Federal Executive Boards Leadership Winners

Federal Executive Boards Leadership Winners

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Federal Executive Board Leadership Winners

Each year during PSRW, FEBs recognize high-performing Federal employees in their local communities and highlight innovative efforts that advance the missions of Federal agencies.  Award nominations are reviewed by distinguished panels of judges using criteria for a variety of categories, such as: Leadership, Customer Service, Community Service, Diversity and Inclusion, Distinguished Lifetime Achievement, Distinguished Military/Military Support, Extraordinary Contributions in the Accomplishment of Agency Mission, Administrative Support, and Law Enforcement.   

This year, we are highlighting the Leadership Category award winners that is open to all individual, civilian and military federal employees regardless of job title, grade, or rank. The criteria for the award is that Leadership was exemplified by the employee who, regardless of position, demonstrates the character and ability to influence and motivate others in accomplishing a major program and/or change that resulted in substantial contributions to improving service to the public. Nominees exhibit high levels of integrity, inspire trust, and exemplify dedication to public service. Accomplishments might include areas such as: empowering employees, mentoring and developing others, promoting creativity; facilitating collaboration; and building diversity. 

This year’s Leadership category winners span 22 FEBs from across the country and are highlighted below.

Janina Makuch

Management Analyst, Department of Labor

FEB Location: Chicago Federal Executive Board
Agency: Department of Labor

Ms. Janina Makuch has demonstrated outstanding leadership by spearheading a much-needed training program on administrative tasks. Ms. Makuch’s persuasive and encouraging character influenced administrative staff to collaborate with management to develop a 12-month Administrative Tasks Training. This program has resulted in enhanced and more efficient administrative operations in OSHA Region 5. 

Jennifer Roberts

Health Scientist, HHS National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

FEB Location: Cincinnati Federal Executive Board
Agency: HHS National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

In so many ways, Ms. Roberts is a model employee and leader. She is a leader based on the various formal leadership roles she fills. She is also a leader based on her analytical capabilities and broad chemical knowledge, knowledge that she readily shares. She is very much a people person and extremely approachable. And her colleagues do readily approach her for advice and assistance because they know the value of her opinion and that she is always willing to lend assistance. She is indeed a role model and inspiration to her colleagues. 

Eric Meaders

Reserve Management Chief (O-5), U.S. Coast Guard, Ninth District

 FEB Location: Cleveland Federal Executive Board
Agency: U.S. Coast Guard, Ninth District

Commander Meaders led Coast Guard District Nine’s Operation Vigilant Sentry, responding to the surge of migrants taking to sea in unsafe vessels due to socioeconomic and political unrest in Caribbean countries. He oversaw the District’s surge staffing for the 2023 responses to Hurricanes Idalia, Harold, and Ophelia plus the Maui Wildfire.  He is the expert on Reserve readiness and mobilization for District Nine including five Great Lakes, the Saint Lawrence Seaway, 6,700 miles of shoreline and 1,500 miles of international border. As a key figure in the Reserve Component Manager Pipeline Training, he ensures preparation and advancement of future Coast Guard leaders. He showcases excellence in federal service though personal involvement in veteran parades, educational outreach programs, and leadership forums. 

Lisa Keel

Associate Chief Nurse, Ambulatory Care, VA Veterans Healthcare Administration, VISN10, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System

FEB Location: Detroit Federal Executive Board
Agency: VA Veterans Healthcare Administration, VISN10, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System

Lisa Keel exemplifies the qualities of a transformative leaders who not only inspires excellence but also cultivates a supportive and inclusive work environment.  Through her unwavering integrity, steadfast dedication, and commitment to empowering and developing others, she continues to make a lasting impact on the healthcare programs she oversees and the lives of those she leads.

Dana Squires

Deputy Regional Inspector General, HHS Office of Inspector General

FEB Location: Kansas City Federal Executive Board
Agency: HHS Office of Inspector General

Dana Squires, a Deputy Regional Inspector General for Evaluation and Inspections in Kansas City, plays a significant role in HHS-OIG’s work identifying problems and recommending solutions to enhance the performance of government-run programs. Her work has, and continues to lead to, better protecting unaccompanied children who come to the United States from the southern border, improving Medicare and Medicaid program integrity, and developing the next generation of public servants.

Major Daniel “Frenchy” Bourgeois

Executive Officer, USAF Air Mobility Command 

FEB Location: Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board
Agency: USAF Air Mobility Command 

Maj Bourgeois showcased exemplary strategic leadership and initiative across various domains, including C2 modernization, Indo-Pacific Command enhancements, and the successful execution of the Mobility Guardian exercise, significantly influencing the Air Force’s operational readiness and joint force communication solutions. His efforts in event organization, strategic collaborations, policy development, and international defense program engagements not only improved the operational capabilities of the Air Mobility Command but also fostered international cooperation and policy improvements within the DoD. Through his dedication to volunteer work, public outreach, and personal development, including completing courses at Harvard University and leading numerous initiatives, Maj Bourgeois significantly contributed to community service, disaster preparedness, and the cultivation of leadership and operational efficiency within the USAF.

Ralph Branche

Senior General Engineer

FEB Location: New York Federal Executive Board
Agency: DOT Federal Transit Administration

As a seasoned transportation veteran whose career has included stints at multiple agencies within the U.S. Department of Transportation, Mr. Ralph Branche has played an integral role in ensuring that the Department fulfills its mission “to deliver the world’s leading transportation system, serving the American people and economy through the safe, efficient, sustainable, and equitable movement of people and goods.” Ralph is a Senior General Engineer in the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) New York City Office, with a career that spans three decades—the last 18 years with FTA. Ralph is responsible for overseeing the development and construction of some of the largest infrastructure projects in our nation’s history.

Jessica Holley

Assistant Federal Security Director, DHS Transportation Security Administration

FEB Location: Newark Federal Executive Board
Agency: DHS Transportation Security Administration

AFSD Holley started her career with TSA in August of 2004 and has since soared through the ranks. AFSD Holley has always strived to build an inclusive workspace.  She has assisted throughout her TSA career on several committees and interview panels, including but not limited to, promoting employees, and encouraging the advancement of all.  Ms. Holley is very driven to coach and mentor all to achieve growth and development in all aspects which displays effective leadership.  

Ligia Perkins

Material Planner, DoD Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support

City: Fresno, CA
FEB Location: Philadelphia Federal Executive Board
Agency: DoD Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support

Ligia Perkins epitomizes the type of employee a supervisor wants as a team member.  Not only does she see the value of building her own skills, but also the skills of her fellow teammates, the materiel planners. She has succeeded at supporting several of DLA Troop Support’s high visibility initiatives this year. She played an integral role in the Clothing and Textiles supply chain passing the Agency Management Review conducted by the Defense Logistics Agency. She also helped the Military Services make key support decisions during the Life Cycle Management review for Personal Protection Equipment.   

Dr. Sean Plasynski

Acting Principal Deputy Director, DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory

FEB Location: Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board
Agency: DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory

Dr. Plasynski is a shining example of executive governance and leadership in public service. He has been instrumental in ensuring America’s clean energy future for over three decades, providing cross-institutional management at NETL. In 2023, as the Acting Director of NETL, Dr. Plasynski effectively executed the overall planning and operational excellence required to fulfill NETL’s mission, and he played a crucial role in ensuring a smooth leadership transition to a new NETL Director in 2024. Dr. Plasynski has built strong relationships and collaborations with stakeholders and his management and guidance has helped establish NETL as a world-class research lab with unique capabilities and authorities. His extraordinary leadership has broken barriers by advancing cutting-edge programs and technologies, and increased NETL’s effectiveness, commitment, engagement, and results with collaborative partners for the American people. For these reasons, we are proud to nominate Dr. Sean Plasynski for the Excellence in Government Award for Leadership because he has empowered employees, facilitated collaboration, and built diversity in the workforce at NETL during his tenure as Acting Director in 2023. 

Leigh Lattimore

Supv. Environmental Engineer, EPA

FEB Location: Atlanta Federal Executive Board
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency

In addition to Ms. Lattimore’s supervisory role, she has serves as a mentor to multiple women, offering guidance, advice, and advocacy in the workplace. Ms. Lattimore has been instrumental in fostering the professional growth and development of aspiring female professionals in STEM, championing their advancement and success within the male-dominated environmental field. She strives to create a more supportive and equitable environment for women pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Ms. Lattimore has taken proactive steps to engage with schools and communities.

Dr. James McDonald

Senior Executive Senior Advisor, EPA

FEB Location: Dallas-Fort Worth Federal Executive Board
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency

Dr. Mc Donald, previously served as the Assistant Regional Administrator where is he led the mission support management operations for the Regional Office which in included 5 states and 66 federally recognized tribes. Dr. McDonald has been a member of the Senior Executive Service for more than a decade. Dr. McDonald holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Alcorn State University; Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies from the University of Maryland, University College; Master of Public Administration from the Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri-Columbia; Juris Doctor from the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida; Master of Arts in Human Resources from Webster University; and Ph.D. in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University. Dr. McDonald is a former chair for the Dallas Fort-Worth Federal Executive Board.  He is a member of the Board of Managers for the Mooreland Family YMCA at Oak Cliff, the African American Federal Executive Association, the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, the National Forum for Black Public Administrators, the 100 Black Men of America Greater Dallas Chapter, and life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.  

Hubert Brasseaux

International Space Station Increment Manager, NASA

FEB Location: Houston Federal Executive Board
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration 

Mr. Hubert J. Brasseaux is an exemplary leader, having dedicated his nearly 40-year career to the safety and success of our nation’s human spaceflight programs.  He began his career as a mechanical engineer supporting the Space Shuttle Program and has served in progressively more complex and significant technical leadership positions, culminating in his current dual role as Increment Manager and Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Requirements Integration Panel co-chair.  In both roles, Mr. Brasseaux sets high expectations for his team in areas of technical competence, mission cognizance, and collaboration, and has led NASA and the ISS Partnership in notable mission achievements over the years.

Jessie James Lee

Cybersecurity Manager, NAVY Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic

FEB Location: New Orleans Federal Executive Board
Agency: NAVY Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic

Mr. Lee performed his duties superbly as the 59510 Competency Supervisor and reported to the Local Competency Manager providing adequate processes, tools, and procedures to all employees and interns for supporting Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic Integrating Product Teams (IPT) and special projects.  He also provided Cybersecurity leadership and guidance to IPTs and special projects, supporting mission owners and the command’s overall objective.  Mr. Lee worked with division heads and IPT leaders to develop, mentor, train, and recruit some of the sharpest cybersecurity professionals to support unique requirements associated with IPT demand signals.  He also routinely met with over 28 cyber professionals to provide guidance for developing their teams, leadership skills, and technical expertise.  By engaging with senior leaders and experts throughout the command, Mr. Lee’s outstanding contributions improved Command cyber readiness and security within Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic and the Department of Defense Information Network. 

Ryan Roberts

Deputy Criminal Chief, Assistant United States Attorney, DOJ U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Oklahoma

FEB Location: Oklahoma Federal Executive Board
Agency: DOJ U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Oklahoma

After McGirt v. Oklahoma (MvO) and Oklahoma v. Castro Huerta (Castro) altered a century of settled expectations about tribal, state, and federal jurisdiction in Oklahoma, Deputy Criminal Chief Ryan Roberts played a transformative role in the unprecedented expansion of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Oklahoma. His professionalism, outstanding legal skills, and nurturing management style have allowed the office to more than double in size while remaining a place where employees feel valued and supported. Roberts has served as Ethics, Professional Responsibility, and Discovery Officer and currently supervises 16 AUSAs. His open-door approach to management and connections to law enforcement over his 20 years of federal service foster an inclusive work environment. The Indian county team thrives under his supervision.

Luther Gourdine (Master Sergeant, U.S. Air Force)

Senior Enlisted Leader, DoD Air Force Personnel Center, Force Generation Operations and Readiness Division

FEB Location: San Antonio “Alamo” Federal Executive Board
Agency: DoD Air Force Personnel Center, Force Generation Operations and Readiness Division

Master Sergeant Gourdine’s innovative approach to mentorship within his Division showcases his exceptional leadership and dedication to professional development. His creation of a four-tiered mentorship model, aimed at bridging the gap between military and civilian leaders, stands as a testament to his commitment to fostering growth and excellence within his team. This program, which aligns each tier with a civilian mentor to provide guidance on various aspects of leadership, has had a transformative impact on the Division’s performance resulted in earning 29 Squadron, 7 Wing, and 3 Headquarter Air Force awards, as well as two promotions.

Harrison Sumida

Supv. Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialist, DHS Customs and Border Protection

FEB Location: Honolulu Federal Executive Board
Agency: DHS Customs and Border Protection

Supervisor Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialist (SCBPAS) Harrison Sumida has displayed exceptional leadership skills that empower our workforce. SCBPAS Sumida consistently takes a proactive approach in developing new ideas and programs that enhance CBP’s ability to meet agency goals and mission. He is diligent, knowledgeable, proactive, dependable, detail oriented, positive, challenging, and motivating. His leadership attributes have led to an increase of seizures for the Port of Honolulu in fiscal year 2023: an increase of 79% of prohibited agricultural products, an increase of 82% of prohibited plant materials, and an increase of 46% of prohibited animal products. He has excellent rapport with all personnel and is proactive with increasing personnel performance by having open communication.

Pace Archibald

Assistant Federal Security Director-Screening (AFSD-S), DHS Transportation Security Agency 

FEB Location: Los Angeles Federal Executive Board
Agency: DHS Transportation Security Agency 

AFSD-S Archibald demonstrates amazing leadership skills and consistently leads his team to ensure the traveling public is protected from our adversaries. His participation in local diversity efforts along with his community service demonstrates that he believes in not just our mission, but in the true definition of public service, to support members of the community, make their lives better and their futures brighter. His diligent work deserves to be recognized for the FEB Public Service Leadership Award.

Edward “Ted” Bradley

Deputy Director, DOC National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Operations

FEB Location: Oregon Federal Executive Board
Agency: DOC National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Operations

Mr. Bradley is being recognized for helping lead NOAA’s Marine Operations out of the COVID pandemic and bring it back stronger than ever.  In true Ted fashion, engineering the solution to a people problem; your work in the roll out of a defined plan for rotations has had an immediate impact on the fleet, with results proving positive in both crew retention and DAS utilization.  Through leadership, engineering-ship, and friendship… the lasting impact of your work ensures NOAA will be able to meet their maritime needs well into the future.   

Shawn Matz

Acting Response Division Director and Operations Manager, DHS FEMA Region 9

FEB Location: San Francisco Federal Executive Board
Agency: DHS FEMA Region 9

Shawn Matz delivered exceptional leadership and resilience as both Acting Response Division Director and Operations Manager of FEMA Region 9. Shawn’s strategic acumen and unwavering dedication were instrumental in guiding the region through its most tumultuous period, marked by a historic 400% increase in Major Disasters and Emergencies. He managed various crises, including the devastating atmospheric rivers and winter storms across the Southwestern United States, Typhoon Mawar in Guam, Hurricane Hilary in Southern California, and the tragic Maui Fires. Furthermore, his proactive leadership was notably demonstrated in rapidly deploying a team to American Samoa for advanced evacuation planning in response to Ta’u Island’s volcanic activity, showcasing his capacity for swift and effective crisis management.

Melissa Winters

Branch Manager, EPA Pollution Prevention and Communities Branch

FEB Location: Seattle Federal Executive Board
Agency: EPA Pollution Prevention and Communities Branch

Melissa embodies trust, diligence, vision, and a focus on results, as illustrated by the very high regard staff have for her and the impressive quality and range of their achievements. Melissa is conscientious in considering staff needs and interests and has developed an extremely high level of trust with staff. Under her leadership, Melissa’s staff FY23 accomplishments include the especially speedy award of grants under the new Contaminated Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act Lands Assistance Program included in the FY23 Omnibus, implementing the new Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling program and achieving exceptional results in the Brownfields Program where 22 Region 10 communities were selected to receive $25M. Region 10 had the highest applicant success rate nationally—92%.