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Fighting Black Lung and Hidden Shipborne Viruses, Protecting Civilians and Vulnerable Children: Federal Leaders, Researchers and Legal Enforcers Win Arthur S. Flemming Awards

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

April 30, 2018
Jason Shevrin: [email protected], 202-994-5631
Tim Pierce: [email protected], 202-994-5647
WASHINGTON (April 30, 2018)—Winners of this year’s Arthur S. Flemming Awards saved the federal government billions of dollars in waste and inefficiency, and saved hundred of lives through better policies and practices. Winners included early-career federal officials who enforce laws to protect miners from black lung, develop new ways of prosecuting child predators, fight corporations that commit environmental offenses, and promote American manufacturing abroad. 
The 69th annual Arthur S. Flemming Awards honored these and many other accomplishments of 12 such federal employees (listed in detail below) from agencies across the federal government. The awards were presented by the Arthur S. Flemming Commission in partnership with the George Washington University Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, in cooperation with the National Academy of Public Administration.
“This year marks the 20th year GW’s Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration has sponsored the Arthur S. Flemming Awards. There are 12 outstanding federal government employees who will be honored, bringing the total number of honorees during the award's 70 year history to 682,” Peter Williams, president of the Arthur S. Flemming Awards Commission, said. “The Arthur S. Flemming Award is the second-oldest award recognizing excellence in achievement by federal employees, and Flemming alumni include many who continued their government careers to even greater achievements and fame after receiving the award.”
Established by the Downtown Jaycees in 1948, the Flemming Awards honor outstanding federal employees with three to 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 Arthur S. Flemming Award winners are fantastic public servants who inspire all of us by their incredible accomplishments in the public interest,” Kathryn Newcomer, director of the Trachtenberg School, said." I am always in awe and so very proud to be affiliated with this program.” 
The award is named after quintessential public servant Arthur S. Flemming, who served in government for more than six decades spanning seven administrations and 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 passed away two years later. 
A ceremony honoring the award winners will take place June 4 at GW.
This year’s award recipients, organized by award category, included:
Applied Science and Engineering
Jeremy Banik, Space Vehicles Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory
Dr. Banik works with high-strain composites to develop space structures for the U.S. Air Force. He conceived and developed a roll-out solar array for the International Space Station. The nature of the array dramatically reduced its size and volume. Dr. Banik’s system could save the Air Force as much as $1.4 billion. 
Lisa Drake, Chemistry Division, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
Dr. Drake is a key leader in the government’s response to bioinvasions in the ballast water of naval ships. She led the effort to publish the “Generic Protocol of the Verification of Ballast Water Treatment Technology,” which was developed as the standard for U.S. testing and became the de facto global standard. Dr. Drake is a U.S. delegate to the International Maritime Organization and is a contributor to the International Standards Organization’s method for shipboard sampling.
Ralph Jimenez, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Dr. Jimenez leads collaborations between the federal government, academia and industry to create new tools to observe and measure the internal chemistry and biology of individual living cells in real time. He combines ultrafast lasers, custom microfluidics, biochemistry, molecular biology and directed evolution to measure the inner workings of individual living cells and to select those specific cells with unique attributes, almost instantaneously, for research into normal and diseased states, or for production of particular biological materials.
Jeffrey Szabo, Environmental Protection Agency
Dr. Szabo’s work helps the public better understand contaminations in drinking water distribution systems and wastewater treatment facilities, in order to develop effective methods for cleaning water infrastructure. His research spreads knowledge of how to decontaminate drinking water and wastewater, and the water sector’s ability to respond to chemical, biological and radiological incidents. 
Leadership and Management
Michael Butler, Space Situational Awareness Branch, Defense Intelligence Agency, U.S. Air Force
Maj. Butler leads a 63-member team from 15 national organizations to repurpose $6 billion in civil, Department of Defense and intelligence community radar assets to plan, develop and execute multiple radar experiments, and to field a first-of-its kind imaging capability at no additional cost to the program.
Steven Putansu, Government Accountability Office
Dr. Putansu ensures rigorous technical standards for hundreds of GAO performance audits, providing policymakers with high-quality information for overseeing federal programs and ensuring the best use of taxpayer dollars. These stronger methodological criteria generated more than $160 billion in financial benefits for the federal government.
Kelly Visconti, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy
Ms. Visconti spearheaded the Department of Energy’s response to the president’s call to bolster the competitiveness of American manufacturing. She led the investment of over $900 million into public-private partnerships under the Manufacturing USA initiative to accelerate technical innovations in critical areas of the manufacturing ecosystem that will enable U.S. manufacturing to assume global leadership.
Legal Achievement
Bethany Engel, Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Department of Justice
Ms. Engel led the Justice Department's civil litigation against Volkswagen for its emissions cheating, leading to a record $17.4 billion in relief. She played vital roles in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill case, ensuring the security of more than 100 million key government documents essential to the government’s case. That oversight was critical to the eventual $14 billion recovery for the government and $6 billion recovery for Gulf states. 
Mark Freeman, Civil Division, U.S. Department of Justice
Mr. Freeman played a role in nearly every government intellectual property case in the past 10 years, developing the government’s arguments and drafting its briefs. He is widely recognized, as one of the Justice Department’s leading experts in intellectual property law and has argued cases before the Supreme Court and all 13 federal courts of appeals.
Matthew King, U.S. Air Force
Lt. Col. King is the chief of air and space law for the Air Force. He ensured the legality of every deliberate air strike against the Islamic State group. His reviews of 475 targets led to key changes in timing and scan requirements, avoiding more than 500 civilian casualties.
Michael Sullivan, Office of the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio
Mr. Sullivan gained a national reputation for his aggressive prosecution of child exploitation cases. He implemented and promoted of a new investigative protocol for child pornography cases that has been incredibly successful in Northern Ohio and has been replicated across the country.
Social Science, Clinical Trials and Translational Research
Emily Haas, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Dr. Haas’ research and leadership have prevented work-related illnesses and injuries in the mining industry. She collaborated with mining engineers on projects related to reducing exposure to breathable dust, a leading cause of occupational death from black lung disease among American miners.