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Feds Who Track Influenza, Find Invisible Blood at Crime Scenes and Make the World’s Most Accurate Clock Are Among the Outstanding Midcareer Feds Honored with Arthur S. Flemming Awards

Civilian and Military Government Personnel Recognized by GW for Exceptional Contributions to Public Service

April 20, 2020
Jason Shevrin: [email protected], 202-994-5631
Tim Pierce: [email protected], 202-994-5647
WASHINGTON (April 20, 2020)—Midcareer federal workers have accomplished a variety of feats such as creating the most accurate clock in the world, developing ways to see crime scene evidence invisible to the human eye and finding new ways to track influenza around the world. The government employees behind these extraordinary efforts and other career-defining moments will be honored with this year’s Arthur S. Flemming Awards.
The 71st annual Arthur S. Flemming Awards honor the accomplishments of 13 federal employees (listed in detail below) from agencies across the federal government. The Arthur S. Flemming Awards Commission partners with the George Washington University Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration and the National Academy of Public Administration to present the awards. 
“This year's honorees have all pursued their missions and goals to remarkable effect and, as a nation, we stand to reap great benefit from their work,” Peter Williams, the president of the Arthur S. Flemming Awards Commission, said. “Their achievements bring great credit on themselves, their colleagues and their agencies. We are very proud to recognize them in this manner and stand in awe of their individual success.” 
Established by the Downtown Jaycees in 1948, the Flemming Awards honor outstanding federal employees with 3-15 years of federal service for their exceptional contributions to the federal government. Recipients were nominated by their federal agencies and then selected from a pool of nominees through a competitive judging process. Awardees were selected based on their work performance and factors such as leadership, contributions to society and potential for continued excellence.
“The Flemming Award winners exemplify public service and show us that dreams can become reality with inspiration and hard work,” Mary Tschirhart, the director of the Trachtenberg School, said. 
The award is named after quintessential public servant Arthur S. Flemming, who served in government for more than six decades spanning seven administrations, including service as the secretary of health, education and welfare under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Dr. Flemming was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton in 1994 and died two years later. 
In addition to the awards given to midcareer federal employees, William Phillips, a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, received the fourth annual Katharine B. Gebbie Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Federal Service. Dr. Phillips, a 1987 Flemming Awards winner, was part of a team that won the 1997 Nobel Prize in physics. Dr. Gebbie, who mentored Dr. Phillips, worked at NIST for 48 years and served on the Flemming Commission. She died in 2016; the award was created in her honor the following year. Prior winners are U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci and Elizabeth Dole, former U.S. secretary of labor, transportation and a former U.S. senator
This year’s Flemming Award recipients, organized by award category:
Applied Science 
Ian Coddington, Applied Physics Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce 
Dr. Coddington helped to develop a new laser technique, dual-comb spectroscopy, and then transformed it from a laboratory experiment into a robust and reliable technology. He demonstrated dual-comb technology for atmospheric gas sensing, precision laser ranging and many other applications. He and his collaborators detected costly and dangerous methane leaks with extraordinary sensitivity. 
Jo Anne Crouch, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture 
Dr. Crouch pioneered cutting-edge technologies and creative research methodologies to solve major disease problems of economically important plants. Dr. Crouch developed molecular diagnostic tools for identifying pathogens of several plant species, including impatiens, boxwood, black-eyed Susan, turfgrasses, cereal grains and bioenergy crops. Dr. Crouch also directs a research program that promptly responds to industry needs and generates findings that save stakeholders millions of dollars that would otherwise be lost to disease. 
Basic Science
Keenan McCall, Office of Special Investigations, U.S. Air Force
Capt. McCall revamped the Department of Defense’s processes for the exploitation of fingerprints on digital media objects, pioneered a new process for Air Force investigations with blood invisible to the naked eye and set benchmarks for the identification of blood in an outdoor crime scene, for all international crime scene investigators across local, state and federal agencies. He represented the Air Force at both the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the International Association for Identification, while maintaining a certification with the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators. 
Heather Allen, Agricultural Research Service, National Animal Disease Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture (awarded posthumously)
Dr. Allen pioneered research that led to a unique and innovative understanding of the sources, prevalence, and dynamics of antibiotic resistance genes in the swine gut microbiome and surrounding agroecosystems. Dr. Allen has been able to shed critical insights into the diversity, ecology and sources of antibiotic resistance. Ultimately, her research has informed federal policy and identified new directions for discovering antibiotic alternatives that will improve swine performance, control foodborne pathogens and reduce antibiotic resistance gene carriage. 
Andrew Ludlow, National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce
Dr. Ludlow led the development of the most accurate and precise clocks ever constructed. These "optical clocks" are based on ultrastabilized lasers and are 100-1000 times more stable and accurate than today's standard atomic clocks and will replace them one day as the ultimate timekeepers. His clocks filled a technical gap needed for advances in high-speed electronics and communications and ultra-precise navigation. Dr. Ludlow and his team have set world records for atomic clock precision and accuracy. They have proven the usefulness of these new clocks for a variety of applications including advancing the nation's official time scale and searching for dark matter. 
Traci Archibald, Division of Community and Population Health, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 
Ms. Archibald worked to successfully improve health outcomes and to lower healthcare costs. She developed and is leading a wide array of challenging, high-priority programs at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. One of her key accomplishments was designing and operating a nationwide program of technical assistance to help small, rural practices and those providing care to medically underserved populations to participate successfully in a new Medicare payment program. 
James-Christian Blockwood, Strategic Planning and External Liaison, U.S. Government Accountability Office
Mr. Blockwood oversaw the development of the GAO’s 2018-2023 strategic plan, which guides the watchdog agency's work. Mr. Blockwood also founded and oversees two unique resources: the Center for Audit Excellence, which seeks to build the capacity of accountability organizations domestically and internationally, and the Center for Strategic Foresight, which prepares studies on such cutting-edge issues as artificial intelligence, deep fakes and deep space. He also oversees the National Intergovernmental Audit Forum, which serves more than 1,500 auditors, and represents GAO at the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions. 
Duncan MacCannell, Office of Advanced Molecular Detection, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 
Dr. MacCannell played a pivotal role in bringing next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics, transformational and novel technologies, into routine public health practice, first at the CDC and then in the wider U.S. public health system. These technologies are now central to such critical functions as foodborne outbreak detection and influenza surveillance. In 2019, Dr. MacCannell led an effort extend the impact of these technologies globally by bringing together CDC, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other partners to establish the Public Health Alliance for Genomic Epidemiology, which aims to coordinate bioinformatics efforts to facilitate the adoption of pathogen genomics by public health programs both in the U.S. and elsewhere. 
Legal Achievement
Samantha Thomas, Office of the Solicitor, Region 3, U.S. Department of Labor
Ms. Thomas led a team of attorneys and support staff in successfully recovering $5,867,536 in back wages to 1,562 coal miners and other mine employees in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Wyoming. Ms. Thomas also worked with other departmental offices and agencies over a three-month period as the employer filed for bankruptcy, a buyer asserted its rights to transport the coal, four cases in litigation proceeded and the mined coal was stockpiled or sat in rail cars, prevented from being transported by unpaid miners who had camped out on railroad tracks to ensure the coal stayed put.
Steven Shermer, Environmental Enforcement Section, U.S. Department of Justice 
Mr. Shermer demonstrated outstanding talent and dedication toward protecting communities, many minority or low income, from hazardous, toxic and cancer-causing pollution. He squared off with the nation’s largest industrial companies in matters involving huge facilities like refineries, chemical plants and glass factories, achieving cleaner air and thousands fewer tons of pollutants. 
Social Science
Ana Rappold, Clinical Research Branch, Environmental Protection Agency 
Dr. Rappold, a statistician and epidemiologist, researches the links between wildfire smoke and adverse health outcomes. Dr. Rappold brought to life a groundbreaking method for real-time communication and data collection about smoke and health during wildfire events through the Smoke Sense Project, a smartphone app that provides participants vital information about wildfire smoke and health when and where they need it. Dr. Rappold’s innovative approach integrates citizen science, environmental health research, and smartphone technology to empower participants to respond to a complex, dynamic, and emergent environmental event. 
Andrea Apolo, Bladder Cancer Section, Genitourinary Malignancies Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health
Dr. Apolo is an expert on developing novel therapies for the treatment of urothelial carcinoma of the bladder. Dr. Apolo formed a research program with the goal of developing novel therapies for bladder cancer. In a clinical trial carried out by Dr. Apolo and others, she demonstrated that Avelumab treatment - an immune checkpoint inhibitor which helps the body's own immune system target and kill cancer cells - was associated with prolonged survival in patients with refractory metastatic urothelial carcinoma. Dr. Apolo then led the academic effort to get Avelumab approved by the FDA for the treatment of bladder cancer. 
Anna Maria Ortiz, Natural Resources and Environment Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office 
Dr. Ortiz has been a key force behind GAO studies that have yielded billions in taxpayer savings and improved vital government programs and services. In her role as a director on GAO's Natural Resources and Environment team, she led efforts to transform how GAO audits tribal and Native American issues by bridging organizational silos and forging external partnerships to better serve Congress and, ultimately, improve federal activities essential to the wellbeing of the American people.