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Friday, December 1, 2023

GTSC’S Homeland Security Today Announces 2023 Holiday Hero Award Winners

Homeland Security Today, the premier nonprofit information source for homeland security news, analysis, and insights, announced selections for the 2023 Holiday Homeland Security Awards, including Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Brigadier General Francis X. Taylor, former Under Secretary for Intelligence & Analysis, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Federal Homeland Security Person of the Year, Chief Information Officer and first Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer at DHS, Eric Hysen.

“The National Homeland Security Awards have grown to hundreds of nominations annually from all corners of America.  We are so proud to recognize the extraordinary people doing tremendous work on behalf of their communities, their states, and their country,” said Kristina Tanasichuk, Executive Editor of Homeland Security Today and CEO of the Government Technology & Services Coalition. “We want to be sure that these selfless, hard-working individuals know that there are people who appreciate what they do and want to honor their work on behalf of all of us.”

The awards recognize every discipline within Homeland Security, cyber, infrastructure protection, human trafficking, border security, even acquisition all work together to protect the nation. In 2023, two new awards were added: a Most Valuable Player in Data Advancement, and an Excellence in Zero Trust award. Both recognize the evolving missions in homeland security.

HSToday selects a handful of exceptional leaders and do-ers who support the mission of homeland and national security in their jobs, in their free time, or both. This year’s awardees include:

Homeland Security Lifetime Achievement Award

Brigadier General Francis X. Taylor, President, Cambridge Global Advisors; Former Under Secretary for Intelligence & Analysis, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Former Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security, and Former US Ambassador-at-large & Coordinator for Counterterrorism, U.S. Department of State

National Homeland Security Person of the Year

Eric Hysen, Chief Information Officer & Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

State Homeland Security Person of the Year

Maryland Active Assailant Interdisciplinary Work Group

Sergeant Travis Nelson, Maryland State Police and Randy Linthicum, Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems

Local Homeland Security Person of the Year

Department of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management/ Department of Technology Solutions, Arlington County Government, Virginia

Hawaya Abby, Cybersecurity Engineer; Sydney McKenna, Emergency Preparedness Manager; Patrick Nguyen, Cybersecurity Graduate Intern; John Paras, Emergency Management Training and Exercise Coordinator

Most Valuable Player

Robert Costello, Chief Information Officer, Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Excellence in Zero Trust – Award Patron: Acuity, Inc.

James Scobey, Chief Information Security Officer, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Most Valuable Player – Data Advancement

Elizabeth Puchek, Chief Data Officer, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Carin Quiroga, Chief Data Officer, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Federal Small Business Champion

Jaime Gracia, Director, Strategic Enterprise Programs, U.S. Department of State

Citizen of Mission

Carol Adams, MPM, CEM, CBCP, MEP, Senior Systems Analyst, Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Coordinator, Management Information Systems, Alleghany County Sanitary Authority

Excellence in Outreach

Stacy Irving, Senior Advisor, Homeland Security Planning, Programs and Strategic Partnerships at the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center (DVIC), Philadelphia Police Department

Most Innovative Campaign to Improve Security

Global Resources to Combat Human Trafficking Project

Heather Fischer, Senior Advisor for Human Rights Crimes, Thomson Reuters, Former White House Human Trafficking Czar, Executive Office of the President; Minal Patel Davis, Director, Mayor’s Office of Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence, Houston, TX

Acquisition Excellence

Pamela Elliott, Contracting Officer’s Representative, Cybersecurity Shared Services Office, Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Backbone Awards

Alberto Flores, Port Director, Laredo Port of Entry, Texas; U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Kristin Himes, Lead, Center of Excellence Service Governance, Cybersecurity Division, Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Maggie Larkin, Lead Project Manager, Global Program, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Glenn Podonsky, Deputy Under Secretary, Science & Technology Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Homeland’s Human Firewall

Daniel Daly, Deputy Director, Information Assurance Division, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Mission Awards

Capacine Abdul-Aziz, Director, Land Border Integration Division, Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Calvin C. Coleman, Branch Chief, Office of Information and Technology, Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Captain Miriam Foxx, Chula Vista, CA Police Department

Adam Jacoff, Robotics Research Engineer, National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce

John (Neal) Latta, Assistant Administrator, Enrollment Services and Vetting Programs, Operations Support, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Captain Michael Leo, Special Operations Command Robotics, New York City Fire Department

Dr. David Mussington, Executive Assistant Director, Infrastructure Security, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. U.S. Department of Homeland Security

LePhonzo Pearson, Chief, Cyber Intel & Threat Emulation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Shakeeta M. Purdie, Division Director, Administrative Services Division, Technology and Innovation Directorate, Federal Protective Service

Amy Reedy, Information Technology Manager, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Ariana Roddini, Associate Director, Training Operations, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Kolby Shields, Federal Security Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Dr. Mitchell Simmons, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs & Program Director, Anthony G. Oettinger School of Science and Technology Intelligence, National Intelligence University

GTSC Small Business Member of the Year 

Anika Systems

GTSC Mid-Tier of the Year  


GTSC Mentor of the Year  


GTSC Strategic Partner of the Year  

ICS Advisory

GTSC Strategic Advisor of the Year  

Robert Kolasky, Senior Vice President, Critical Infrastructure, Exiger; Editorial Board Member, HSToday; Former Director, National Risk Management Center, Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Homeland Security Today
Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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