University (Cum Laude Graduate). She and her husband, Jon, have been married for 25 years and have a four legged fur baby named Zoe.
Carol has attended all AGCCP conferences since 2012 and has been a member since that time.
Stephanie Brown has worked for the City of Columbia since 2006 when she started with the Solid Waste Division before transferring to the Water and Light Department. She was promoted to the position of Manager of the newly developed Contact Center in 2015. Stephanie has over 20 years of customer service experience from a background in retail management, medical administration, banking and finance. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Columbia College and has a passion for customer engagement, solving issues and finding working solutions to enhance operations. Stephanie is also a certified Service with Principles facilitator through EdTrek and a Diversity and Inclusion Facilitrainer.
Stephanie is currently a key player in the completion of transitioning the City of Columbia to one central location for information and services under 874-CITY. She is also working on enhancing both employee and customer engagement by focusing her team on developing as customer service professionals and understanding the concept of customer experience. Her team has recently launched live chat and she is working on enhancing the CRM system for a better user experience and configuring it with a new Citizen Self Service platform.
Stephanie joined AGCCP in 2015 and was recently elected to the Board in 2017. She has found that this organization provides great support and real-life, relevant information for anyone involved in a governmental contact or call center.
Currently, living in Columbia, MO, Stephanie has one son. She loves traveling and reading…and is looking forward to the next AGCCP Conference!