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2017 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.

Theia Hofstetter Recipient: Theia Hofstetter
Job Title: Water Program Specialist
Location: Wastewater Operations, Bureau of Clean Water
Description: Theia started with DEP as an intern in 1998. In total, Theia has been with DEP for nearly 13 years. Theia worked to transform the management and operation of DEP’s Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Trading program, improving transparency and ensuring the highest level of program integrity. With her dedicated work and foresight, she improved public access to information related to trades and credit availability while providing daily updates to participants. In addition, she implemented updates to all web materials, updates to all program forms, and stigmatically enhanced the internal review and audit program for both point and non-point sources in the Chesapeake Bay.

Secretary’s Leadership Award

This award recognizes an employee who displays outstanding qualities in problem-solving and goal attainment.
Virginia Cain Recipient: Virginia Cain
Job Title: Community Relations Coordinator
Location: Southeast Regional Office
Description: Virginia has been with DEP since August of 2015. Virginia has consistently gone above and beyond her duties as a Community Relations Coordinator (CRC). Her work to keep the public informed about the various goings-on surrounding the Mariner East 2 pipeline (ME2) are recognized. Virginia is a leader in collecting and responding to resident complaints and has identified new ways to communicate with lawmakers and local officials to reduce complaints and criticisms during the project. She has responded to resident concerns after coordinating with multiple program staff and legal counsel. Virginia’s actions since the day the ME2 permits were issued have been nothing short of exemplary.

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: Bureau of Information Technology: Phani Dasari, Information Technology Consultant, Stacey Gricks, Project Manager, Shannon Grimes, Information Technology Generalist, Venkat Kolla, Technical Specialist, Ryan Madara, Business Analyst, Kris Mayhue, Information Technology Consultant, Joe Olnick, Senior Business Analyst, Anandaprabhu Piedy, Senior Systems Analyst, Murali Sridhar, Technical Specialist, and Samantha Tregea, Business Analyst. Bureau of Office Services: Kelly Bacco, Administrative Officer, Marilyn Bahm, Administrative Assistant, and Kerrsia McCurdy, Administrative Assistant. Bureau of Active and Abandoned Mine Operations: William Allen, Chief, Division of Permitting and Compliance Gregory Aaron, Geologic Specialist, Bruce Carl, Environmental Group Manager, Sam Faith, Mineral Resources Program Specialist, Glenn Florence, Executive Assistant, Sharon Hill, Environmental Group Manager, Rock Martin, Technical Services Section Chief, and Daniel Sammarco, District Mining Manager.
Description: This team, comprised of staff from Bureau of Information Technology, Bureau of Office Services, and Bureau of Active and Abandoned Mine Operations, worked together to relaunch DEPs reentry into the e-permitting realm, starting with the mining programs’ bituminous large surface mining permit that began on Mar 30, 2016. The mining e-permit application includes an electronic public report that allows citizens and other agencies to review and comment on an application via a notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. The mining e-permit application was built in-house, and was DEP’s first step in shifting agency-wide permitting from paper to online applications, part of a major campaign to modernize technology at DEP.

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.

Michael Heilman Recipient: Michael J. Heilman
Job Title: Assistant Regional Counsel
Location: Southwest Regional Office
Description: Michael first started with DEP in 1987 with the Office of Chief Counsel in the Southcentral Office, when DEP was part of the PA Department of Environmental Resources (DER), and he later transferred to the SWRO in 1991. Michael, a 30-year DEP attorney who provides legal counsel to the Mining and Air Quality programs, delivers consistently exceptional quality work at a high level of productivity. His dedication and consistent performance have enabled the Office of Chief Counsel to achieve the highest standards of work-product quality before the courts, and have resulted in important accomplishments for his clients in dozens of matters each year. In addition to his case load, Michael takes his supervisory responsibilities extremely seriously. He frequently expends dozens of hours helping younger attorneys craft their legal briefs and hone their skills as litigators.

Secretary’s Dedication Award

Richard Staron Recipient: Richard Staron
Job Title: Licensed Professional Geologist
Location: Southeast Regional Office
Description: Richard has been with DEP since 2011. He serves as a Licensed Professional Geologist with the Environmental Cleanup and Brownfields Program at the Southeast Regional Office. Richard has distinguished himself in his determination to pursue a resolution to high-profile situations, and has helped to rectify serious human health risks and enhance the public’s perception of DEP. He has demonstrated a unique level of dedication coupled with a superior quality of work which has done much to advance DEP’s mission, overcome challenging situation, and set a great example for coworkers.

Secretary’s Community Service Award

This award honors an employee whose performance included a continued, recognizable service that has been performed for the greater good and benefit of her or his local community.

Lorena Cutshall Recipient: Lorena Cutshall
Job Title: Clerk Typist
Location: Southcentral Regional Office
Description: Lorena has been with the department since 1986 when DEP was part of the PA Department of Environmental Resources (DER). She started at Codorus State Park and has been wearing many hats since. Lorena has many accomplishments both in and outside of work and she really is a role model for her community service. She was recently awarded first place for “Effective Speaking” at the United States Women of Today conference in Las Vegas. Her topic was Rachel Carson and the impact that Carson and DEP have had on her life. She is a first responder for the American Red Cross and is an instructor for several of their trainings. She contributes her time to teaching English as a second language, her local church and food bank, Dress for Success and many other organizations. Lorena is co-founder of the first Pennsylvania Home for Human Trafficked Minors. Lorena recently started “Backpacks of Blessings” for Homeless Veterans. She also won the Jefferson Award for York County and was chosen to represent the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in Washington, DC for the Jackie Kennedy Onassis Award for Community Service.

2017 Secretary's Employee Recognition Awards

Winners of the 2017 Secretary's Employee Recognition Awards at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection share their thoughts about working with their talented colleagues at DEP.