The 65th annual Arthur S. Flemming Awards celebrated the commitment and dedication of 12 federal employees who have served and contributed to the government. The winners—who include an Air Force major known for developing a maritime global surveillance system, a doctor pursuing medical strategies too risky for industry investment and a litigator dedicated to protecting human health and the environment—were honored at the George Washington University on Monday.
A professional organization called the Downtown D.C. Jaycees established the Flemming Awards in 1948 to honor employees who make exceptional contributions to the federal government. The awards are named after Arthur S. Flemming, a public servant and American government official who worked as the U.S. secretary of health, education and welfare during President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration.
Recipients are nominated by their federal agency and then selected based on their work performance and factors such as leadership, social equity support and their potential for continued excellence. More than 600 individuals have received the accolade to date.
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, present the award each year. The 2013-14 recipients work in the areas of science, engineering, leadership and management, law, social sciences and research. They represent agencies including the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Monday’s ceremony featured a keynote address from David Bray, chief information officer at the Federal Communications Commission and a 2012 Flemming Award recipient. Dr. Bray oversees the commission’s efforts to modernize legacy systems and transform technology partnerships.
“Public service is what we the people choose to do together. It includes all of us. It’s not just government workers, but people from all sectors, and it’s important to remember that the public has a chance to participate,” Dr. Bray said.
Dr. Bray called on this year’s winners to be brave leaders who embrace their sense of mission, step outside of expectations and lead others so that they become “insiders” bringing positive change to the federal government and across connecting sectors.
“Remember, you will always make more lasting change as an insider than as an outsider,” he said, paraphrasing the words an influential mentor once told him.
This year’s winners are:
Christopher B. Cornelissen, Naval Medical Center, U.S. Department of the Navy
Dr. Cornelissen was selected for his outstanding achievements as director of the Medical and Surgical Simulation Center while spearheading Navy Medicine’s efforts to develop the first health care simulation center combining cadaveric- and mannequin-based training.
Francesca Cunningham, Pharmacy Benefits Management Services, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Ms. Cunningham was selected for her leadership within the Center for Medication Safety, which, under her supervision, has grown from five to more than 19 staff members. Additionally, her vision and support of creative solutions has resulted in the development of innovative medication safety programs.
Christopher Genelin, Technical Applications Center, U.S. Air Force
Mr. Genelin was selected for his service in leading a joint team to provide planning, execution and management of national classified technical development programs. He also developed a first-of-its-kind persistent global surveillance system capable of operating in a maritime environment.
Suzanne Meredith Gilboa, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Dr. Gilboa was selected for her accomplishments as a research epidemiologist and outstanding leader working to protect and promote the health of pregnant women and babies. She leads a group of researchers and public health practitioners to better understand the causes of birth defects that can be changed.
Emanuel H. Knill, National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce
Dr. Knill was selected for his accomplishments in the field of quantum information science and engineering. He developed essential mathematical foundations for exploring the rules of quantum mechanics, which enable the development of computing devices with increases in information storage and processing capability.
Dmitry N. Kosterev, Bonneville Power Administration, U.S. Department of Energy
Dr. Kosterev was selected for his vision and technical guidance as an electrical engineer with the Bonneville Power Administration’s nationally recognized synchrophasor project, which is the only network in North America designed to take split-second control actions when it detects a problem on the electrical grid.
Robert J. Lederman, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Dr. Lederman was selected in recognition of his successful pursuit of new medical strategies too risky for industry investment. Among his numerous inventions, Dr. Lederman developed a non-surgical technique to tighten leaky mitral valves in patients with failing hearts.
Igor L. Medintz, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
Dr. Medintz was selected for his vision as a leading scientist in bionanotechnology. Understanding the biological functions at a single-cell level can lead to a better understanding of diseases and enable developments for new treatments.
Carole A. Parent, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Dr. Parent was selected for her achievements in the field of directed cell migration. Her contributions to defining the intricacies of single and group cell migration have advanced the understanding of the root causes of major public health challenges, including developmental defects, chronic infections, chronic wounds and various facets of cancer.
Thomas T. Perkins, National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce
Dr. Perkins was selected for creating new ways to precisely measure and manipulate the key molecules of life (DNA, RNA, proteins) under real-world biological conditions for the first time through programs combining atomic force microscopy, laser physics, molecular biology and advanced electronics.
Angeline Purdy, Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Department of Justice
Ms. Purdy was selected for her record of accomplishments in civil litigation as a senior attorney on behalf of the U.S. and its agencies. She successfully defended numerous government initiatives to protect human health and the environment, including the science underlying the Environmental Protection Agency’s determination that emissions of greenhouse gases endanger public health.
Kenneth L. Senior II, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
Dr. Senior was selected for his innovative contributions and leadership as a mathematician, engineer and section head of the Naval Research Laboratory’s Space Systems Development Department. Mr. Senior helped develop major advances in techniques and algorithms for time keeping, system synchronization and determination of precise GPS time.