The Partnership for Public Service has announced finalists for its annual Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (Sammies Awards).
The awards recognize federal employees who went above and beyond in 2012 to help advance “the health, safety and well-being of Americans.” This year, 31 feds (including 11 teams) were named finalists in eight categories.
Below, find information about the finalists’ accomplishments, as provided by the Partnership. Click on the links to be directed to a detailed profile of each finalist.
Over the next several months, Federal News Radio will interview each finalist about their work. Check back on FederalNewsRadio.com for the latest interviews and Q&As with the finalists beginning Mon. May 13.
Space Scientist National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Ames Research Center Moffett Field, Calif.
Led the design and operation of NASA’s Kepler space mission which discovered Earth-like planets as far as 1200 light years away, adding an impressive capstone on a 50-year career that began with the Apollo program.
Managing Director, Financial Markets and Community Investment Government Accountability Office Washington, D.C.
Provided Congress with impartial analysis and oversight regarding the nation’s financial regulatory system, issuing warnings about potential risks and making recommendations to improve the implementation of new laws and economic recovery programs.
Supervisory Meteorologist National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Center for Satellite Applications and Research Fort Collins, Colo.
Pioneered models to better forecast the path and intensity of hurricanes during the past three decades to help communities and first responders prepare for the severe storms, saving countless lives, homes and businesses.
Acting General Counsel Department of Education Washington, D.C.
As a federal legal adviser and litigator for more than four decades, improved education and helped ensure equal access for all students.
Citizen Services Medal Finalists
This medal recognizes a federal employee for a significant contribution to the nation in activities related to citizen services (including economic development, education, health care, housing, labor and transportation).
Quickly identified contaminated medicine as the cause of a major meningitis outbreak in 2012, and led the national public health response, alerting 14,000 potentially exposed patients and providing treatment information to the medical community.
Homeland Security and Law Enforcement Medal Finalists
This medal recognizes a federal employee for a significant contribution to the nation in activities related to homeland security and law enforcement (including border and transportation security, civil rights, counterterrorism, emergency response, fraud prevention, and intelligence).
Associate Director of Field Operations Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs Washington, D.C.
Developed and implemented an innovative law enforcement program that reduced the high violent crime rate on four Indian reservations by 35 percent, providing a model for other Native American communities.
Following the loss of millions of farm animals throughout England in 2001, developed a new, safer vaccine for foot-and-mouth disease to protect America’s livestock industry and prevent harm to our national economy.
Led a team of FBI agents and Alabama police that saved the life of a five-year-old boy who was kidnapped and held hostage by an armed killer for six terrifying days in an underground bunker.
Management Excellence Medal Finalists
This medal recognizes a federal employee for demonstrating superior leadership and management excellence through a significant contribution to the nation that exemplifies efficient, effective and results-oriented government.
Commissioner for Patents U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Alexandria, Va.
Led bold reforms that dramatically improved the speed and quality of patent examinations and approvals, helping incentivize new technologies and spur economic growth.
Kevin Geiss Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Department of the Air Force Washington, D.C.
Championed the safe use of alternative fuels to ensure energy independence for combat and support missions around the globe and reduced U.S. Air Force fuel and energy consumption, saving more than $1 billion in 2012 alone.
Harry Haskins and Team Deputy Associate Administrator for Investment Small Business Administration Washington, D.C.
Revitalized a moribund small business investment program, putting billions of dollars in the hands of entrepreneurs who created thousands of jobs since 2009.
Claire Votaw Director, Project Services Office Department of State Arlington, Va.
Developed a shared information technology network for American embassies and federal agencies operating overseas, saving money and reducing duplication.
National Security and International Affairs Medal Finalists
This medal recognizes a federal employee for a significant contribution to the nation in activities related to national security and international affairs (including defense, military affairs, diplomacy, foreign assistance and trade).
Disaster Operations Specialist U.S. Agency for International Development Washington, D.C.
Identified a looming humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa and coordinated a complex U.S. relief effort to help millions of people who faced starvation and death due to the worst drought in six decades.
Hamid Jafari Medical Officer Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, Ga.
Directed the global initiative that eradicated polio in India and is leading the effort to eliminate this crippling and potentially fatal disease in the final three countries where it persists.
Kenneth Linthicum Director, Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology Agricultural Research Service Gainesville, Fla.
Developed techniques to predict outbreaks of insect-borne illnesses and protect livestock and humans, including military personnel, from debilitating and life-threatening disease.
Collected and publicly shared data that revealed dangerous air pollution levels in Chinese cities, increasing public awareness of the health risks and causing the Chinese government to confront the issue.
Science and Environment Medal Finalists
This medal recognizes a federal employee for a significant contribution to the nation in activities related to science and environment (including biomedicine, economics, energy, information technology, meteorology, resource conservation and space).
Stopped the spread of a deadly hospital-acquired infection through the first-ever use of genome sequencing to identify the source and trace the transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, creating a groundbreaking model for the health care industry.
Josh Silverman Director, Office of Sustainability Support Department of Energy Washington, D.C. Discovered and led efforts to halt the release of more than one-million tons of the world’s most potent greenhouse gas from Energy Department facilities, the equivalent of taking over 200,000 cars off the nation’s roads every year.
Nora Volkow Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Md.
Demonstrated that drug addiction is a disease that changes brain function and created new strategies for treating patients with substance abuse issues.