2012 Causey Awards Winner – Kevin O’Brien

Full interview - Kevin O'Brien, Human Resources Specialist at the Office of the Inspector General, SSA, talks with Federal Drive hosts Tom Temin and Emily Kopp

wfedstaff | April 17, 2015 3:57 pm

Kevin O’Brien
HR Specialist


Kevin O’Brien led SSA Office of the Inspector General’s telework initiatives. Before implementing this initiative, SSA/OIG only had between five to eight employees participate in telework. Through his efforts, the office progressed from five telework participants to more than 90 participants.

After establishing and coordinating a telework pilot project, in 2011 O’Brien led the effort to permanently establish a telework program within SSA/OIG. Through O’Brien’s innovative thinking, his outstanding interpersonal and communication skills, and his hard work, OIG has become a model for SSA to implement telework initiatives. O’Brien continuously looks at ways to improve the telework opportunities for our employees. He also continuously seeks ways to make the documentation, reporting and approval process of our telework program more efficient and effective.



Kevin O’Brien tells Federal News Radio the best piece of advice he ever received is to remember that work is “all about the people.”

Want to hear more from Kevin O’Brien? Listen to our full radio interview with the Causey Award winner in the “Listen” box above.

Judges’ Comments:

  • “This is a federal employee looking to do a great job and make a difference…”
  • “… Very impressive … The fact that Mr. O’Brien was able to build this program while conducting all of his other roles and responsibilities makes this nomination more impactful.”
  • “…Went above and beyond in his workload, as well as substantially improving telework.”


  1. My job title is Human Resources Specialist. My job title should be Human Resources Specialist.
  2. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? My internship coordinator in college told me it’s all about the people. At times in our careers we lose sight of fostering interpersonal relationships. I believe a final work product is more refined if people of varying backgrounds and experiences share their perspectives. Knowing the right people to accomplish a task is by far the most beneficial resource we are afforded, and communication with those people is the key to success.
  3. What is the worst piece of advice you have ever received? Don’t work for free. I can see the validity of this advice to avoid being taken advantage of, but not every effort in life needs to have a dollar sign attached to it. Sometimes giving a little extra effort can go a long way, even if that effort goes uncompensated in the short-term.
  4. Who has been your biggest role model, and why? My father is my role model. He passed away when I was only 12 years old. However, he instilled a strong sense of integrity in me that I carry to this day. Integrity is the value I hold in the highest regard, as no relationship is successful without the trust that comes from integrity.
  5. If I could do it over again, I would follow the same path, only travel more. I’m in a really good place in both my professional and personal life, so if I change the path the outcome may not be the same.
    O’Brien in studio with Mike Causey.
  6. If I could have one super power it would be the ability to fly. Given the traffic in this region, that would come in really handy!
  7. In my opinion, federal employment is an important spoke in the wheel of our economy.
  8. If you didn’t work for the federal government, what would be your dream job? My dream job would entail working in the executive office of a professional sports franchise. I am an avid sports fan and am fascinated by the business aspect of professional sports including personnel, finance, marketing and public relations. Professional sports typically play a major role in the economy of the city they represent, and I would love to play a part in that impact.
  9. What is the last book you read? “Man Alive” – Patrick Morley
  10. I’d rather be working from the beach.

Federal News Radio awarded six individuals with a 2012 Causey Award. Read more about each of the recipients.