PARTNERSHIP FOR PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCES 2020 SERVICE TO AMERICA MEDAL FINALISTS

May 3, 2020

WASHINGTON – The nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service today announced 27 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal (Sammies) finalists for 2020 – outstanding federal employees who serve the public good and are addressing many of our country’s greatest challenges.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has vividly demonstrated how important an effective government is to our safety and welfare,” said Max Stier, the Partnership’s president and CEO. “The 2020 Service to America Medal finalists represent the many extraordinary career public servants who are making our lives better. It is vital that we take the time to recognize and celebrate these exceptional individuals.”

The Service to America Medals have earned a reputation as the premier awards program recognizing America’s best in government. The 2020 finalists include Dr. Anthony Fauci, who for decades has served as the government’s premier expert on infectious diseases and provided critical health care information to the public and government officials on HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Zika, SARS, MERS, swine flu and most recently COVID-19.

Other finalists’ achievements include conducting breakthrough scientific research documenting how the melting ice in the Arctic and Antarctic oceans has played a significant role in climate change and adversely affected animal life; leading the nation’s response to life-threatening lung injuries among young people caused by vaping; creating an innovative program for large financial institutions to provide management and technical assistance for small and minority-owned banks; and developing threat assessment guidelines to help law enforcement and educators intervene and prevent possible mass shootings in schools, workplaces and public spaces.

This year’s achievements also include making important recommendations to improve helicopter flight safety and save lives; conceiving and developing vital telehealth options, mobile apps and digital services for veterans to receive health care; shaping the complex legal and policy issues involved in imposing sanctions against dozens of human rights abusers worldwide; and discovering and developing a treatment for the Ebola virus.

A list of the 27 Service to America Medal finalists is attached.

On Thursday May 7 at 7:00 pm EDT, the Partnership and Axios are teaming up with CNN’s Anderson Cooper and bestselling author Michael Lewis for a virtual event to recognize the 2020 Service

to America Medal finalists. Register to receive the livestream link prior to the event: https://sammies2020.splashthat.com.

The finalists are contenders for six Service to America Medals, including the Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement medal. Other medal categories include Emerging Leaders; Science and Environment; Safety, Security, and International Affairs; Management Excellence; and Federal Employee of the Year. Medal recipients will be announced in fall 2020.

All 27 finalists also are eligible for the Service to America Medals People’s Choice Award. Beginning Sunday, May 3 at 6 pm ET, members of the public can vote online for the federal employee they believe has made the most significant contribution to the American people. The People’s Choice winner will be announced in the summer.

In addition, the Partnership will present its third annual Spirit of Service Award, which shines a spotlight on individuals outside the federal workforce who have made significant contributions to public service. This year, the award will go to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who is widely recognized as a mission-oriented leader committed to finding ways for technology to improve government’s interactions with individuals and businesses. Under his leadership, Microsoft has significantly expanded federal services through responsible artificial intelligence, cloud computing and predictive analytics.

The Service to America Medal recipients will be chosen by a prestigious committee that includes Patrick Gallagher, chancellor at the University of Pittsburgh; Samantha Bee, host and executive producer of “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee”; Richard Plepler, founder & CEO of Eden Productions; Tom Ross, president of the Volcker Alliance; Mark Rosenberg, president of the Florida International University; Michael Lewis, author; Rep. Lauren Underwood of Illinois; Rep. Bill Huizenga of Michigan; and additional leaders from government, the media, academia, the private sector and the philanthropic community.

The premier sponsor for the 2020 Service to America Medals include Mrs. Ronnie F. Heyman and family.

Renamed the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals in 2010 to commemorate the organization’s founder, the program has honored more than 500 outstanding federal employees since its inception in 2002. More information about the program and the 2020 finalists is available at servicetoamericamedals.org.

During the past 19 years, the nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service has been dedicated to making the federal government more effective for the American people. We work across administrations to help transform the way government operates by increasing collaboration, accountability, efficiency, and innovation. Follow us on social @RPublicService and subscribe today to get the latest federal news, information on upcoming Partnership programs and events, and more.

2020 SAMMIES FINALISTS

Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement category 

This medal recognizes a federal employee for leading significant and sustained accomplishments throughout a federal career of 20 or more years. 

Cecilia M. Coates
Department of State
Arlington, Virginia
Created and runs a state-of-the-art global supply chain management system that provides $10 billion worth of goods and services every year to diplomats and other federal employees serving the United States overseas. 

Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland
Served as the government’s premier expert and spokesperson on infectious diseases during six presidencies, including taking a prominent role in seeking to protect the public from the highly contagious and deadly new coronavirus that swept through the country and the world in 2020. 

Claire L. Parkinson, Ph.D.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Greenbelt, Maryland
Conducted cutting-edge scientific research over four decades documenting changes in the ice covers in the Arctic and Antarctic oceans and how they have played a significant role in climate change and adversely affected animal life. 

Ira Pastan, M.D.
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland
Discovered a new class of drugs that can successfully treat a rare form of leukemia and hold promise to be effective therapies for pancreatic and lung cancer as well as mesothelioma. 

Jon Michael Seward
Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
Washington, D.C.
Successfully brought lawsuits nearly 30 years against banks to ensure that tens of thousands of people living in underserved and minority communities could gain access to credit. 

Elizabeth J. Warner, Ph.D.
Department of Education
Washington, D.C.
Engaged in groundbreaking, evidence-based research for two decades that has led to the adoption of new K-12 teacher training and recruiting practices, improving instruction for students in disadvantaged communities and throughout the nation.

Emerging Leaders category 

This medal recognizes young federal employees, under the age of 35, who have made an important contribution early in their professional career. 

Mark Andrew Braza and the Aircraft Carrier Refueling Complex Overhaul Cost Reduction Team
Department of the Navy
Washington, D.C.
Led the planning and contracting for the multibillion-dollar overhaul of the USS John C. Stennis, saving tens of millions of dollars and ensuring the nuclear aircraft carrier will play  a critical national security role for the next 25 years.

Monica Ager Jacobsen
Department of State
Washington, D.C.
Played a crucial behind-the-scenes role shaping the complex legal and policy issues involved in imposing sanctions against dozens of human rights abusers worldwide. 

Vikram Krishnasamy, M.D.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, Georgia
Established a training program and communications network to help local public health officials deal with the opioid epidemic, including coordinating outreach to patients when law enforcement arrested medical professionals for illegal conduct.

Andrew Laurence, Ph.D. and Shannon Ferguson, Ph.D.
Customs and Border Protection
Chicago, Illinois
Provided critical information to help law enforcement solve hundreds of drug smuggling cases and other crimes by analyzing microscopic pollen grains to determine where drugs were produced, and the routes taken, as well as the travel histories of crime victims. 

Chihoon Shin
National Transportation Safety Board
Washington, D.C.
Recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on helicopter safety, having investigated numerous crashes and made important recommendations to prevent future mishaps and save lives.

Management Excellence category 

This medal recognizes a federal employee or team for a significant accomplishment that exemplifies efficient, effective and results-oriented government. 

Matthew C. Eanes
Inter-Agency Performance Accountability Council, Office of Personnel Management
Washington, D.C
Helped lead the government’s efforts to shrink the enormous backlog of federal background investigations and designed the most comprehensive reform of the process in 60 years.

Neil C. Evans, M.D., Kathleen L. Frisbee, Ph.D. and Kevin Galpin, M.D.
Department of Veterans Affairs
Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, Georgia
Developed vital telehealth options, mobile apps and digital services for veterans to receive health care virtually, while removing barriers to implementation through policy, regulatory and administrative changes.

David E. Gray
Federal Aviation Administration
Washington, D.C.
Expertly managed the government’s transition of the National Airspace System from ground-based radar to satellite tracking of aircraft, making flying safer and more efficient.

Corvelli A. McDaniel and Lorraine Cole, Ph.D.
Department of the Treasury
Washington, D.C.
Created an innovative program for large commercial financial institutions to provide management and technical assistance to help small and minority-owned banks strengthen their balance sheets and better serve low income communities.

J. Christopher Mihm
Government Accountability Office
Washington, D.C.
Provided Congress and the executive branch with nonpartisan, fact-based information and recommendations to curb tens of billions of dollars in fraud, waste, and abuse, and improve federal agency performance.

Safety, Security and International Affairs category 

This medal recognizes a federal employee or team for a significant accomplishment in fields such as counterterrorism, civil rights, defense and military affairs, diplomacy, foreign assistance, trade, consumer protection, cybersecurity and emergency preparedness and response. 

Lina Alathari, Ph.D.
U.S. Secret Service
Washington, D.C.
Developed threat assessment guidelines and worked with law enforcement, educators and local communities to intervene and prevent possible mass shootings in schools, workplaces and public spaces.

Thomas Debass
Department of State
Washington, D.C.
Created public-private partnerships to advance America’s foreign policy interests while promoting economic growth and entrepreneurship in developing nations across the globe.

Donna F. Dodson
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Gaithersburg, Maryland
Recognized as one of the nation’s premier cybersecurity experts, having helped develop the first commercially available encryption standards as well as state-of-the-art guidelines for government and industry to prevent, detect and respond to cyberattacks.

Christopher M. Janczewski, Zia M. Faruqui, Kimberly A. Reece and the W2V Team
Internal Revenue Service; Department of Justice; Homeland Security Investigations
Washington, D.C.; Colorado Springs, Colorado
Led an international criminal investigation of the largest dark web child pornography site that accepted cryptocurrency to cloak more than one million video downloads, resulting in the arrest of the operator, more than 330 users and the rescue of 25 exploited children.

John M. Melle, María L. Pagán and team
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
Washington, D.C.
Coordinated complex negotiations with Mexico and Canada, resulting in a $1.3 trillion trade agreement overwhelmingly approved by Congress that touches almost every aspect of the U.S. economy.

Thomas W. Prevoznik, Joseph Beemsterboer, Gary Cantrell and the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force team
Drug Enforcement Administration; Department of Justice, Criminal Fraud Division; Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General
Arlington, Virginia; Washington, D.C.
Investigated and arrested 73 healthcare professionals and other individuals in six states for the unlawful distribution of 40 million medically unnecessary pain pills, helping address the deadly nationwide opioid epidemic. 

Science and Environment category 

This medal recognizes a federal employee or team for a significant accomplishment in fields such as medicine, economics, energy, information technology, space, meteorology and resource conservation. 

Peter A. Briss, M.D. and the 2019 Lung Injury Response team
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, Georgia
Identified the chemical compound in vaping products that caused life-threatening lung injuries among young people, communicating the danger to public health and saving lives.

Beth Ripley, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Veterans Affairs
Seattle, Washington
Created an interconnected, hospital-based 3D printing network that is assisting health care providers with medical procedures, reducing unnecessary surgeries and helping improve quality of life for veterans.

Donna J. Shaver, Ph.D.
National Park Service, Padre Island National Seashore
Corpus Christi, Texas
Championed the conservation and recovery efforts for the endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, helping save the species from extinction by protecting and preserving the nests at Padre Island National Seashore.

Nancy J. Sullivan, Ph.D.
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland
Discovered a highly effective medication for the deadly Ebola virus now awaiting federal approval, providing the ability to treat patients with this highly contagious disease that has ravaged African countries.

John F. Tisdale, M.D., Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D. and the Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics team
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland
Pioneered innovative research that could lead to a cure for sickle cell disease, an illness that affects more than 20 million people worldwide.

Publication Type: News Release