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NTIA Employees Win Departmental Awards for Outstanding Work

January 27, 2015 by Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling

Today, I’m happy to recognize a number of NTIA employees who received Department of Commerce Gold and Silver awards for their outstanding contributions. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews presented the awards at a special ceremony today.

We should all take pride in the important work we do at NTIA.  We are working hard day-to-day to ensure that the Internet remains an engine for economic growth and innovation;  to promote broadband access and adoption so that no one is left behind in the digital revolution;  and to manage the federal government’s use of spectrum, helping federal and commercial entities alike find new spectrum sharing opportunities. I am particularly pleased that so much of our work is being recognized by the Department as meeting the very high standards for Gold and Silver Medals. Congratulations to these fine public servants.

Here are the NTIA honorees:

Gold Medal Award winners:

John Verdi (Office of Policy Analysis and Development (OPAD)) – John received an individual Gold Medal in recognition for his excellence in successfully leading the first domestic multistakeholder privacy policy process. The effort was in support of the White House's Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy, and showcased the viability of multistakeholder processes for Internet policymaking. Companies have adopted or are beginning to implement the code of conduct for mobile app transparency, which has increased confidence in the multistakeholder approach and reinforced the Department's commitment to consumer privacy.

Gary Patrick , Delmon Morrison, Ernesto Cerezo, John Gifft and Peter Tenhula (Office of Spectrum Management (OSM) and Office of the Chief Counsel (OCC)) – This  group is recognized for extraordinary leadership in developing and implementing a new federal agency spectrum transition-planning process within the short deadlines assigned by the Middle Class Tax Relief Act. The group created tools, established coordination and collaboration groups, and technical panel procedures enabling timely development of federal agencies' transition plans to repurpose 40 MHz of spectrum for innovative wireless broadband services promoting economic development and facilitating the development of cutting-edge wireless technologies and services.

Binyam Tadesse, Brian Costello, Clement Townsend , Yu Sheng Chang , Hien Ly and Diem Nguyen (OSM) – The Systems Review Branch team of the Office of Spectrum Management is recognized for providing extraordinary customer service by adapting processes in response to a 51 percent increase in Federal agency requests for spectrum certifications, critical to agency mission requirements. The group, working with reduced staff, increased by 88 percent the number of reviews performed. They accomplished this while maintaining engineering quality and timeliness, even as federal requirements for radio technologies, particularly in support of national security, have grown rapidly in parallel with consumer broadband.

Silver Medal Awards:

Laura Breeden,  Karen Hanson, Emy Tseng , Gwendolyn Weaver , Francine Alkisswani and Bart Forbes (Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications) – This group is recognized for developing a Broadband Adoption Toolkit. It addresses the barriers to broadband adoption: access to affordable equipment and service, skills to use broadband, and knowledge of how broadband can improve quality of life. With links to more than 140 documents, tools, and examples, the Toolkit has been distributed by Google, Fiber to the Home, and others, and downloaded more than 7,500 times.

John Morris, Alfred Lee and Ari Schwartz (OPAD and NIST) – The group is recognized for preparing a seminal report outlining methods for incentivizing companies to adopt and improve their cybersecurity practices. The report involved a short 120-day turnaround, and has become the Administration's leading statement on Cybersecurity Incentives. The report challenged long-held conventions on this subject and established new ground by dispelling myths and presenting practical recommendations.

John McFall, Kenneth Taylor, Thomas Grimaldi, David Beckstein, Ronnie Snider,  Nathan Valery , Mark Powell  and Gregory Metz  (OSM) – This group is recognized for providing exceptional service by expeditiously and expertly reviewing, coordinating, and achieving an increase of 23,000 (18 percent) frequency assignment approvals, and meeting timeliness goals under reduced staff.  Their efforts accelerated frequency assignment approvals, enabling more rapid adoption and fielding of innovative radio systems. This facilitated more efficient access of scarce spectrum resources to meet critical federal missions such as national defense, air safety, and law enforcement.

Office of Spectrum Management OSM received an organizational Silver Award for extraordinary leadership in identifying a strategic need and applying cross-divisional resources and skills to develop, presenting for the first time a public web-based compendium of federal spectrum use information. This new tool makes available a comprehensive, detailed, up-to-date resource on federal spectrum use from 225 MHz to 5 GHz, giving industry stakeholders and technology developers a clear view of the potential opportunities and obstacles for accessing spectrum for wireless broadband.

Congratulations to all of the award winners.  I appreciate their hard work, and thank all NTIA employees for their continued dedication and efforts toward fulfilling our mission.