Homeland security luminaries celebrated shining stars in the community at the 11th Homeland Security Today Awards gala on Wednesday evening at the Columbus Club of Arlington.
The celebration honored those who have made lasting contributions to our nation’s security and risen to meet myriad challenges posed by an evolving terrorism landscape, refugee crises, cyber threats, public-health threats, migration surges, and more.
“We are so proud to honor the most humble, talented, creative, innovative, hard-working, driven people we’ve ever had the honor of serving,” said Kristina Tanasichuk, founder and CEO of the Government Technology and Services Coalition and executive editor of Homeland Security Today. “Being able to amplify what they do, day in and day out, how they persevere to fight external enemies and internal bureaucracy, funding challenges, divisive politics, apathy, and so much more is a true testament to their character and, frankly, a representation of all that is right with America.”
Federal Protective Service Director L. Eric Patterson, who will retire in January after more than 43 years of military and public service, was honored as the Homeland Security Person of the Year, National. Appointed as the FPS director in 2010, he is the longest-serving director in the agency’s 51-year history.
Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency Director James “Chris” Stallings received the Homeland Security Person of the Year, State, award for facing daunting challenges, assuming additional roles and responsibilities while continuing to put the people of his state first and working to find ways to increase our nation’s security.
Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department Sergeant Michael Satter, who serves as deputy director of the Kansas City Regional Fusion Center, was honored as Homeland Security Person of the Year, Local, for demonstrating excellence in outreach and engagements with private, local, state, and federal agencies to comprehensively strengthen stakeholder capacity through education, information sharing, and information empowerment.
The HSToday Awards recognize not only those who have dedicated their careers to making our nation safer within the homeland security enterprise, but people who have used their talents, determination, or platform to contribute. This year, the Citizen of Mission Award went to INLETS board member RC Smith, who has supported the national security mission abroad and at home as a U.S. Marine, defense contractor, and member of the volunteer-run InfraGard since 2011.
The awards pay tribute to those who work on the frontlines and behind the scenes to further the mission:
- Homeland Security Person of the Year – National: L. Eric Patterson, Director, Federal Protective Service
- Homeland Security Person of the Year – State: James “Chris” Stallings, Director, Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency
- Homeland Security Person of the Year – Local: Sergeant Michael Satter, Deputy Director, Kansas City Regional Fusion Center, Kansas City Missouri Police Department
- Homeland’s Human Firewall: Kenneth Bible, Chief Information Security Officer, Department of Homeland Security
- Federal Small Business Champion: Ali Pourghassemi, Industry Liaison, Office of the Chief Procurement Officer, Internal Revenue Service
- Market Maven: Lindy Kyzer, ClearanceJobs.com
- Acquisition Excellence: TSA: Flexible Agile Scalable Teams (FAST), Richard Melrose, Branch Chief and Supervising Contracting Officer, and Cristian Rodriguez, Branch Manager, Application Development Division
- Acquisition Excellence: USCIS: Fusion Procurements, Contracting Officer and Component Innovation Coach Chad Parker
- Acquisition Excellence: CBP: IT Marketplace, Betty Matias, Gloria Contreras, and Cheryl Ogden
- Most Innovative Campaign to Increase Security: Department of Homeland Security Office for Bombing Prevention: Douglas DeLancey, Strategy Branch Chief
- Citizen of Mission: RC Smith, Board Member, INLETS
- Organization of Mission: Integrated Community Solutions to Active Violence Events (ICSAVE); HONORABLE MENTION: Throw Away Dogs Project
- Most Valuable Player (Team): Department of Homeland Security Enterprise Non-Person Entity (ENPE) Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) Project: Dennis Martin, Gladys Garcia, and Giuseppe Cimmino, Office of the Chief information Officer
- Most Valuable Player (Individual): Dave Mooney, Cyber Shared Service Management Chief, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
- Above and Beyond: Dale Buckner, CEO, Global Guardian
- Above and Beyond: Kareem Baker, Project Manager, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- Backbone: Enterprise Financial Management Systems Team, Department of Homeland Security Office of Procurement Operations
- Backbone: Carol Taylor, Accounting Systems Division Chief, U.S. Coast Guard
- Backbone: Department of Homeland Security Security, Development, and Operations (SecDevOps) Team: Robert Foster and Chakris Raungtriphop, Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO)
- Excellence in Outreach (Federal): Curtis Tilley, Branch Chief, Office for Bombing Prevention, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
- Excellence in Outreach (State): Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
- Excellence in Outreach (Local): Tania Bougebrayel Cohn, Community Engagement and Resilience Manager, Arlington County Department of Emergency Management
- Excellence in Education and Training: INLETS
- Excellence in Education and Training, Cyber: Department of Homeland Security Office of the Chief Information Officer Workforce Phishing Campaigns: Steven Friend, Lisa Cooper, and Lawrence Knachel
- Excellence in Education and Training, Cyber: Kiersten Todt, Chief of Staff, DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
- Excellence in Education and Training, Cyber: Hack DHS
- Education and Training Hero of the Year: Jason Kepp, Assistant Director for Training and Professional Development, Federal Protective Service
The evening’s celebration of GTSC bringing together government and industry to further the homeland mission included honoring members who have devoted their time, resources, and dedication to mission to give back to the organization:
- GTSC Small Business of the Year: Amivero
- GTSC Mid-Tier of the Year: Acuity
- GTSC Mentor of the Year: Capgemini
- GTSC Strategic Partner of the Year: The Chertoff Group
- GTSC Strategic Advisor of the Year: Patricia Cogswell, Managing Partner, Guidehouse; former Deputy Administrator, Transportation Security Administration
Homeland Security Today also honors with the annual Mission Awards shining stars in the community who are making their own unique, invaluable contributions to advance the mission of keeping America safer from a range of threats:
- Yosry Barsoum, Vice President and Director, Homeland Security Systems Engineering and Development Institute, MITRE
- Troy Choplin, Assistant Director of Emergency Management, Payne County, Okla.
- J. Michael Daniel, President and CEO, Cyber Threat Alliance
- Bruce Dodd, Deputy Director of Field Operations for Preclearance, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- Sean Haglund, Associate Director, Department of Homeland Security Office of Bombing Prevention
- HSI Cyber Crimes Center
- Nazrul Islam, Chief of the Health Assessment Team, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Department of Homeland Security
- Chief Raied “Ray” Jadallah, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue
- Jason Lim, Identity Management Capability Manager, Transportation Security Administration
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection Automated Commercial Environment: Steven Lubel, Branch Chief, Cargo Release; Autumn Maxey, Lead IT Specialist, and Renee Messalle, Director of Entry Summary Accounts and Revenue Development Division with CBP’s Cargo Systems Program Directorate
- Shawn McDonald, Program Manager, Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-UAS), Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate
- Adina Pantella, Acting Director, Passenger Targeting, Office of Information and Technology, Targeting and Analysis Systems Program Directorate, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- Benjamin Podsiadlo, Grants Division Chief for Homeland Security, Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, Office of Grants and Research
- Negar Samimi, Branch Chief, Business Systems Branch (BSB), Solutions Development Directorate (SDD), Department of Homeland Security
- Julie Scanlon, Executive Assistant Administrator for Enterprise Support, Transportation Security Administration
- Rob Thorne, Chief Information Security Officer, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
- Charles Wall, Division Director, Information Technology Division, Technology and Innovation Directorate, Federal Protective Service
- Paul Weston, Section Chief, Security Assurance Branch, Information Assurance Division, OCIO, Immigration and Customs Enforcement
- DHS Hummingbird Team: Michael Weissman, Senior Leader HRIT Technical Liaison, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Department of Homeland Security
GTSC and Homeland Security Today congratulated all of the honorees along with thanking the entire homeland community for persevering and excelling through exceptional challenges.