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BMV chief tells DePauw crowd agency is more efficient

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ron Stiver has given up on trying to predict what comes next in life.

The 1996 graduate of DePauw spoke to a capacity crowd Tuesday as part of the McDermond Center Lecture Series at the university.

In 2006, Stiver was appointed by Governor Mitch Daniels as the Commissioner of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) in Indiana. He took this position after having a steady job working for Eli Lilly and Company.

"I am not the type that adapts to change well," Stiver admitted. "There was a great deal of anxiety about leaving."

Since being appointed to his position, Stiver has changed the culture of the BMV. In the two years he has been Commissioner, the average visit time at a BMV branch has been reduced from 30 minutes, to just nine minutes presently.

"The most important part of the BMV experience for customers was to be able to get in and out quickly," Stiver said.

To accomplish this, customers now have the ability to set up an appointment so there is no wait at all. There are also new incentives to go online to register. The Governor now gives a $5 discount for people to use the online service. So what used to be six-percent of customers using the online service has now jumped to 25-percent.

Another aspect Stiver has looked at is security. In the post-9/11 world, there is more to worry about than just underage kids forging identification (ID). A couple of years ago, there was a big scandal where Indiana licenses were being forged. Recently, they have gone to a digital format that makes forgeries harder. Indiana is also one of 16 states that uses vertical licenses for people under 21 years of age.

"We went through nearly 5 million records and found over 200,000 people whose names didn't match with their pictures," Stiver said. "One guy had his face on 30 different licenses."

Last year, the BMV began partnering with car dealerships to make car registration a one-stop ordeal. This makes it more convenient for the person buying a car since they do not have to make a second trip to the BMV for car registration. Not all dealerships currently participate in this partnership.

Another way the BMV has upped its convenience is by adding a mobile unit that travels to places that have just experienced a disaster. It was up and running outside of the Student Union Building at DePauw Tuesday.

"[My wife and I] want to be able to tell our kids one day that we followed our hearts," Stiver commented on his change of occupations over the years. "It's not always the easiest thing to give up a solid career to follow your desire. [This experience] has been the most fulfilling three years of my professional life. I've given up trying to predict what comes next."

Stiver also admitted that next month, the BMV plans to announce that they will have a "myBMV" tab online. This function will be similar to other online sites that retain a person's information for easier and quicker access.

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