Exceptional Federal Workers to Receive Prestigious 2015 Service to America Medals, the “Oscars of Government Service”
October 7, 2015
Inaugural People’s Choice Award to be Unveiled at 14th Annual Ceremony in Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON –The nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service will present eight Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (Sammies) on Wednesday, October 7 to public servants whose outstanding achievements have improved the lives of Americans and others around the world. The Sammies have earned a reputation as one of the most prestigious awards dedicated to honoring America’s civil servants and have come to be known as the “Oscars of government service.”
“Too often, the vital work of our nation’s public servants goes unnoted and unappreciated,” said Max Stier, Partnership for Public Service president and CEO. “The Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals recognize and celebrate the many exceptional federal employees who have quietly, proudly and passionately dedicated their lives to making a difference for our country—and our world.”
The top medal, Federal Employee of the Year, will be presented to Steven A. Rosenberg, chief of the surgery branch at the National Cancer Institute. Rosenberg has spent 40 years developing life-saving treatments that stimulate the immune system to attack cancer cells. He developed the first immunotherapies and gene therapies that proved effective in certain patients with metastatic cancers when other treatments failed.
Mia Beers and the U.S. Ebola Disaster Assistance Response Team from the U.S. Agency for International Development will receive the National Security and International Affairs Medal for leading the U.S. response to the 2014 Ebola crisis in West Africa and helping to turn the tide of the disease. Beers and her 40-person team arrived at the epidemic’s peak, putting their own health at risk as they undertook a massive cross-agency effort to stop the disease from spreading and protect health care workers operating in the hot zones.
Additional Service to America Medals will go to federal workers whose achievements include leading groundbreaking research on earthquakes, supplying people in developing nations with clean, efficient cook stoves, solving critical management challenges at the Department of Labor, reducing the use of antibiotics in poultry, helping private-sector companies and our government safeguard information systems, and repairing the transit infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
New this year is the Service to America Medals People’s Choice award, which will be announced at the ceremony. This is the first time the public was able to vote for the federal employee they think has made the most admirable contribution to the American people. All 30 Sammies finalists were eligible to win the People’s Choice award. The entire Sammies ceremony will be livestreamed from Washington, D.C. and viewable online at servicetoamericamedals.org, live from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. EDT.
The recipients of the fourteenth annual Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals are:
Adam R. Schildge, Call to Service Medal
Senior Program Analyst, Federal Transit Administration
After Hurricane Sandy triggered one of the worst public transportation upheavals in U.S. history in 2012, Schildge developed and managed a multi-billion dollar grant program to repair vital infrastructure and ensure its resilience in future catastrophes. He created a new way to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of proposed construction projects based on the probability of another disaster and whether rebuilt facilities could withstand the strike.
Edward C. Hugler, Management Excellence Medal
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Operations, Department of Labor
To keep the Labor Department running efficiently, Hugler has solved numerous management challenges, including securing sensitive economic data before its official release, rescuing the agency’s financial management system when the service provider declared bankruptcy, and leading the creation and growth of Benefits.gov, a one-stop resource that helps citizens access more than 1,200 government benefits and assistance programs.
Hyun Soon Lillehoj, Career Achievement Medal
Senior Research Molecular Biologist, Agricultural Research Service
Lillehoj, an international leader in animal immunology and genomics, has made pioneering scientific discoveries on treatments for commercial poultry that lessen the use of antibiotics and make it safer to eat poultry. She found that food supplements, probiotics, nutrients and vaccines can enhance an animal’s immune system and help fight parasitic diseases and bacterial infections that annually cost the industry billions worldwide.
Jacob E. Moss, Science and Environment Medal
Senior Advisor, Environmental Protection Agency
Moss, while on detail to the State Department for much of the past four years, conceived and helped lead the creation of an initiative to enable homes in developing nations to adopt cleaner, more efficient cook stoves and fuels to improve health and save lives. He was a central architect of an alliance of federal and international agencies, countries and corporations that have committed more than $800 million—including a U.S. government commitment anticipated to exceed $300 million—to meet a goal of improving 500 million lives in 100 million households by 2020.
Lucile Jones, Citizen Services Medal
Science Advisor for Risk Reduction, U.S. Geological Survey
Jones, an internationally known seismologist, has led groundbreaking research on earthquakes and built partnerships with government officials, engineers, public utilities, emergency managers and others to develop comprehensive depictions of the probable consequences of large-scale natural disasters. Her science has given government decision-makers the information they need to take preventive measures to protect citizens and critical infrastructure.
Mia Beers and the U.S. Ebola Disaster Assistance Response Team, National Security and International Affairs Medal
Director, Humanitarian Policy and Global Engagement Division, U.S. Agency for International Development
As Ebola raged through West Africa in 2014—killing thousands of people and devastating communities—a regional public health problem quickly intensified into a global crisis. Beers led a 40-person team and coordinated thousands of U.S. personnel from five federal agencies serving in Guinea, Liberia, Mali and Sierra Leone.
Ron Ross, Homeland Security and Law Enforcement Medal
Fellow, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Federal computer networks are under constant attack from foreign governments, malicious hackers and criminal organizations, which jeopardize national security, the economy, our personal and business information and critical government operations.Ross is helping private sector companies and our government secure information systems and fend off network intrusions by developing the first set of unified information-security standards and guidelines for all federal agencies—from the Smithsonian to the FBI—to provide better cyber protection and reduce costs.
Steven A. Rosenberg, M.D., Federal Employee of the Year
Chief, Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute
Until recently, patients diagnosed with advanced melanoma, lymphoma or other cancers faced a grim reality, because traditional treatments of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery were not enough to save them, and they had little time left to live. Rosenberg, a surgeon and researcher at NIH, has developed new approaches that cure 20 to 25 percent of patients with metastatic melanomas that are now being extended to patients with other cancers.
The Service to America Medal recipients were nominated by colleagues familiar with their work and selected by a committee that includes leaders in government, academia, the private sector, media and philanthropy. Nearly 500 nominations were submitted for consideration this year. For profiles and videos of the medalists, and to nominate a federal employee for a 2016 medal, visit servicetoamericamedals.org.
The Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals program is named in memory of business leader and philanthropist Samuel J. Heyman who in 2001 founded the Partnership for Public Service to revitalize our federal government and to inspire a new generation to serve. National sponsors for the 2015 Service to America Medals are Chevron and ConantLeadership.
The Partnership for Public Service is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that believes good government starts with good people. The organization works to revitalize the federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve and by transforming the way government works by strengthening the civil service and the systems that support it.