The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Legacy Management (LM) has honored Safety and Health Program Manager Brian Stewart with the Philip C. Leahy Employee of the Year award for his hard work and dedication during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The award, which was established in 2017, recognizes LM employees who demonstrate qualities of an outstanding team player, as described by John C. Maxwell’s “The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player.” Maxwell defines a team player as someone who is dependable, enthusiastic, prepared, self-improving, and tenacious.
Philip C. Leahy set up what is now LM’s Grand Junction office, and later served as the site’s manager under the Atomic Energy Commission. Leahy personified the qualities of a team player by accomplishing his mission while working on the Manhattan Project and establishing LM’s mission of success, which is still upheld today.
Nominations for the award come from peers and supervisors and are judged by the LM deputy director and two office deputies.
When he learned he had received the award, Stewart was in shock.
“I’m still stunned. It feels great to be honored this way,” he said. “I definitely didn’t see it coming.”
After starting in May 2019, Stewart and his team were originally tasked with helping LM Support (LMS) meet the requirements for outstanding Safety and Health programs, as outlined by the DOE Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). After just six months, LMS was awarded the VPP Star award, the highest level of recognition in the program.
Although Stewart is proud of this accomplishment, he is most proud of keeping people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been an ongoing challenge for the Safety and Health team.
“No one could have predicted COVID-19, so it really turned things upside down and took all our focus, and still is,” he said.
Although Stewart feels humbled and honored to receive the Philip C. Leahy award, he added, “I’m just the messenger, not the heavy lifter like the RSI Safety and Health team. They made sure people had all the proper protection equipment like masks, wipes, gloves … I’m just the face on the profile.”
As Stewart and his team continue to ensure worker safety throughout the pandemic, Stewart looks forward to the future and his next challenge.
“I think transitioning from COVID-19, once the pandemic ends, will bring a new set of challenges,” he said. “However, I’m confident in the Safety and Health team. They have done an amazing job at keeping people as safe as possible. I have a very good team of people working with me who are very good at what they do.”