By Kate Northrop
The Texas Lottery announced Thursday that its drawings supervisor, who helped lead her team to design the first "in-house" draw studio, was presented with a top industry award for her significant contributions to the lottery through her exceptional job performance.
Conchita Daniel, who is responsible for pioneering optimal traditional draw practices in the industry, received the 2021 Powers Award at the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) digital conference, NASPL DeskCon.
The conference was held virtually for the second year in a row due to COVID-19 precautions, which, on the other hand, gave plenty of reason to highlight Daniel's exceptional ability to adapt and lead the draw team during a time of uncertainty.
"The COVID-19 pandemic brought especially daunting challenges for the Texas Lottery draw team, and there was no one better suited to lead them than Conchita Daniel," Texas Lottery Executive Director Gary Grief said in a press release. "Understanding and addressing the safety concerns of her staff and thinking outside the box to split her team into two separate work groups, working tirelessly to maintain COVID protocols and dealing with vendors to make needed safety modifications — Conchita dealt with every challenge head-on. Most importantly, Conchita's leadership during this period meant that every Texas Lottery drawing occurred securely and with integrity. For these many reasons, I am proud to see Conchita's efforts recognized by NASPL and congratulate her on receiving one of this year's Powers Awards."
The Powers Awards are presented every year to recognize "the significant contributions lottery and lottery vendor employees have made through exceptional job performance," the Lottery explains. The award's namesake, the late Edward J. Powers, is known as the "Father of U.S. Lotteries" and dedicated over 25 years in the industry to help "define the most effective organizational structures that have become a blueprint for today's lotteries."
Daniel first joined the Texas Lottery in 2000. For over two decades, she held various responsibilities that include managing day-to-day operations and budgets, securing contracts with vendors, and crafting state government policies and procedures.
However, her most crucial work might arguably lie within her proven track record of completely transforming the well-oiled, traditional in-house lottery ball drawings that the Texas Lottery is known for.
Daniel led the draw team that designed the first "in-house" draw studio and orchestrated the big move from a small rented soundstage at a remote location to Lottery headquarters in Austin, where its daily drawings are currently conducted.
In April, she is set to lead the team in another big move, which will this time see the in-house draw studio relocated to a new, state-of-the-art location at a new headquarters building that is currently under construction.
In addition to overseeing the physical location and design of the draw studio, Daniel is credited for developing a robust, modern Business Continuity Program that serves as a model in the lottery industry. Daniel personally welcomed various members of the Texas State government to the drawing studio to hear about the procedures, and lottery drawings staff from all over the world toured the premises to learn from them.
Daniel currently manages a team of 17 employees who are responsible for the operation of the Lottery's eight different draw games, some occurring as many as four times a day, six days a week.