Hawaii Provides State-Owned Airports with Online Platform for Environmental Systems Management

Hawaii Provides State-Owned Airports with Online Platform for Environmental Systems Management
Kristen Rindfleisch
Published in: 

Recognizing the need for robust environmental systems management, the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Airports Division provides a cloud-based, no-code system for its 15 state-owned and state-operated airports. For years, the online tool has provided structure and support for managing environmental permits, tracking risk assessments, scheduling tenant inspections, reporting spills or illicit discharges and other key factors. As of this spring, it will also cover environmental compliance, document management, training and other aspects for construction projects. 

The online system from Veoci replaced paper processes, carbon copies and metal file cabinets. Previously, HDOT had basic software for data management but lacked the ability to create workflows or track assets and inspections. “As you can imagine, it wasn’t even close to helping us in everything we do,” says HDOT Environmental Health Specialist Stacy Paquette.

The Environmental Section Paquette heads up has many tasks to assign and massive amounts of data to manage. Stormwater permitting is particularly complex because the 15 state-owned airports are all close to the Pacific Ocean. The Section’s many responsibilities include training; tenant inspections and tracking; asset tracking; structures, construction and design reviews; project inspections; spill prevention, control and countermeasures; aboveground storage tank oversight inspections; wastewater permits; contaminated sites; and more.


Project: Online Platform for Environmental Systems Management

Platform: Veoci

Sponsor: Hawaii Department of Transportation’s (HDOT) Airports Division

Users: 15 state-operated airports, including Hilo Int’l (ITO), Daniel K. Inouye Int’l (HNL) & Ellison Onizuka Kona Int’l (KOA)

Approx. Cost: $130,000/year

Key Components: Creation & management of workflows; detailed mapping; streamlined data management & reporting; integration with legacy and web-based systems; comprehensive risk management; permit & inspection management; incident reporting; mass notifications

Key Benefits: Increased efficiency; streamlined processes; customized & adaptable modules

Learning to Build

Veoci personnel teach users about the company’s system interface and how to navigate it. “In some cases, we even train them to understand how our building blocks work, so they can kind of play around with building a form, building a process in our system,” says Alex Nguyen, solutions manager of Veoci’s Aviation Division. After implementation, the company also offers free online training and boot camps for client administrators. “We can build it for them, but obviously we want to teach them how to maintain it and also build their own additional processes,” Nguyen explains.

Outside consultants specializing in computer programming and geographic information system (GIS) mapping assisted HDOT’s Environmental Section with setup and continue to support subsequent modifications. These consultants also received instruction and feedback from Veoci.

Once the initial modules were built, the company trained team members who would be using the platform for day-to-day purposes. “We teach them how to use the system, where to navigate, how to pull up inspections, how to pull up records, how to filter things, create reports, and so on,” Nguyen comments. Veoci also provides documentation based on each airport’s specific platform to help answer common questions that crop up later. 

Implementation and Use

Prior to launching its new platform, HDOT participated in webinars to see how other organizations use their respective versions of the Veoci system. This helped team members consider how they might put the online tool to use. “It gives you the ability to visualize what you want to do and where you want to go with it,” Paquette remarks. “If you don’t have that visualization, then you’re not going to end up with an end product that is useful for you.”

Veoci, in turn, assessed each airport’s operations and advised how to best build modules within the platform. Drawing from its experience at more than 100 airports throughout the world, the company incorporates best practices from facilities already using its system. “Some things are standardized, like the airfield inspection, and are easy to copy for each airport,” Nguyen explains. “But overall, every airport has a unique solution for them that we create.”

His team prioritizes adaptability to ensure that the platform aligns with each airport’s specific needs. “We’ll adapt the system to you, rather than vice versa,” emphasizes Nguyen.

When HDOT’s Environmental Section asked questions about implementation, Veoci personnel tapped their case files from building modules for other airports. “If you didn’t have someone that had that experience, you wouldn’t know what you could do,” Paquette says.

Veoci helps scope and build what clients need/want the platform to do. For example, it worked with the Environmental Section of HDOT to implement the statewide environmental compliance program into the digital system so department personnel can run inspections, maintain records and meet requirements.

“We’re in all different kinds of industries [healthcare, higher education, utilities, etc.] because our system is flexible,” Nguyen notes. “Users are able to build whatever they want to build in
our system.”

Since introducing Veoci to state airports in 2019 for environmental programs, HDOT has incorporated tenant inspections into the platform and has added new modules to support other programs and teams. The platform is particularly effective for HDOT’s Environmental Section because it supports task assignment, tracking and completion, which helps teams at multiple airports maintain standard processes and information.

When developing modules, the HDOT Environmental team customized various aspects. It created “rooms” within Veoci for each of the 15 airports, implementing workflows, data management and program management for project managers. “If you don’t have a good imagination, and you don’t ask all the right questions, then you might not get a product that can do everything that it’s capable of,” Paquette remarks.

The degree to which a team benefits depends on the time and effort invested, Paquette adds. “If the workflow and information you need is more complicated, you have to tie a lot of different aspects together. You have to keep at it, adding and building.”

The software includes mapping capabilities, which are crucial for tasks like tracking inspections in real-time and reviewing subsequent reports. The system also helps track assets, such as tanks and hazardous waste storage units, with unique identifiers for inspections and locations.

HDOT builds and customizes forms and workflows as needed for the Environmental Section and other teams throughout the department. Because Veoci supports public form submissions, HDOT uses that aspect to collect data from travelers and airport partners alike. For example, the Environmental Section leverages forms to help airport tenants and users report actionable spills. When a spill form is submitted, Paquette receives detailed information and assigns a corresponding task within a workflow. The assigned team member then takes action and follows up in Veoci to confirm that the spill has been cleaned up or otherwise addressed. If Paquette will be unavailable, she can temporarily route notifications to a designated backup person.

When environmental regulations change, HDOT can revise workflows and data collection to adapt accordingly.

Beyond the Environmental Section, HDOT airports are using the platform for FAA Part 139 inspections. On the airfield, personnel leverage the system to help track hazards, bird strikes, leaks, maintenance work orders and ARFF assets. The system also supports emergency and incident management, key custody receipting and property condition checklists (annual and check in/out).

Solving Issues

With the Veoci platform, there is a big emphasis on streamlining data management and enhancing collaboration across departments. By consolidating multiple data sources, the system is designed to eliminate the need for airport employees to search in various places for the information they need. The new integration also allows data to be imported from external sources, such as property management software, for a more collaborative and efficient work environment. “It makes life easy because everything’s all in one location,” Nguyen remarks. “It’s all standardized in the same kind of format, so we can use data from the different silos and make it useful in other processes.” For example, information from the database of spaces maintained by HDOT’s property management team is pulled through an integration so it can be used by the Environmental Section for inspections or by the Operations team. “If it’s in our system, they can grab it and make use of it in their process,” Nguyen says.

Automation is another key feature, significantly reducing manual tasks associated with inspections. The system saves considerable time for HDOT employees by generating standardized emails, notifications and reports. For example, post-inspection messages can be sent to trigger downstream follow-up or corrections; reminders can be issued for tasks that are still open and need to be resolved to ensure compliance. “They can go on to the next inspection rather than going back to their desk, writing up a report, writing up the emails—it’s all done for them,” Nguyen remarks. By eliminating the need to create templates or manually send reports and notifications, Veoci allows users to focus on the actual inspection activities and other fieldwork.

Previously, tenant and facility inspections required personnel to take pictures, upload them to a computer, create a Word document and pair each image with the corresponding information—a very time-consuming process. The Veoci platform streamlines inspection reports with templates customized for HDOT airports.  As users document information and capture photos, the system places them in the correct sections of the template. “We manage all that, so all they have to do is just put in the information on what’s wrong and what they’re inspecting,” Nguyen explains. “The system handles everything else for them.” The automation saves a considerable amount of time, especially given the Environmental Section’s hundreds of tenant and facility inspections per year and dozens of construction project inspections per month.

Veoci also helps HDOT track and manage key permit dates, asset milestones and employee training. The system automates reminders and notifications to support timely compliance and reduce the risk of human error. HDOT previously used reminders on Outlook calendars for inspections. “It’s no longer the responsibility of somebody to put the
next inspection date on the calendar,” Nguyen says.

The platform’s risk management function assesses and categorizes tenants based on inspection scores, helping set the necessary frequency of inspections and prioritize them as well. Airports and aviation departments are able to see which tenants are considered high-risk and learn why. “We know what items they failed at, how frequent they’re failing, and so on,” Nguyen explains. “We have all that stored in our system.” The ability to view tenant inspection data through various dashboards increases efficiency, allowing HDOT employees to spend more time in the field rather than performing administrative tasks, he adds.

To help facilitate environmental training, HDOT uses a customized online Veoci form that quizzes employees after they watch informational videos. If leaders notice incorrect responses in certain areas, they boost training about those subjects in the future.

Improved Reporting and Ease of Use

Prior to using Veoci, HDOT had a three-year audit cycle, and the team did not have sufficient documentation. The online system added in 2019 helps Hawaii’s state airports meet annual requirements. “It has brought us from nothing to being able to comply with any audits that we have,” Paquette says. “Everything’s at your fingertips.”

HDOT personnel can easily add information and maps to annual reports because the data already exists in the system. “You’re listing everything, you’re tracking everything, so it just pulls the list for you with whatever you want,” Paquette explains. The Environmental Section can also access data for permit audits. Storing data in Veoci eliminates the need for manual searches through file cabinets or network drives. Compared to the old way, Paquette considers Veoci better by leaps and bounds.

Each year, HDOT must produce a Tier II report on hazardous material storage at its 15 airports for the Hawaii Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Now, it can do that efficiently and accurately. “We’re able to pull every single asset for that right out of Veoci,” Paquette remarks.

Beyond helping pull information for reports, the Veoci system allows personnel to input and access key information from a variety of locations. Because data resides in the cloud, employees in the field can use tablets and mobile devices to enter information in the app, and it instantly appears on a colleague’s desktop at the airport. This provides HDOT with accessibility and flexibility it previously lacked. “A lot of our other programs that have applications are locked into having access to our own local intranet,” says HDOT Information Technology Specialist Rodelle (Delle) Butay.

While the Veoci platform can perform complex functions and display a myriad of information, it also can communicate simple summaries when needed. Dashboards can be customized so specific airport employees have navigation buttons and links only to tasks related to their duties, while department managers have those same links but also reports and graphic depictions of what tasks have or have not been completed, and what tasks are coming due. “We can create dashboards for every level of user so that way they just see what they need to see versus having everything on one,” Nguyen notes.

Integration Capabilities

The Veoci platform leverages REST API (an interface that uses the internet for secure data exchange between computer systems) or web services for integration. For HDOT, this provides a connection with some of the Department’s other software programs and allows data to flow back and forth through a standardized language. In some cases where integration is not possible, the Veoci system can pull data from legacy systems through generated exports, like Excel or CSV files. For example, a weekly scheduled job within an IT workflow created by Butay pulls data from HDOT’s property management system into Veoci, updating the platform’s database with the latest information and connecting that data with HDOT’s mapping. This assists with lease tracking and tenant inspections.

Another valuable integration for HDOT improves its notifications. Previously, the lightning alert system for its airports relied solely on emails. The Veoci platform integrates with that system and takes it one step further. Now, when HDOT sends standardized email alerts to its distribution list, Veoci automatically initiates a mass text notification to all stakeholders using the platform.


Everything the Veoci team builds in the platform is customized and can be changed or updated as needed. “That’s the beauty of our system,” Nguyen says. “We’re adapting to changes and use cases or feedback from the users themselves or even regulations.”

After a few years using the platform, Butay feels it has fulfilled HDOT’s needs. “I don’t think we’ve encountered any system limitations,” he remarks. “I think Alex [Nguyen] and his group have been able to find some solutions and met our needs.”

The only item Paquette says Veoci is missing is a way to incorporate the Environmental Section’s Microsoft calendar, but she considers that a minor issue.

A Learning Experience

Each section of HDOT chose how it wanted to set up and use the Veoci system. In retrospect, Paquette suggests taking a more holistic approach to create a comprehensive strategy so the platform can be used more efficiently and consistently across teams.

Having environmental consultants available has made a huge difference for the HDOT Environmental Section. When minor issues arise, like an error on a form, Paquette’s team relies on its consultants to address them quickly and prevent frustration for end users at the airports. “With the amount of small things that come up, you need someone that can fix those,” Paquette reflects. The team doesn’t typically contact Veoci unless it’s a bigger problem the consultants cannot resolve.

Butay says the broad-based experience of Paquette and her team has been crucial to the Environmental Section’s success with this IT solution. “They really know their processes,” Butay notes. “If they didn’t know what they’re doing, it would have been a lot longer as far as having to draw out requirements.”

Ongoing and Future Uses

Currently, the Environmental Section is mapping the airport storm drainage systems—complete with flow direction, photos of each structure and lifespan data to help determine replacement or repair needs. Building this module in the Veoci platform will allow collaboration with HDOT’s storm drain inspection contractor through a workflow and corresponding forms for drain inspection and cleaning.

In addition, Paquette’s team is using the platform to map all contaminated sites in its database and add workflows and forms for quarterly sampling of monitoring wells. It also plans to create a workflow and forms for the inspections and maintenance of petroleum tanks and inspections of oil and hazardous material storage, as well as used and waste product removal.

Depending on the complexity of a workflow, modules within Veoci can take several months or more to build. A construction management module for HDOT’s Environmental Section has been in the works for two years. “That’s our most complicated module, and we already have designers and contractors interacting with it,” Paquette notes.

Given her experience, she feels the sky is the limit for the online platform. “It’s endless,” Paquette remarks. “I think it’s endless as far as how it can help other airports.”


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