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2018 Secretary's Employee Recognition Awards

Dedication Award

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

Secretary McDonnell and Sam Harmon.jpgRecipient: Samantha Harmon
Job Title: Air Quality Program Specialist
Location: Bureau of Air Quality (RCSOB)
Description: Samantha has been with DEP for 11 years. She serves as an Air Quality Program Specialist in the Bureau of Air Quality. 

Samantha is a key employee implementing the distribution of $118 million to third parties in accordance with the federal Volkswagen settlement for Pennsylvania. Since 2015, she has been working on this challenge against Volkswagen and related automobile manufactures who were caught using unlawful defeat devices in their emission control systems. Samantha anticipates problems, proactively finds solutions, and accomplishes this demanding assignment atop her regular heavy workload. Samantha and her team’s successful work developing and implementing Pennsylvania’s Mitigation Plan will ensure DEP’s distribution of the moneys well within the allotted 10-year period. 

Dedication Award

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

Secretary McDonnell and Dustin ShullRecipient: Dustin Shull
Job Title: Water Program Specialist
Location: Bureau of Clean Water (RCSOB)
Description: Dustin has been with DEP for eight years. He previously worked as a Water Pollution Biologist 2 before his current position as Water Program Specialist. 

Dustin’s dedication and commitment to the protection of water quality and advancing the mission of DEP has been exemplary during his career with DEP. He has demonstrated excellence by creating resources and applications that provide transparency to the public. Two examples include documentation of DEP’s leading scientific methods and protocols through publication of collection and assessment methods in peer reviewed scientific journals including DEP’s benthic macroinvertebrate story map, and the draft 2018 Pennsylvania Integrated Water Quality Assessment Report.

Community Service Award

This award recognizes 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 without a loss in normal job performance. This could include community involvement within or outside the employee’s assigned duties.

Secretary McDonnell and Victoria ParkerRecipient: Victoria Parker
Job Title: Radiation Health Physicist II
Location: Southeast Regional Office (SERO)
Description: Victoria has been with DEP for four years. 

On an April Sunday while Victoria was driving to Easter dinner, she spotted a billboard that would change her life, as well as a complete stranger’s, forever. The billboard was seeking someone to consider donating a kidney. After some preliminary testing it was found that Victoria was an “altruistic donor.” Victoria donated her kidney on December 4, 2018. Her sentiments were direct. “My leave time will eventually grow, just as my one remaining kidney will grow to compensate for the loss of its twin, but this person will be off dialysis, and knowing that makes it worth it for me.” Victoria has always been a valuable and giving soul at work and at home. In this endeavor, she goes the extra mile by donating a kidney and saving a life for someone else.

Outstanding Team Award

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

GIS teamRecipients: CEDC Geospatial Technologies Division: Colleen Reismiller, Rekha Teru, Carrie Tropasso, and John Watson. Office of Oil and Gas Management: Andrew Klinger, Andrea McGill, Chad Meyer, John Yanc, Andrea Mullen, Stewart Beattie, Richard Swank, and Roger Dietz.
Oil and Gas teamDescription: This team is comprised of staff from the Conservation and Environment Delivery Center (CEDC) Geospatial Technologies Division and the Office of Oil and Gas Management. The team worked together to develop and implement upgrades to data collection and analysis processes in permitting and inspections for oil and gas wells and earth land disturbance in Pennsylvania. They developed a product that would bring about efficiency in permit reviews, inspection rates, and cost savings. They developed a standard GIS template for all Oil and Gas Program staff, and a GIS collector application for use in the field that will give inspectors online and offline capability to critical map data, forms, and geographic data creation. These upgrades will be the foundation to fixing future data accuracy issues, creating new datasets that will increase inspection rates as well as improving public transparency of geographic data of Oil and Gas infrastructure in Pennsylvania.

Leadership Award

This award recognizes an employee who displays outstanding qualities in problem-solving and goal attainment.

Secretary McDonnell and Lauren FraleyRecipient: Lauren Fraley
Job Title: Community Relations Coordinator
Location: Southwest Regional Office (SWRO)
Description: Lauren has been with DEP since January of 2017. Lauren has consistently gone above and beyond her duties as a Community Relations Coordinator. Lauren’s consistent and persistent leadership in the face of controversial and difficult topics is recognized.

Throughout her tenure at DEP, Lauren has addressed every challenge that has been presented to her especially through her work on addressing media inquiries and residential concerns. 

Lauren has shown great leadership in overseeing public and media outreach regarding the proposed Shell Flacon Ethane pipeline, which will run through three counties in her region. The pipeline and the petrochemical complex it will feed are both controversial. Lauren’s calm attitude and professional demeanor have been critical in explaining DEP’s role in the project and preventing misinformation and hyperbole to spread. Many duties that she performs week in and week out show her dedication and leadership within the department to coordinate messages with staff, arrange and facilitate public meetings and hearings, and anticipate media and residential concerns so that senior DEP staff are prepared before they’re even asked.

Leadership Award

This award recognizes an employee who displays outstanding qualities in problem-solving and goal attainment.

Secretary McDonnell and Melissa CrowRecipient: Melissa Crow
Job Title: Sanitarian Supervisor
Location: Northwest Regional Office (NWRO)
Description: Melissa has been with DEP for eight years. She has excelled at the enormous task of training, supervising, and leading a large group of new employees in the Safe Drinking Water Program.

Melissa is very organized and has been training new environmental trainees for seven years. She gives each trainee her individual attention in a timely manner and encourages all to help each other. She creates useful PowerPoints and training examples to cover treatments or inspection problems that one may encounter. Her tireless dedication to her subordinates has allowed them to excel and stay on track with their individual training plans. She is an excellent instructor who is passionate about providing the best opportunities to develop each individual’s breadth of knowledge regarding the safe drinking water program. With all new staff, she has managed to stay ahead of the curve with inspections, complaints, and compliance monitoring through superb training, leadership, and dedication to the team.

Outstanding Achievement Award

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

Secretary McDonnell and Ryan DeckerRecipient: Ryan Decker
Job Title: Environmental Engineer
Location: Clean Water Program, Southwest Regional Office
Description: Ryan has been with DEP since 2006. Ryan’s National Pollutants Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and Clean Water expertise is highly regarded by both regional and central office program staff. His diligence, professionalism and unwavering precision represents the standard of excellence in the Clean Water Program. 

When the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was sued by the Sierra Club in June of 2017 to renew 10 expired coal-fired power plant permits, Ryan successfully fulfilled DEP’s obligations by issuing draft permits for four of these facilities within one year. The project required him to work hundreds of extra hours on nights and weekends. These facilities: Keystone Generating Station, Homer City Generating Station, Bruce Mansfield Generating Station, and the Cambria Cogeneration Plant comprise more than 6,000 megawatts of Pennsylvania-generated electricity. This is an exceptional permitting effort not only due to its environmental significance and benefit to the citizens of the Commonwealth; but additionally, for the level of technical expertise required of any individual to complete even one of these environmental reviews.

Dedication Award, Posthumous Award

Dave Shetron's family and supportersRecipient: David Shetron
Job Title: Legislative Aide
Location: RCSOB
Description: Dave worked at DEP for 11 years. Personally, and professionally, Dave demonstrated a consistent level of superior performance, often taking on additional responsibilities outside the scope of his job description, working diligently during and beyond normal working hours, and all while exceeding the standards of quality and quantity. He regularly took the initiative and demonstrated a commitment to self-improvement, a strong work ethic, and a dedication to team work. 

Norman and Anita Thatcher, Dave’s grandparents, accepted his award on his behalf.