ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Aberdeen Proving Ground civilians and Soldiers enhanced the installation's reputation as a center of excellence in technical as well as non-technical arenas during the annual Excellence in Federal Career awards program held in Baltimore in May.

Hosted by the Baltimore Federal Executive Board (FEB), the annual event - held during national Public Service Recognition Week - highlights extraordinary contributions made by service members and government civilians during the past year. Supervisors from federal agencies around the region submit nominations weeks in advance and a Blue Ribbon Panel of judges determine if the nominees' actions warrant bronze, silver or gold awards.

Of 241 total nominations, APG civilians brought home 95 awards in 15 categories; 56 bronze, 31 silver and 8 gold. The awardees hailed from 14 different APG organizations.

Richard H. Howell, executive director of the Baltimore FEB hosted the event which featured music by the Baltimore Area U.S. Coast Guard color guard.

"The federal employees and military service members whom we honor today are indeed the best of the best," said Dr. Reginald F. Wells, FEB chair and deputy commissioner of Human Resources with the Social Security Administration in his welcome message. "We are proud of the extraordinary contributions of each one of our gold, silver and bronze award winners. They are the pride of their agencies, their communities and the nation, [and] we are truly honored to recognize their unique contributions."

For more information about the Baltimore Federal Executive Board Excellence in Federal Career Awards, visit the Baltimore FEB website at http://www.baltimorefeb.us/

Gold awardees from APG included Dr. Peter Emanuel, Edgewood Chemical Biological Center; Dawn K. Beeghley, U.S. Army Evaluation Command (Aberdeen Test Center); Molecular Pathology Team, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense; Doris A. Lowe, U.S. Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity; Jody B. Jackson, ATEC; Henderson E. Mitchell III, AMSAA; Jesse L. Meerdink, ATC; and Tamara C. Otto, MRICD.

Read their stories below.

2013 Excellence in Federal Career Gold Awards

Category 1A-Outstanding supervisor, GS-13 and above
Dr. Peter Emanuel, ECBC

Emanuel leads the biological research laboratories at ECBC in the areas of biological detection and decontamination. As BioSciences Division Chief, he is as equally concerned about the work environment as the research products they produce. Aimed to help fuel and promote a creative, happy and healthy work environment for his division, as a supervisor, he has conducted frequent climate surveys, implemented scientific journal clubs, community bulletin boards, fitness challenges, and an annual scientific colloquium called Coffee with Colleagues, which gives young researchers a first opportunity to present posters in a low stress setting. Emanuel's focus on innovation and invention has garnered numerous awards and his dedication to the mission, commitment to innovation and long history of technical contributions are a credit to the Department of Defense and serves as an example to those working alongside him protecting the nation through the application of science and engineering.

Emanuel said he was "truly honored to be recognized."

"The credit really goes to the talented group of scientists I work with every day, who help make my job that much easier," he said. "I knew when I returned from Washington D.C. to the labs at Edgewood it would be important to try new ways to motivate and lead that would resonate with the new workforce. To continue to be forward-thinking we must try new things and take risks, and our Technical Director, Joe Wienand, has nurtured an environment in which our staff is encouraged to be innovative.

"[This] is the kind of place where great ideas and exceptional work thrive and I think that is why you see such high-quality work coming out of ECBC. As I approach my twenty-year mark as a federal employee I'm also thankful for the opportunities to learn, create and mentor that I have been offered as a scientist for the Army. I'm so lucky to have a job that I truly love, and that I get to come to work every day with such talented individuals. I'm proud to be serving such an important mission."

Category 2B-Outstanding Professional (Administrative Management & Specialist)
Dawn K. Beeghley, ATC

As a budget analyst for ATEC's Aberdeen Test Center, Beeghley has demonstrated outstanding technical aptitude towards fiscal law, budget operations and procedures.

In April 2012, ATC implemented the Army's new financial system, General Funds Enterprise Business System (GFEBS). As the GFEBS lead for ATC, Beeghley had the primary responsibility to communicate, train and lead the entire organization during deployment activities.

This included but was not limited to: organizing and assigning roles to more than 600 contractor and civilian employees; leading efforts to track and monitor training efforts; communicating to personnel at directorate and command-level meetings; organizing teams to discuss and implement business process changes; providing support and organizing Test Officer hands-on training; implementing transition activities to move all activities from the legacy financial system to GFEBS; developing approval workflows for purchasing; trouble shooting system and training issues; developing job aides for the command; and all other aspects of implementing the new financial system.

Category 3C-Outstanding Para-professional (Non-supervisory) Administrative Management Analyst, GS-8 & above

Doris A. Lowe, AMSAA

As an AMSAA budget analyst, Lowe made significant technical contributions and achievements in budget and finance which supported numerous organizational challenges. Lowe is recognized for her sustained, exceptional performance as AMSAA's technical lead for the transition from the Legacy Standard Operation and Maintenance Army Research and Development System finance and accounting system to the Army's new General Fund enterprise Business System (GFEBS). Her outstanding technical leadership cut across the full breadth and depth of GFEBS to include: overall implementation and operating strategy; determination and tracking of GFEBS functional roles and training requirements; organizational financial/funds structure; Cost Center and Work Breakdown Structure setup; and extensive research to address numerous system errors since GFEBS was not optimized for financial operations within the Army's research and development community. Lowe kept AMSAA in the forefront of GFEBS fielding by asking questions, raising issues and solving problems; this led to better implementation for all R&D organizations. She is also recognized for her extensive contributions with numerous financial adjustments associated with AMSAA's realignment as a Separate Reporting Activity under the Army Materiel Command within the same timeframe. Lowe's efforts led the way for AMSAA's financial system transition and realignment action throughout 2012.

Lowe said she was "very surprised and honored to be chosen,"

"I think the best part is knowing that my superiors thought highly enough of my work and efforts to take the time out of their busy schedules to nominate me," she said. "So many times, we struggle through challenging times - and the GFEBS conversion was definitely one of those - and feel that our efforts [go] unnoticed.

"Even though I was the lead on the GFEBS conversion for AMSAA, I could not have accomplished the transition without the help of my coworkers. We workwell as a team and they deserve a lot of the credit."

Category 4B-Outstanding Administrative Work, Group or Team
Molecular Pathology Team, MRICD

The Molecular Pathology Team is a unique collaboration of scientists and technicians who are DA civilians and Soldiers. Through synergistic technical interactions, they have been able to make great strides in the characterization of nerve agent poisoning. These insights have resulted in multiple successful grant submissions and have begun to identify multiple therapeutic targets for pharmacological development. Further development may yield therapies to help protect Soldiers and civilians from the deleterious effects of nerve agents. The team has a strong commitment to mentoring and fostering future scientific leaders. With their diverse yet complimentary backgrounds, this group has taken a co-mentoring approach to broaden the educational experience and provide multi-disciplinary training for Soldiers, students and post-doctoral associates.

According to MRICD public affairs, Drs. Robert Kan, Heidi Hoard-Fruchey and Erik Johnson lead the Molecular Pathology Team. Team members include Catherine Braue, Cristin Rothwell, Thuy Dao, Sgt. Stacey Swayze, Specs. Wei Nie and Kevin Laitapaya; post-doctoral associate Dr. Echepchumba Yego; and Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) interns Jessica Leuschner, Shane Kaski, Darryl Glotfelty, James Irwin, Chris Hofmann and Michelle Guignet.

The award recognizes the group's contributions and accomplishments in understanding nerve agent toxicity, pathology progression and potential treatment mechanisms, their mentorship of future scientific leaders and their community service.

On behalf of the team, Dr. Johnson stated that they were "honored to be recognized for our continued research efforts into nerve agent poisoning, therapeutic development and mentorship of our young scientists."

"None of this would have been possible without the ongoing support of our military leadership and scientific colleagues," he said. . We are especially grateful for our ORISE interns for their hard work and dedication to the mission. [They] help keep the Molecular Pathology team highly productive and innovative."

Category 8A-Volunteer Service, Individual
Henderson E. Mitchell III, AMSAA

An AMSAA electrical engineer, Mitchell has made significant contributions in community service. This includes [providing] mentoring, tutoring and life skills development through local partnerships established with Edgewood High School; the Omega Psi Phi organization; the Edgewood Windsor Valley Community Center; and the Maryland National Guard's Freestate ChalleNGe Academy. Mitchell has made outstanding contributions, not only in support of the AMSAA technical mission, but as a significant and vital contributor to organizational outreach efforts to the local minority community. These efforts include being a founding member of a number of outreach initiatives and providing the opportunity for minority Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) talent to join the organization. More importantly, he has directly mentored other minority youth to develop goals, define futures, and pursue careers that they would otherwise consider unattainable. By conservative estimates, Mitchell has influenced more than 600 youth during the past 20 years. His impact is evidenced by the large percentage of his mentees who remain in school and pursue follow-on higher education, technical training or entrepreneurial endeavors.

Mitchell said he learned early on about "the haves and the have nots" while growing up in rural North Carolina where neighbors always helped neighbors in need.

"We were simply doing what we felt our neighbors would do if the roles were reversed," he said. "The desire to help whomever with whatever talent I possess was instilled in me through my parents and my church and now that mindset consumes me.

"It would be blasphemy for me not to help those in need of help when I can be an asset. I feel my greatest asset lies in tutoring and mentoring and I know that math and growing up is hard to do. I'm not paying it forward and I don't [do it] to win awards."

Category 10B-Rookie Employee of the Year; Technical, Scientific & Program Support
Dr. Tamara C. Otto, MRICD

Otto is a dedicated, highly engaged and extremely productive scientist and role model. In her first year as a federally-employed research scientist, she has made major contributions to the research efforts and social framework of MRICD. She has obtained funding in excess of $5 million from multiple sources to support her research which engages her in projects supported by external collaborators from industry and other DOD agencies. By completing multiple self-development courses, Otto has demonstrated a long-term commitment to expanding her role to encompass management and leadership responsibilities in addition to her duties as a research scientist. She is committed to help educate and train the next generation of scientists by mentoring high school and undergraduate students. She was additionally commended for supporting STEM education and for mentoring two seniors from the Aberdeen High School Science and Mathematics Academy during their Capstone research projects.

Otto said she was humbled by the award.

"I was honored to be nominated and it was a complete surprise to be awarded the gold medal," she said. "I take great pride in serving my country and was grateful to be recognized with all of the other federal award winners. I would also like to acknowledge The Baltimore Federal Executive Board for hosting such a wonderful luncheon. In our current fiscal climate, I know that a lot of time and effort was put into identifying funds so that the awards ceremony could occur."

Category 6-Workforce Diversity/Equal Employment Opportunity Service
Jody B. Jackson, ATEC

Jackson's conscientious and timeless work ethic has earned him a reputation as someone who will always get the job done in an exemplary manner. He is a critical member of the ATEC commander's Directorate of Equal Opportunity (EEO) and Diversity programs. Jackson wears two hats: he is the EEO manager and the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Program (SHARP) manager for ATEC. His outstanding performance, dedication to duty and aggressive can-do attitude has been very instrumental in contributing to ATEC's EEO Diversity office being recognized by Headquarters DA's Diversity & Leadership Offices and DOD's Equal Opportunity Office as a "Best Practice" office on numerous occasions.
(Mr. Jackson was unavailable for comment).

Category 9- Distinguished Public Service Career
Jesse L. Meerdink, ATC

Meerdink retired from ATC in December 2012 after 32 years of service. He was an outstanding employee who distinguished himself through his exceptional work and commitment to the Warfighter during the testing of Army materiel and the design, construction and management of test facilities. Meerdink played a lead role in many first-ever test events for the Army. His career included the first tests to be conducted on Army vehicles that used anthropomorphic test dummies to help assess crew survivability. He was designated as the lead electronics technician responsible for the successful instrumentation thrust in support of Congressionally-mandated Bradley Live Fire testing, standing up a digital instrumentation capability at ATC and training a new team of technicians. He continued to support technology advancement by increasing data acquisition capability to 60 channels during the first-ever live missile shot into the M1 Abrams tank. His efforts helped to lay the foundation for the 400 data channel tests that routinely are conducted today at ATC. Additionally, he helped design and construct the AA5 Vulnerability Range and he was directly responsible for incorporating new instrumentation and data acquisition capabilities into the range. He also helped pioneer vehicle vulnerability instrumentation techniques; and aided in the design and construction of the AA5 Range and the Depleted Uranium Containment Facility known as "Superbox" where he served as the facility manager. The AA5 is recognized as DOD's premiere test site for vehicle vulnerability and survivability testing.
(Mr. Meerdink was unavailable for comment).

2013 Excellence in Federal Career Awards APG winners and organizations
Category 1A - Outstanding Supervisor, GS-13 and above
Dr. Peter Emanuel, ECBC
Mark A Gaydos, ATEC
Lt. Col. Craig D. Gehrels, PHC
Bruce E. Amrein, ARL
Bryan Small, ATC
Kenneth M. Snyder, MRICD
John G. Thomas, AMSAA
Clyde V. Webster, AEC

Category 1B -- Outstanding Supervisor, Grade 12 and below
Louise V. Beyer, ATC
Capt. Baishali Kanjilal, MRICD

Category 2A -- Outstanding Professional (non-supervisory) Technical, Scientific & Program Support
Dr. Terrill Atwater, CERDEC
Douglas M. Cerasoli, MRICD
Dr. Betsy M. Rice, ARL
Christopher J. Weir, PHC
Thomas R. Adams Jr., USAGAPG
Casey R. Cramer, ATC
Dominique Edwards, ATEC
Angel A. Falcon, AEC
Shawn M. Funk, ECBC
Christopher Hernandez, 20th SUPCOM
James Herrell, AMSAA
Brad L. Kinzy, RDECOM
Nicholas J. Kurlick, CMA

Category 2B-Outstanding Professional (Administrative Management & Specialist)
Dawn K. Beeghley, ATC
Lawrence W. Burton, ARL
Derry M. Petitfrere, 20th SUPCOM
George W. Bryant, ATEC
Karen Foley, PEO IEW&S
Valaria R. Johnson, CMA
Debra Mentzer, AMSAA
Karen C. White, RDECOM

Category 3A-Outstanding Para-professional (non-supervisory) Technical, Scientific & Program Support
Tami D. Atkins, CMA
Donald J. Little, ARL
Jessica Maxwell, 20th SUPCOM
Jason R. Heiger, ATEC
Christi C. Peterson, USAGAPG
Susan M. Schulz, MRICD
Laurie M. VanDyke, ATC
David Zebron, AEC

Category 3B -- Outstanding Para-professional (non-supervisory) Technical, Scientific & Program Support -Team
Molecular Pathology Team, MRICD
Systems Team for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, AEC
ARL PAO and Application Management & Development Branch, ARL
ARL Multi-disciplined Security Division Team, RDECOM
Protective Equipment Division Helmets Team, ATC
Continuous Process Improvement Team Lean Six Sigma (LSS) ATEC

Category 3C-Outstanding Para-professional (non-supervisory) Administrative Management Analyst, G-8 & above
Doris A. Lowe, AMSAA
Daniel E. Boehm, MRICD
Teressa, Doonan, ATC
Mary D. McEntee, PEO IEW&S
Troy L. Nellans, AEC
Melissa Sampson, ATEC
Curtis W. Thompson, Sr., CMA

Category 4A-Outstanding Administrative Assistance/Management Assistant
Amy D. Durkin, ATC
Ellen M. Wadsworth, RDECOM
Shondria V. Boon, ATEC
Barbara L. Hagerich, AMSAA
Dana McVey, AEC
Samantha Venetz, PEO IEW&S
Wanda L. Waldon, MRICD
Deborah A. Welsh, ARL

Category 4B-Outstanding Administrative Work Group or Team
Budget and Contracts Team, ATC
General Fund Enterprise System Implementation Team, CMA
Testing & Evaluation & Customer Service Team, ATEC
ARL Weapons and Materials Research Directorate Administrative Team, ARL
Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention Victim Advocate Team, MRICD

Category 6-Workforce Diversity/Equal Employment Opportunity Service
Jody B. Jackson, ATEC
Barbara Hawk, ECBC
Fred A. Brewington, RDECOM
Shariese Demby, CMA

Category 7B-Heroism, Group Heroic Act
DES Firefighters & Paramedics Emergency Response Team, USAGAPG

Category 8A-Volunteer Service, Individual Award
Henderson E. Mitchell III, AMSAA
Paul W. Crise, AEC
Regina Burston-Valley, ATEC
Robert J. Lepito, RDECOM

Category 9- Distinguished Public Service Career
Jesse L. Meerdink, ATC
William P. Clay, AMSAA
Cynthia McMullen, ATEC
William J. Smith, MRICD
Dr. William P. Walters, ARL
Edward Budnick, USAGAPG
Dr. Michael J. Cushing, AEC
Edward M. Harding, PHC
John Kovac, 20th SUPCOM
Michael E. Madden, PEO IEW&S

Category 10A-Rookie Employee of the Year, Administrative/Management Analyst
Nicole Tester, ATEC
Rachel Tomlinson, PEO IEW&S
Jason Adekoya, CMA

Category 10B-Rookie Employee of the Year, Technical Scientific and Program Support
Tamara C. Otto, MRICD
Owen Griffith, 20th SUPCOM
James D. Wright Jr., ECBC
Dr. Tariq Ahmido, PHC
Candace Berry, CMA
Amy M. Dagro, ARL
Christopher G. Rinaldi, AMSAA
Holly S. Travers, ATEC
David Will, ATC