Leadership

Awards gala to honor feds’ public service innovation

From among 27 finalists for the prestigious Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals, the Partnership for Public service will award winning medals to seven federal employees and their teams at a gala Tuesday evening.

“These are not normal times for our nation’s civil servants. Yet, they continue to serve in extraordinary ways, and we need to recognize and celebrate their important work,” said Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service. “The 2018 Service to America Medal recipients represent the best in government, the dedicated, smart and innovative public servants who work tirelessly behind-the-scenes to serve the public interest.”

The awards are named after the Partnership for Public Service’s founder Samuel J. Heyman, who was inspired by President John Kennedy’s 1963 call to public service, and have honored federal employees for the past 17 years.

The seven winners were chosen by a selection committee comprised of industry experts, federal employee union officials, congressmen, academics and members of the media.

Dr. Daniel Kastner, scientific director of the Division of Intramural Research at the National Institutes of Health, will receive the top honor of the evening, the Federal Employee of the Year, for his work to uncover the genetic causes of seven rare diseases.

Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, associate director for Children with Special Health Care Needs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will receive the Career Achievement Medal for her research documenting developmental disabilities among children.

Karen Dodge, staff attorney at the Federal Trade Commission, and Margaret Moeser, senior trial attorney at the Department of Justice, will jointly receive the Homeland Security and Law Enforcement Medal for their leadership of parallel investigations that resulted in the world’s largest money transfer company admitting that it had allowed scammers to use its services to collect payments.

Andrew Herscowitz, coordinator for Power Africa at the U.S. Agency for International Development, and his team will receive the National Security and International Affairs Medal for their 117 electrification projects to provide power for more than 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa.

Marcella Jacobs, executive director for Digital Service at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and her team will be awarded the Management Excellence Medal for their work streamlining online services for veterans looking to apply for, track and manage their benefits.

Parimal Kopardekar, senior technologist for Air Transportation Systems at NASA’s Ames Research Center, and his team will be awarded the Promising Innovations Medal for their cross-agency efforts to design a traffic management system for commercial drone use.

Margaret Honein, director of the Division of Congenital and Developmental Disorders at the CDC, will receive the Science and Environment Medal for her asembly of a team that analyzed data on the Zika virus to establish guidelines and information for physicians and women impacted by the virus.

In addition to the seven committee-selected winners, Alison Smith, chief engineer for the Materials Analysis of Electronic Component Technologies at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, was voted on by the public to receive the People’s Choice award for her use of nanoparticles to mark sensitive military equipment to prevent counterfeit products making their way into Defense Department equipment.

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