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DHS Recognizes Over 100 Employees During Secretary’s Awards Ceremony at TSA

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recognized more than 100 DHS employees for their outstanding contributions. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas hosted the ceremony and was welcomed by TSA Administrator David Pekoske.

“There is no higher calling than public service,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “The personnel throughout our Department give so much of themselves to keep our communities safe and to better the lives of others. The individuals we recognize today exemplify the best of our Department and the best of public service. I am grateful for their service to our nation and proud to recognize their extraordinary accomplishments.”

The DHS Secretary’s Award is an annual program that recognizes the extraordinary individual and collective achievements of the workforce. The eight award categories that recognize achievements spanning the previous year are: Exceptional Service; Meritorious Service; Leadership Excellence; Valor; Innovation; Team Excellence; Champion of Equity; and Volunteer Service. This year, DHS will hold several ceremonies across the country honoring nearly 900 employees.

“It is a privilege to recognize and work with so many outstanding leaders across DHS who represent the very best of the department,” said Pekoske. “I am proud of our award recipients for making TSA, DHS, and their communities a much better place through their efforts, and I commend them for their diligence and commitment. Congratulations on this significant achievement that reflects your overall contributions to the Department’s noble mission.”

TSA awardees include:

Christine Lewandowski, Jennifer Hill-Wilson and Sonya T Proctor: The Secretary’s Exceptional Service Gold Medal Award is the highest award for service granted by the Secretary. The award honors exceptional leadership or service distinguished by achievements of unique national or international significance, reflecting great credit on DHS by markedly improving the security of the United States. 

Anita Minaei, Steven Lewengrub and Michael Gaches: The Secretary’s Meritorious Service Silver Medal Award is the second highest award presented by the Secretary and recognizes outstanding leadership, superior public service, or unusually significant contributions to strengthening homeland security. New to this category are GS-11 and WG-8 employees serving in administrative, technical, clerical, and general support positions. It may recognize a body of work regarding remarkable innovation or notable resourcefulness and diligence that improved the effectiveness of one or more DHS missions.

Iram Shahzad, Michael D. Isacco, Jr., Ian Flippo, Washington, D.C. Pipeline Security Directive Team: The Secretary’s Award for Team Excellence recognizes any unit within the Department (such as a component, directorate, office, division, or section) with outstanding team achievements in operational areas such as law enforcement, aviation, cybersecurity, border patrol, hiring, acquisition, and information technology. The work will have resulted in measurable improvements in training and development and will have demonstrated an investment in the workforce to make it more capable. The work of the unit will include superior performance and significant operational improvements and/or notable innovation in support of DHS missions. The results will include an overall improvement in workforce morale.

Springfield’s Acquisition and Procurement Streamlining Integrated Product Team and Springfield’s Identity Management Team: The Secretary’s Award for Innovation recognizes individuals or teams that employ a strategic and enterprise-wide approach to strengthening the DHS mission and its operations. The nominees should exhibit an ongoing record of high standards of achievement and innovation. The work of the nominees may have resulted in superior performance and/or significant operational improvements in the manner in which capabilities are developed and deployed. The nominee’s achievement/contributions should include maximizing the effectiveness of people, processes, and technologies; providing wise stewardship of resources; and enhancing the capabilities of component/DHS employees.

Daniel Kevin Wesley Brown and Wallace West: The Secretary’s Award for Valor is the highest recognition for extraordinary acts of valor occurring either on or off duty. The employee will have demonstrated selfless response by performing courageously in a highly dangerous or life-threatening situation to protect another’s life or to save significant assets or infrastructure from harm.

Jin Liu: The Secretary’s Award for Volunteer Service recognizes significant contributions by DHS employees who serve as volunteers with non-profit or community service programs or activities. The employee’s contributions should be direct, sustained, and have meaningful results for individuals or larger public good.

See a full list of the awardees at DHS

Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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