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Media contacts:
Janelle Guthrie, ESD communications director, 360-902-9289 or 360-480-2096

Peinecke brought major customer service, culture, technology and facilities upgrades to ESD

When Gov. Jay Inslee appointed Commissioner Dale Peinecke to lead the Employment Security Department, the agency faced a budget crisis due to deep federal budget cuts and both facilities and technology desperately needed upgrades.

As Peinecke announces his retirement, the agency has much to celebrate and is continuing work to improve.

A Lean, Customer First culture

Under his leadership, ESD has reduced spending by more than $60 million annually to align with reductions in federal funding, while at the same time increasing the overall percentage of frontline staff by more than 12 percent to provide more direct service to customers.

Peinecke invested in customer-centered design and Lean leadership training for staff and partners across the state to expand a focus on putting customers first and making continuous improvements. As a result, staff have logged hundreds of those improvements due to their continuous focus on quality.

“Dale’s commitment to our WorkSource and unemployment customer base is unwavering,” said Kelly Lindseth, Director of ESD’s Employment Connections team. “His investments in front-line staff as well as facilities and technology have raised the bar at ESD. He’s challenged and supported us and I’m proud to have had the opportunity to work with him.”

Improved employee engagement, commitment to continous improvement

Peinecke’s Customer First, Lean culture and emphasis on professional development for staff has resulted in improvements in every area of the annual state employee engagement survey, including double-digit increases in a number of areas and a nine-point increase in employee job satisfaction.

In light of a recent external investigation into workplace issues, Peinecke reiterated respect for employees and commitment to employee engagement.

“I’d like to reaffirm how important it is to the executive team and me that employees at ESD feel that they are treated with fairness and respect,” Peinecke said. “We have reviewed the concerns expressed in this investigation and are taking them seriously.  As always, this gives us all an opportunity to learn and continuously improve so moving forward we can best show respect for each other as ESD employees.”

New technology and facility upgrades

As a partner in the WorkSource system, ESD has updated technology and facilities across the state to improve accessibility and the overall customer experience. WorkSource offices now offer free Wi-Fi and wireless printing as well as modern and welcoming workspaces.

“My team has been excited to help upgrade facilities across Washington,” said Sandi Triggs, Chief Financial Officer and another member of the executive leadership team. “Under Dale’s leadership, ESD reduced its real-estate footprint by over 100,000 square feet—or 20 percent— without reducing the number of service locations. At the same time, we remodeled locations to make them more welcoming and ergonomically friendly.”

During Peinecke’s tenure, the agency has replaced the unemployment insurance tax system, the UI benefits system and the state’s job board, WorkSourceWA.com. No other state agency has replaced all of its major information technology projects in such a short amount of time and at such an affordable cost.

Thousands of people served

The new UI benefits system allows people to apply for benefits, submit weekly claims, find information, and get answers about benefits, including how much they’ll be paid and whether ESD has processed their payment—all online 24/7. So far, more than 270,000 claimants have registered for eServices accounts and the system has made more than 2.5 million payments totaling more than $1.13 billion.  And ESD has maintained one of the most solvent unemployment insurance trust funds in the nation for the benefit of business and workers.

Since 2013, 681,542 job seekers have found jobs through WorkSource—and since 2016, Peinecke launched the award-winning WorkSourceWA.com, 11,722 employers have posted 393,521 jobs and nearly 273,000 job seekers have registered to post their resumes, apply for jobs and more.

“When I took on this job in 2013, I wanted to help make our government better,” Peinecke said. “I was appointed to help deliver more jobs for Washington workers, a more efficient and effective state government and a Lean culture. I’m proud to have been able to meet and exceed those expectations.”

Peinecke came to the Employment Security Department in 2013 after more than 37 years in the aerospace and materials industries, including executive positions at Giddens Industries, Neuvant Aerospace, Alcoa and others. He has offered to stay in his current role through June 30 to allow time for Inslee to select a replacement and to allow for an orderly leadership transition.

“I’ve been working since I started my first business at age 14—and I’ll turn 65 in June,” he said. “It’s time to pass the leadership baton and focus more of my energy on family, friends and others. I’m grateful to Gov. Inslee for this opportunity to make a real difference for others.”


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