In January 2013, Nate Sassano began a new role as the Statewide Wellness Coordinator for the State of Colorado, and he immediately faced a challenge: his supervisors in the Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration (DPA) wanted him to create a new employee wellness program by July 1, 2013. Sassano had known that he would be responsible for crafting the initiative, but the rapid timetable surprised him. “My first thought,” Sassano later recalled, “was, ‘you didn’t tell me that in the interview, but we’ll get it done.’”1 Thus, Sassano quickly faced pressing questions. How should he setup and structure a program that would require collaboration among a wide array of State agencies and private sector stakeholders? How would he and DPA rollout the program in just half a year, and what should they prioritize? Once the program was launched, how would they scale it?
A Cabinet-level agency, DPA “provides centralized human resources, information, tools, resources and materials needed for the State of Colorado to function.” During the 2013- 2014 fiscal year, the agency had a $160 million budget, including a $60.2 million allocation for the Division o f Human Resources. This is the unit in which Sassano and the wellness program were based.