Who Are the Federal Employees of the Year?

The winners of the 2016 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals have been announced to honor federal employees who work to make a difference in their communities.

The Partnership for Public Service will present the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (Sammies) tonight in Washington, DC.

The winners of the awards are federal employees who work in various positions throughout the government, working to improve their communities and the lives of others.

The recipients of the 2016 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals are:

The top award, Federal Employee of the Year, will be presented to Paul McGann, Dennis Wagner, and Jean Moody-Williams, a team at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Each year, it is estimated that tens of thousands of U.S. hospital patients die because of medical errors and avoidable infections, costing hospitals billions of dollars annually and eroding patient trust in the health care system. This team created a unique public-private initiative to increase patient safety and reduce hospital readmissions. The results were an estimated 87,000 lives saved, 2.1 million fewer medical errors and $20 billion in cost savings.

Kathleen B. Hogan, deputy assistant secretary for the Department of Energy, will receive the Career Achievement Medal. In more than two decades in government, Hogan has overseen a number of pivotal national energy efficiency initiatives and new standards that will lead to 3 billion fewer tons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and save taxpayers a half trillion dollars.

Thomas A. Mariani, Jr., Steven O’Rourke and Sarah D. Himmelhoch of the Department of Justice will be awarded the Homeland Security and Law Enforcement Medal. This team led the government’s five-year, landmark case against BP for the massive 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In litigating the case, the trio secured for the Department of Justice and five states a record-breaking $20.8 billion settlement, the government’s largest-ever civil penalty against a single defendant. It will help redress the devastating environmental and economic damage caused to the Gulf Coast region.

Kirk Yeager, chief explosives scientist for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, will receive this year’s National Security and International Affairs Medal. Yeager has assisted with virtually every high-profile bomb attack in the past several years, including bombings in European cities this past spring. As the FBI’s premier bomb expert, Yeager leads U.S. and foreign law enforcement to determine how terrorist-made explosives work and finds new ways to detect and stop them.

The Science and Environment Medal will be presented to Jaques Reifman and the APPRAISE team at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. Undetected internal bleeding is the greatest risk to the lives of seriously wounded soldiers, yet taking vital signs does not supply all the information medics need to figure out if someone is in critical condition. Reifman led the team that created a first-of-its-kind, portable computer system to detect internal bleeding quickly and accurately during emergency transport. It enables medics to treat patients appropriately and alert trauma centers to get ready to provide immediate blood transfusions to save these patients’ lives.

The Call to Service Medal will be awarded to Tate A. Jarrow, special agent for the U.S. Secret Service. Jarrow played a vital role in two of the government’s biggest cybercrime cases, and helped bring to justice individuals involved in computer hacking, stock manipulation, credit card fraud, money laundering and other illicit activities.

This year’s Citizen Services Medal will be presented to Lisa M. Jones, program manager for the Department of the Treasury. Jones stood up and now directs a long-term bond program that has resulted in $852 million in loans to low-income communities since 2013. The loans have financed small businesses, affordable rental housing, day care centers, senior living facilities, charter schools and health care facilities. The game-changing program is set up to function at no cost to taxpayers.

The Management Excellent Medal will be presented to William Gregory Burel, director of the division of Strategic National Stockpile at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Burel expertly manages the $7 billion repository of critical medication and supplies available to supplement state and local resources during a public health emergency. He has led 10 large-scale and more than 30 smaller emergency deployments, from an influenza pandemic to the Ebola crisis.

Celebrating its 15th anniversary, the Service to America Medals, also known as the “Oscars of government service,” are the premier awards dedicated to celebrating our nation’s civil servants.

The entire awards ceremony will be streamed live from Washington, D.C. and can be seen online at servicetoamericamedals.org from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. EDT.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.