Public Service Recognition Week

Recognizing the Outstanding Accomplishments of EPA’s Public Servants

By Acting Deputy Administrator Stan Meiburg

Every day, EPA employees work in offices, laboratories, regions, and communities across the country to protect public health and the environment we all share. Whether they are investigating pollution issues at the community level, conducting cutting-edge research on environmental health impacts, working behind the scenes on the legal aspects of rulemakings, advancing environmental justice, or carrying out activities that support all of these efforts – these public servants are on the front lines of environmental protection.

This week is Public Service Recognition Week, and there is no better time to congratulate our extraordinary colleagues whose efforts above and beyond the call of duty are being recognized and honored by entities beyond the agency.

This week, two members of the EPA family were named as “Sammie Award” finalists and are in the running for prestigious Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals. These awards, also known as the “Oscars of government service,” are a highly respected honor bestowed to individuals through a very rigorous selection process.

Photograph of David Hindin

David Hindin, a Senior Policy Director in OECA, is a finalist in the “Science and Environment” category. David leads EPA’s Next Generation Compliance initiative to modernize EPA’s enforcement program and take advantage of the latest technologies and innovations to more effectively find and fix pollution problems.

Photograph of Jessica Zomer.Jessica Zomer, an Attorney-Advisor in EPA’s Office of General Counsel, is a finalist in the “Call to Serve” category. Jessica is nominated for her exceptional work as the lead attorney supporting a regulation under the Clean Water Act that will reduce the amount of toxic pollution discharged by power plants into our nation’s waterways by over 1.4 billion pounds annually.

In addition, two of our EPA colleagues are receiving the prestigious Arthur S. Flemming Award, which honors outstanding federal employees who have between three and fifteen years of government service. The award is presented by the Arthur S. Flemming Commission and the George Washington University Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, in cooperation with the National Academy of Public Administration.

Dr. Gayle Hagler, an Environmental Engineer in EPA’s Office of Research and Development is being awarded for her leadership as an environmental engineer on the Village Green Project. Her project team developed an efficient, solar-powered monitoring platform that incorporates research-grade environmental sensors into a park bench structure that can be located anywhere – filling important data gaps in air monitoring and raising public awareness about air quality.

Photograph of Elliott B. ZenickAnd Elliott B. Zenick, an Attorney Advisor in the Office of the General Counsel is being recognized for his leadership in managing the EPA legal team that developed the Clean Power Plan’s innovative approach of providing states with wide latitude y in developing their own emissions reduction plans for carbon pollution from power plants.

These members of the EPA family have earned our warmest congratulations. All of them would say that their recognition is a symbol of the work done by all EPA employees to fulfill our mission of making our country healthier, stronger, and safer.  Kudos to David, Jessica, Gayle and Elliott for their great work!

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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Recognizing EPA’s Extraordinary Team of Public Servants

By Bob Perciasepe, Acting Administrator

This week is Public Service Recognition week, and as acting administrator at EPA, I wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge the extraordinary public servants I work alongside every day. Public service is a high calling. I know how keenly aware my colleagues are of the service they provide every day to our country. They are answering the call to duty and heeding the words of President Kennedy, “Ask what you can do for your country.”

Thanks to the hard work of the men and women who serve at EPA, the Agency has helped cut pollution and improve health benefits at a record level, while delivering more assistance and making more investments to help businesses and state and local governments meet health standards. In the 43 years since the EPA opened its doors, the American population has grown by more than 50 percent. During the same time frame, we have cut harmful air pollution by more than half. And as our country’s air, water and land have become cleaner, we have also seen our national gross domestic product (GDP) grow more than 200 percent since 1970.

We’ve developed and supported the most efficient and effective environmental enforcement programs in our history. We’ve advanced our science and our approaches to testing chemicals – and met challenges like Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Sandy and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill by helping to keep those regions clean and the people there safe and healthy. We’ve expanded our partnerships with local communities and tribal nations, and consequently, we’ve been able to target our resources more effectively to address the most pressing environmental problems they face. And we’ve doubled down on our own commitment to sustainability by dramatically cutting the Agency’s overall energy use, reducing our water use, and slashing greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 80 percent. That’s the equivalent of taking 21,700 cars off the road or planting more than 2.7 million trees.

EPA employees have also found innovative and unprecedented ways to address the complex environmental challenges – and tight budgets – Americans face today. For example, in 2011, EPA announced a new water technology innovation cluster in Cincinnati, a public/private partnership to develop and commercialize technologies to solve water quality challenges, encourage sustainable economic development and create jobs. Last year EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance announced the public release of an online mapping tool called NEPAssist to help make federal agencies conduct environmental reviews and project planning more efficiently and more effectively. And just recently EPA launched the Green Button on our Home Energy Yardstick. Now American homeowners can measure – and improve – their home’s energy efficiency using this free online energy-assessment tool.

This is exciting work, and you don’t have to take my word for it: Last week the Partnership for Public Service ranked EPA as third in innovation among large federal agencies, according to a survey they conducted of federal employees. In the many ways they contribute to EPA’s mission of protecting human health and the environment, my colleagues are remarkable public servants. I’m proud to work with them, and this week, to celebrate them.

About the author: Bob Perciasepe is Acting Administrator of the U.S. EPA.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.