Gov. Bob McDonnell announced the recipients of the Governor’s Public Service Awards during a ceremony today at the Executive Mansion including the winner of the third annual “30 Day Sprint” competition rewarding the best state employee innovation idea. The Governor’s Public Service Awards highlight state employees who demonstrate exemplary service and dedication to the Commonwealth of Virginia and its citizens.
State employees were honored in the following categories: two Governor’s Agency Stars; Career Achievement; Community Service and Volunteerism; Customer Service; Innovation; Teamwork; Health, Wellness, and Safety; and the “30 Day Sprint.” The “30 Day Sprint” competition generated nearly 1,000 innovative employee ideas. All recommendations will be considered for adoption by the administration, especially those that increase the efficiency and effectiveness of Virginia state government. Vaibhav Dani, an Old Dominion University database administrator, submitted the winning idea, a public safety initiative especially critical as the Atlantic hurricane season begins in Virginia.
Speaking about the 2013 Governor’s Public Service Awards, Governor McDonnell remarked, “Since the beginning of my administration, state employees have partnered with me to reform government and strengthen Virginia’s reputation as the best place to live, work, and raise a family. We could not do it without them. I am grateful and humbled by their service and commitment to their fellow Virginians. It is a great honor to recognize our most innovative and faithful public servants, together by harnessing creative solutions we have proven we can make government work better for the people of Virginia. I am especially happy to see state employees continue to give us their best ideas. Vaibhav Dani’s idea will allow us to leverage the power of technology to help keep private citizens safe and informed in a cost effective way.”
“30 Day Sprint” Award:
Vaibhav Dani, Old Dominion University
Vaibhav Dani of Norfolk is the winner of the $2,500 grand prize in Governor McDonnell’s “30 Day Sprint” competition with this recommendation:
“Citizens can register their phones for text or phone alerts and they can enroll to be notified via mass alerts during natural disasters like hurricane, snow storms etc. This feature can also be extended to users who are willing to share their location, so they can receive targeted message by correlating their GPS location derived from cell tower and the affected area by the natural disaster. Once this data is available, it can be used to notify citizens about other services like DMV records, amber alerts etc.”
In the coming months, the administration will glean inspiration from this starting point and consider all possible ways to implement a similar program. Virginians need access to emergency information through multiple outlets. Implementation of this idea will build and expand upon the success of the Ready Virginia mobile app. Virginia needs multiple touch points to connect with citizens and reach as many eyes and ears as possible in a given location, especially given the numerous sources of news and entertainment in today’s market.
Governor’s Agency Star Awards:
Charles Green, Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
Charles Green leads the Division of Marketing and Development at the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. Mr. Green has been instrumental in organizing overseas trade missions in over 10 countries, resulting in more than $500 million in new agricultural exports from Virginia so far. He has helped strengthen Virginia’s agricultural exports by proactively building and maintaining positive working relationships with representatives of agriculture and agribusiness industries, federal and state agencies, and other organizations. The first Governor’s Agency Star award recipient exemplifies the central facet of the McDonnell administration: growing the economy and employing Virginians.
Maureen Collins, Virginia Employment Commission,
An Army veteran herself, Maureen Collins works with the Prince William County community to help employ veterans. Ms. Collins went above and beyond and formed the “Prince William Employer Coalition,” which connects defense contractors who need human capital resources with veterans who have the skill sets needed. In two months of 2013 alone, Collins placed 27 veterans in permanent positions with one contractor. The second Governor’s Agency Star award recipient exemplifies another central facet of the McDonnell administration: serving those who have served Virginia and the nation.
Career Achievement Award:
Ken Bailey, Department of Juvenile Justice
Ken Bailey’s career with the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice spans almost 45 years. During his time as a public servant, Mr. Bailey has had a profound impact on the lives of children and youth throughout Virginia. He has helped significantly improve the department’s process for conducting certification audits and monitoring visits to group homes, juvenile detention centers, and correctional centers. Under Mr. Bailey’s leadership, the department’s Certification Unit is now directly responsible for auditing the provision of medical care in juvenile correctional facilities. His leadership helps ensure that the conditions of juvenile confinement are safe and secure.
Customer Service Award:
Dorita Adams, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
As Boat Titling and Customer Service manager for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Dorita has contributed 31 years to promoting safe and enjoyable boating for the state of Virginia. She excels in her customer service role and manages a 27-person team that handles 173,000 transactions and 99,000 calls each year. In 2012, Dorita developed a partnership with DMV to allow hunting and fishing license purchases at over 100 DMV Customer Service Centers. Many customers, Virginia citizens, benefit directly from Dorita’s contributions thanks to her indispensable forward-thinking and dedication to public service.
Community Service and Volunteerism Award:
Dawn Eischen, Virginia Department of Transportation
Since joining VDOT in 2005, Dawn Eischen committed herself to service following major natural disasters. When a storm strikes, you will often find her being one of the first to volunteer, for the American Red Cross, wherever it may lead her. Dawn utilized her experience in public affairs and communications during the Hurricane Sandy aftermath to improve intra-agency communication with first responders. . For two weeks she played a key role in helping communicate critical information to the media and public in New York City. Dawn also spends her time visiting nursing homes with her therapy dog, Ginger, for the Richmond-area nonprofit Caring Canines. Her work over the last seven years strengthens the mission of Hope Animal-Assisted Crisis Response, a national group that sends teams to comfort disaster victims.
Health, Wellness, and Safety Award:
Lynn Ramsey, Department of State Police
Our state troopers work hard to protect our communities. Their demanding schedule and duties often leaves little time for them to maintain a proper diet and to schedule routine checkups. Lynn recognized this lapse while working as a Certified Nurse Practitioner for Virginia State Police and has thus dedicated the last 28 years to maintaining the officers’ health, wellness, and safety. Lynn manages the Annual Physical Survey Program which has helped detect early signs of cancer diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and other serious health conditions. She also works well after her contracted hours as the Exposure Control Officer to ensure law enforcement officers receive the protection and treatment they need after exposure to hazardous substances.
Lawrence N. Sewell, Virginia Tech
Lawrence Sewell, Computer Center Lead Engineer for Virginia Tech, helped design and build the infrastructure for the world-renowned Math Emporium for use by all Hokies. The Emporium is dedicated to helping students solidify classroom knowledge in a modern and accessible setting. Virginia Tech’s Math Emporium serves students 24-hours a day, seven days a week and serves more than 16,000 math students each year. Lawrence developed new IT systems and improved other outdated computers to help students master their math skills through practice quizzes and tests. He has built a model that has attracted both local and international attention for its work advancing STEM education in Virginia.
DNA Post-Conviction Project Team, Department of Forensic Science
This team, under the leadership of DFS Biology Program Manager Brad Jenkins, Central Laboratory Forensic Biology Supervisor Lisa Schiermeier-Wood, and Forensic Scientist Shelley Edler, works to ensure justice for all in the Commonwealth. DFS has spent the last decade analyzing historical crime scene evidence. As a result, Virginia leveraged cutting edge technology to lead the nation in identifying wrongful convictions through DNA testing. Several incarcerated suspects have been exonerated and cleared of wrongdoing thanks to the work of the Department of Forensic Science team.