Since 1977, Energy Department employees have worked to deliver the innovation and expertise needed to advance the nation’s science and technology sectors, boost advancements in clean energy and ensure national security through nuclear nonproliferation initiatives and environmental cleanup. Yesterday, Department employees and officials gathered for the annual Secretary’s Honor Awards ceremony to applaud their colleagues’ achievements and commemorate 35 years of this important endeavor.
Secretary of Energy Steven Chu presented awards to more than 240 individuals for their contributions. The Honorable Dr. James R. Schlesinger, the first Energy Secretary, reflected on the early years of the Department and present an eponymous award to Eric Fygi, Deputy General Counsel and charter member of the Department. The Honorable Spencer Abraham (who served as Energy Secretary from 2001 to 2005) also shared insight from his time at the Department.
The following awards were presented at the ceremony.
James R. Schlesinger Award
The highest honors an employee or contractor can receive in the Department, it is bestowed upon one individual each year whose outstanding performance is responsible for contributions of national importance or for affecting significant improvements to the successful implementation of the Department’s mission. This year, the award went to Eric J. Fygi in recognition of his dedicated service as the Deputy General Counsel since the Department’s founding in October 1977.
Secretary’s Excellence Awards
This award is bestowed on individuals who have a singular accomplishment that demonstrates a high level of performance and outstanding leadership in public service. The individual’s achievement must be substantial, outside the normal course of duty and significantly benefit the Department’s mission and the nation.
- Dr. Jehanne E. Gillo was recognized for her exceptional leadership, inspired vision and highly skilled management in executing a major restructuring of the Department of Energy Isotope Program to better serve the nation's needs for stable and radioactive isotopes.
- David M. Hesse developed innovative computer software for transmission tower design. The software program, called the Advanced Tower Analysis and Design System, has already saved Bonneville Power Administration more than $18 million.
- John W. Krueger was acknowledged for his extraordinary leadership in the successful management of the U-233 Disposition Project. His efforts have resulted in a lasting contribution to the Department’s environmental, science and national security missions, and reflect the highest standards of management excellence.
- Thomas K. Teynor led the re-baselining of the troubled Sludge Treatment Project, which under his leadership has been transformed into a successful project with a strong project management, operations, engineering and safety culture.
The Secretary of Energy’s Achievement Award
This award is bestowed on a group or team of employees who together accomplished significant achievements on behalf of the Department. These groups demonstrated cooperation and teamwork in attaining their goals.
- Middle East Team, Intelligence Research for their role in helping the Secretary and other senior U.S. officials determine whether foreign financial institutions knowingly conducted significant transactions with the Central Bank of Iran for the sale or purchase of petroleum or petroleum products.
- Fossil Energy’s Coronary Stents Team, nominated for their ground-breaking work in the material sciences, using their metallurgical expertise to create a new alloy with tremendous commercial potential.
- Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility Science Education Group for the development and implementation of model programs that improve the quality of science education, reaching 12,000 students and 800 teachers per year.
- Uranium-233 Disposition Alternatives Analysis Team for their extraordinary efforts to find cost effective and technically viable alternatives for disposition of the U-233 stored at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
- Clean Energy Ministerial Secretariat Team for helping accelerate the global transition to clean energy technologies through active peer-to-peer cooperation by implementing the policies and programs needed to scale up private investment in efficient and low-carbon energy solutions.
- Seoul Nuclear Security Summit Planning Team in recognition of contributions to the largest summit ever held in the nuclear security field.
- Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride Tails Re-enrichment Project for the development of a plan to continue enrichment operations at USEC’s Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, which led to utilization of a portion of the Department’s depleted uranium inventory in a way that brings together the public and private sector to advance America’s national security interests at a reduced cost to taxpayers.
- Mars Science Laboratory Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator team for delivering the Generator for the NASA’s Mars Science laboratory mission, which launched on November 26, 2011.
- 200 West Groundwater Pump and Treatment System (Hanford): This facility is the key component to the remedy that will restore the groundwater to drinking water standards at Hanford. Thanks to careful planning and implementation, the facility was awarded the LEED Gold for design and construction.
- Argonne National Laboratory Nuclear Footprint Reduction Team is recognized for the completion of the Nuclear Footprint Reduction and Deactivation Plan, resulting in significant risk reduction, enhanced compliance and operational cost savings.
- Fossil Energy’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve 2011 Drawdown Team for the successful sale, drawdown and delivery of 30 million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve after the President ordered a drawdown of the Reserve to join the International Energy Agency’s collective response to the shutdown of Libya's oil industry.
These and other breakthroughs were made possible because of the hard work of thousands of employees -- both past and present -- and the Energy Department is proud to thank them for their public service.