Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement finalist: Mitchell Zeller
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Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement finalist: Mitchell Zeller

May 4, 2022 | Updated on May 17, 2022
Henry Katz

During Public Service Recognition Week 2022, the Partnership is spotlighting some finalists in each award category for this fall’s Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals® program.

Today, we are focusing on the Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement category, which recognizes a federal employee who has led significant and sustained accomplishments throughout a federal career of 20 or more years.

One of this year’s finalists is Mitchell Zeller, the director of the Center for Tobacco Products at the Food and Drug Administration. Throughout his distinguished career, Zeller has directed the federal efforts to regulate the marketing and accessibility of tobacco products that can cause death and disease, instituting policies that cut back on cigarette usage and save lives.

What’s your best career advice?

Be curious and ask questions. Stretch yourself when it comes to seeking new opportunities. Find opportunities to work with more senior people who you admire. Learn from your mistakes and from the mistakes of others. Always keep the emphasis on the team and the team effort. Do not forget to laugh and have fun.

What’s one fun or surprising thing we should know about you?

I will be resuming taking instrumental lessons on the vibraphone.

Who is your favorite public servant?

My favorite public servant is author David Kessler.

What is your favorite thing about working for the U.S. government?

What I love about working for the U.S. government is the opportunity to work with great people on public health issues that can make a positive difference in people’s lives.

What object would you save if your house were on fire?

I would save the Yuban coffee can that I always put new coffee in because the can is a memory of my mother.

Do you have pets?

We are grandparents to Poppy, the Irish doodle who belongs to our daughter and son-in-law.

What are you reading, watching or listening to?

I am currently reading “11/22/63” by Stephen King, currently watching the British police procedural “DCI Banks” and currently making my way through a four-CD collection of Lionel Hampton. The collection includes nine albums recorded between 1951 and 1958.

What’s your favorite takeout order or favorite thing to cook?

My favorite takeout order is Peruvian chicken from Poyoteca.

Be on the lookout for more profiles of our Sammies finalists during Public Service Recognition Week 2022. To learn more about Mitchell Zeller and our other Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement honorees, visit our Sammies website.

Henry Katz is an intern on the Partnership’s Communications team.

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