Manager, Innovation and Planning, DMV
About Ben Kahn
Ben has 30-years of experience working for Oregon state government agencies including the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). His expertise and experience comes from working in key positions including technology, research and project management. He has the Oregon Project Management
Certification, the Project Management Institute Professional Certification, and bachelor's and master's degrees in business management from Oregon State University. He has managed large, multi-million dollar projects while working for these Oregon state agencies.
He is currently the Manager of Innovation and Planning at ODOT. In that role, he leads the Service Transformation Program, an effort to help Oregon DMV vastly improve customer service by leveraging technology. Since taking on this role in 2015, DMV has replaced its 1960 legacy systems, began taking new payment methods (credit/debit cards), added over 20 new online services, added real-time interfaces to key business partners, implemented self-service appointment scheduling, and greatly improved customer service.
Ben looks for ways to transform processes to better meet the needs of stakeholders including customers, employees, and business partners. He embraces diversity and equity, making sure all services offered by DMV are equitable and reach everyone.
He is married, has four children, two currently attending Oregon State University. He enjoys biking, hiking and downhill skiing. Over the years, his family has hosted eight foreign exchange students, many for the entire school year. He also speaks conversational Spanish.
Oregon DMV and the River of Doubt
In 1912, after Theodore Roosevelt lost a brutal presidential election for a 3rd term, he was devastated. He desperately wanted to be in the spotlight again, but didn’t know how. An idea popped into his head: Take one last daring expedition, to the Amazon rain forest, to travel down and map a never-before explored river, the "River of Doubt". While much planning and project management took place ahead of time, as you guessed, everything that could go wrong, did.
Another adventure took place more recently: an effort to significantly improve Oregon DMV customer service by leveraging technology. And while the DMV project did not have to go down any dangerous waterfalls, they did have to switch from a waterfall methodology to a more agile/iterative approach.
Both projects had to pivot due to the many deviations and distractions place before them, including restless natives, wide spread illness, death, destruction, and more. Both journeys, one that took place over 100 years ago, and one that occurred more recently, relied on agility, and harnessed the constant change they were facing, both ending with success (well mostly, anyway). We will explore both adventures, and discuss several project management concepts, comparing and contrasting, and try to better understand how we can handle and leverage uncertainty and change in these transformational times.
We will explore two major projects, and discuss several project management concepts, comparing and contrasting, and try to better understand how we can handle and leverage uncertainty and change in these transformational times.