Spotlighting true public servants during Public Service Recognition Week: Part 2
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Spotlighting true public servants during Public Service Recognition Week: Part 2

May 21, 2024

During Public Service Recognition Week 2024, the Partnership for Public Service shined a spotlight on dedicated individuals who work behind the scenes to serve their communities and country. 

To celebrate the invaluable contributions of public servants, I embarked on a journey to delve into the experiences, challenges and triumphs of four people making a difference in local government and the federal workforce.   

From seasoned civil servants to emerging leaders, my conversations with these individuals offer a window into the passion, commitment and resilience that define the essence of public service.  

Below, I profile two of these individuals. Read our previous blog post to learn about the others. 

Implementing landmark legislation 

Michael Hassett has been working at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for more than six years and currently serves as the NOAA Fisheries’ Inflation Reduction Act coordinator and strategic resource analyst.  

In this role, Hassett works with programs that offer grant opportunities to organizations and communities across the country to ensure they receive the funding and support they need to serve the public. Hassett also actively monitors that funding to make sure that the way it is being used aligns with the organization’s mission.  

Before starting at NOAA in 2017, Hassett was a Peace Corps volunteer in Tonga and AmeriCorps volunteer in Pittsburgh. These experiences exposed him to public service and inspired him to transition to the federal government following the completion of his doctorate.  

Hassett emphasized the underappreciated aspects of federal work, noting that positive achievements often go unnoticed.  

“Typically, the only time a federal agency will hit the news is if something has gone wrong. The front of The Washington Post isn’t, ‘every Social Security check hit the bank,’” he said.   

A meaningful interaction leads to public service 

Hassan Sheikh is the last individual I spoke to, and his insights and story wonderfully encapsulate the grit and passion of a true public servant. 

Sheikh currently serves as a health policy analyst for the Congressional Research Service, which provides nonpartisan research and analysis to members of Congress and their staff to inform the legislative process.  

He describes his position as “an authoritative objective and confidential expert for Congress on issues related to my policy areas,” and his specific focus is on Food and Drug Administration regulations on various medical products and public health emergency management.  

Sheikh’s motivation for public service stems from an encounter with a young woman during a trip to Pakistan, his birthplace, as a young boy.  

During the trip, he found himself complaining about everything that was different from his life at home. It was while he was headed to a mosque for prayer and was complaining he had to walk, not drive, that he encountered a young woman who had looked at him angrily and made him realize the things he was complaining about were things others around him would consider privilege. 

The experience stayed with Sheikh and still inspires him to do impactful work. While he realizes that “you can’t single-handedly change the world,” he believes in the ability of public servants to create change.  

A source of inspiration 

My conversations with these public servants were truly inspirational, and I feel honored to know them in some capacity. The opportunity to share their stories and remind the world of the value of government work is a true honor that has inspired me to consider a career in public service.  

So, to all the people who wake up every day with the motivation, drive and heart to serve others, thank you. Without dedicated individuals like you, this country would not run. Know that your work does not go unnoticed. 

Visit our website to learn more about Public Service Recognition Week 2024.

Mary Moser is an intern at the Partnership’s Communications team.

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