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Secretary's Excellence Awards

Secretary's Community Service Award

This award recognizes any employee whose performance included a continued, recognizable service that has been performed for the greater good and benefit of their local community without a loss in normal job performance. This could include community involvement within or outside the employee's assigned duties.

Recipient: Sean Robbins 

Job Title: Assistant Regional Counsel

Location: Northeast Regional Office

Description: Sean truly plays an active role in his community. He is an engaged board member for several organizations in his community including the Wilkes-Barre YMCA, the Anthracite Scenic Trails Association and the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Luzerne County Transportation Authority where he advocates for bicycle safety. His passion for physical fitness doesn't stop here; he also spends up to six days a week training for triathlons! His dedication to community service is one of many things that make him a true asset to DEP and highly deserved of this distinguished award. 

Secretary's Leadership Award

This award recognizes the leadership of any employee who displays outstanding leadership qualities in problem-solving and goal attainment.
Recipient: Nick Lazor

Job Title: Enviromental Program Manager

Location: Central Office

Description: Nick leads staff that operate a large, complex and widely distributed ambient air monitoring network. Through his efforts, the worked has expanded into remote areas of the state. He has also led the charge on several high-profile special monitoring studies, despite dwindling resources and vacancies in staffing. However, this is only one part of Nick's accomplishments in leadership. He also serves the country in the Army National Guard where he is Sergeant Major assigned as the Senior Engineering Noncommissioned Officer and Protection Warfighting Function Sergeant Major with the 28th Infantry Division Headquarters. In this role, he has helped to protect U.S. citizens while serving out tours in Kosovo and Iraq, in addition to participating in relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  

Secretary's Dedication Award

This award is presented to a non-supervisory employee whose overall performance is consistently excellent or has accomplished great success in any special project or assignment. The recipient shows initiative and the ability to overcome unusual problems and added responsibilities to complete the task while maintaining a level of performance excellence.Michael (Josh) Lookenbill, recipient of the Secretary's Dedication Award

Recipient: Michael "Josh" Lookenbill 

Job Title: Water Program Specialist

Location: Central Office

Description: Josh has shown exemplary dedication to DEP through his ability to multi-task and oversee several important functions of the department. He works with regional office staff to conduct field surveys and special studies of various waterways, serves on the Fish Consumption Technical Advisory Committee and, most notably, led the charge on DEP's multi-year Susquehanna River Study. Through the study, he has been able to expand DEP's use and deployment of continuous in-stream monitors to enhance data collection during this important analysis. His leadership and dedication have been invaluable assets as this study is unlike any other the department has undertaken before.

Secretary's Outstanding Achievement Award – Team

The award is presented to a team whose performance included a singular outstanding achievement in a certain facet of work over the last 12 months. 

Recipients: "St. Michaels Discharge"

Michael Bodnar (not pictured), Joel Koricich, Bill Plassio, Rich Morrison, Robert Dospoy (not pictured), Mike Sokolow


Joel Koricich Bill Plassio
Rich Morrison Mike Sokolow

Location: Various

Description: This team made what once seemed impossible possible. By working together, they were able to create an innovative Consent Order and Agreement that allowed Rosebud Mining Company to treat the St. Michaels Discharge while harvesting nearby coal reserves in Cambria County. The agreement itself was groundbreaking; the first of its kind that included specific requirements for the mining company to document its pollution reductions. The successful execution of this agreement eliminated a major source of acid mine drainage into the Little Conemaugh River while allowing Rosebud to safely mine the coal reserves adjacent to the St. Michael discharge.

Secretary's Outstanding Achievement Award – Individual

The award is presented to any employee whose performance included a singular outstanding achievement in a certain facet of work over the last 12 months.Rich Beam, recipient of the Secretary's Outstanding Achievement Award - Individual

Recipient: Richard Beam 

Location: Cambria District Office

Description: Rich Beam has transformed the way DEP treats acid mine drainage. After noticing a change in water chemistry at an acid mine drainage treatment plant in Cambria County, he determined that the treatment methods needed to change in order to properly address the new water chemistry. What resulted was a new means to treat certain types of drainage by using peroxide instead of lime. This treatment innovation has resulted in an annual savings of more than $600,000 at five different DEP-owned treatment plants. Even though this project was outside the realm of Rich's regular duties, he felt it was important enough to go above and beyond to properly remediate these mine-influenced waters.