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2016 Secretary's Employee Recognition Awards

Secretary’s Outstanding Achievement Award

This award recognizes an employee whose performance resulted in an outstanding achievement over the past year.

Maurice GardnerRecipient: Maurice Gardner
Job Title: Civil Engineer General / Subsidence Investigator
Location: California District Office / Northeast Regional Office
Description: Maurice has worked with DEP since 2010. He has served as a Civil Engineer Trainee and is now a Civil Engineer General. Maurice works at the California District Mining Office, but is known to lend a helping hand no matter where help is needed across the state. Maurice performed outstanding work to complete a special emergency project which remediated a human health and safety hazard. Because of Maurice’s work experience in designing, specifying and overseeing the installation of structural foundation support systems performed under Mine Subsidence Insurance claims, he was a key leader to provide oversight during the work of the “Wheatley Engine Shaft Subsidence” project in the Northeast Region. Thanks to his dedication, BAMR now has a relatively simple and low cost method of supporting structures on future projects where the stability of a structure is a concern. He developed a great working relationship with the operators of special equipment used during the project, and with the homeowners, who wrote a thank you note to the department to recognize the great work performed by Maurice on the successfully completed project.

Secretary’s Leadership Award

This award recognizes an employee who displays outstanding qualities in problem-solving and goal attainment.
Recipient: Laura Blood
Job Title: Environmental Protection Compliance Specialist
Location: Southwest Regional Office
Description: Laura has been with DEP since 2011. She has served as a Sanitarian, and is now an Environmental Protection Compliance Specialist. She is dedicated to the public health protection program, and completed a distribution study at a local water system. Because of this, she was selected to represent DEP and present the data at a national conference. Laura is a regional resource for iron and manganese interference with chlorine monitors and resetting calibration cures to correct it. She even provided the region with a hydrant sampler that she devised on her own.

Secretary’s Outstanding Team Award

This award is presented to a team whose performance resulted in an outstanding achievement over the past year.

Outstanding Team Award Winners

Recipient: Office of Chief Counsel: Ann R. Johnston, Assistant Counsel; Bureau of Laboratories: Aaren Alger, Chemist 4, Dwayne Burkholder, Microbiologist 2, Anthony P. Russo (Tony), Chief of Biological Services; Water Program: Kevin Anderson, Environmental Group Manager, Justin Blashaw, Water Program Specialist, Rod Nesmith, Environmental Program Manager
Description: This team is comprised of staff from the Office of Chief Counsel, Bureau of Laboratories and the Safe Drinking Water Program. The team worked together to conduct an in-depth and technically complex investigation of an accredited laboratory and successfully defended DEP’s suspension of the lab’s accreditation. By these actions, the team protected the public of Pennsylvania and the public across the country from a lab that was generating invalid data on drinking water. The efforts of the team stay true to DEP’s critical mission of protecting public health.

Secretary’s Dedication Award

This award recognizes an employee whose overall performance is consistently excellent or has accomplished great success in any special project or assignment.

Scott DudzicRecipient: Scott Dudzic
Job Title: Environmental Group Manager
Location: DEP Northwest Regional Office, Bureau of District Oil and Gas Operations
Description:Scott has worn several hats during his time with DEP since 1999. He started as a Water Quality Specialist, then served as a Water Pollution Biologist, was promoted to Water Pollution Biologist Supervisor, has served as an Emergency Response team member for the NWRO, and is now an Environmental Group Manager with the Bureau of District Oil and Gas Operations. Scott sets the bar high with his ability to find creative solutions. His work ethic, technical knowledge of the programs we implement, leadership skills, and ability to inspire and mentor others are consistently excellent. Scott developed the now-adopted compliance and enforcement approach used in the NWRO to prioritize cases and coordinate closely with conservation districts. He is key personnel for creating and maintaining relationships with many DEP partners.

Secretary’s Dedication Award

Jon SmoyerRecipient: Jon Smoyer
Job Title: Licensed Professional Geologist
Location: Cambria District Mining Office
Description: Jon has been with DEP since 1999. He serves as a Licensed Professional Geologist with BAMR. He investigates abandoned mine complaints and recommends action based on the condition and facts derived at a site. Jon has a wealth of knowledge and spearheaded a special project, “Tunnelton,” to develop a solution to prevent discharge from an old mine site from entering the Conemaugh River. He worked to monitor the mine pool and has recommended continual design changes to perfect the system.

Secretary’s Dedication Award

Joshua CrooksRecipient: Joshua Crooks
Job Title: Solid Waste Specialist
Location: Southeast Regional Office, Norristown
Description: Joshua has been with DEP since 2014. He is a Solid Waste Specialist with the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Program at the SERO. Joshua is recognized for his outstanding work with multiple projects in the HSCA Program. He has collected samples at private residences keeping their schedule in mind and coming in early or staying late to complete the task at hand. His efforts at the Easton Road PFC’s site and responding to 250 residences in a short time frame, shows true dedication to his work. His ability to empathize with residents, to bring joy to even the most mundane projects, and his willingness to learn is unmatched in the office. He is informative, organized, and is dedicated to protect the people and environment of the commonwealth. In his short time with the department, Joshua has already made a lasting impact on the HSCA program.