Employee of the Year 2020 Winners


Chicago Federal Executive Board Announces 2020 Award Winners
Contact: 312-353-6790 / ChicagoFEB@gsa.gov
CHICAGO – June 29, 2020

The Chicago Federal Executive Board (FEB) is pleased to announce the winners of the 63rd Annual Federal Employee of the Year Awards.  Our annual awards program pulls from over 170 federal offices and agencies and nearly 50,000 federal employees.

The FEB awards represent the broad spectrum of roles and highlight the diversity of public service in our region. This year the FEB honors the innovation of emergency personnel, the heart of health care professionals and the dedication and ingenuity of our environmental and investigation teams.

This year, our program was paused due to the necessary and demanding federal response to COVID-19. However, as a public servant’s work is never paused, we want to honor the winners and focus on the continued steadfastness of our community.

Winners were selected by a panel of judges composed of local agency directors who did not have nominees in the category they reviewed. The judges identified employees who stood out for their extraordinary service to the public. In total, the FEB will celebrate over 300 nominees and nearly 60 winners across 5 categories who had the greatest impact in the region.

Congratulations to everyone, nominees and employees.


Career Achievement
Michelle Hoersch, Public Health Analyst, Department of Health and Human Services

Since 1996, Michelle Hoersch’s work in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has championed issues impacting underserved populations, and under recognized, predisposing factors, to raise visibility and increase knowledge of issues foundational to the health and wellbeing of women and girls. Incarcerated women, particularly those preparing for prison release and reentry, and the impact of trauma on women and girls, are among them. Recognizing the lack of information, Michelle developed initiatives to create guidance for professionals positioned to help women prepare for reentry, and an online interactive training curriculum for health care providers on trauma-informed approaches to care.

Citizens Services Employee / Team
FEMA Region V Public Assistance Group, Federal Emergency Management Agency 

The FEMA Region V Public Assistance (PA) Group has conducted its 2019 operations with exceptional dedication to the public. The PA Group is charged with implementing the Federal response to state, tribal, and local governments to assist in rebuilding damaged infrastructure. While short-staffed, the Group responded to a record 12 Presidential Declared Disasters in 2018 & 2019. The Federal employees of the PA Group effectively delivered grant funding and regulatory guidance to ensure impacted communities not only recovered but thrive with resilient infrastructure facilities ready to protect the Region’s citizens. 

Team Members: Rommel Aquino, Helen Badesch, Anne Bansley, Ian Becherer-Gerrie, Catherine Boganey, Janessa Dixon, Kevin Duffy, Anne Ginzkey, Stacie Grathen, Jennifer Grobe, Irish Hilson-Taylor, Raymond Iehl, John Kerrigan, John Kinley, Julie Kokolus, Jacob Lippner, Valeria Nieves, James  Opoka, Jessica Price, Eric Punzalan, Amanda Ratliff, Pamela Ruble, Iryna Safatiuk, Hameed Shabila, Jonathan Sterns, Edward Tolle, Lee Traeger, Catherine Warren

Homeland Security and Law Enforcement Team
Operation Tiburon Sicario,
Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, IRS Criminal Investigation
United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois
Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago Division

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago Division and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation’s Chicago Field Office partnered on an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) case which led to the prosecution of high-level Sinaloa Cartel targets. The investigation resulted in 43 indictments for narcotics and money laundering charges of cartel associates, including Sinaloa cartel leadership.

IRS Criminal Investigation: Jennifer Guest, Vincent Zehme
Department of Justice: Erika Csicsila, Andrew Erskine, Sean Franzblau, and other DOJ Employees
Drug Enforcement Administration Employees

John F. Kennedy Leadership
Raymond Leung Commanding Officer, Naval Station Great Lakes 

In 2019, CAPT Raymond Leung led his Command through a series of challenges that required decentralized execution of complex programs by the 630 personnel assigned to Naval Station Great Lakes (NAVSTA). The programs provided critical support to the 20,000 Sailors, Marines, Soldiers and Civilians that live and work abroad at NAVSTA. In FY19, they turned 38,963 citizens into Sailors at the Navy’s only boot camp and provided technical training for 11,120 enlisted surface warfare specialists. The Navy would not be able to put ships, submarines and aircraft to sea without the Sailors trained at NAVSTA.

Management Excellence
Adrienne Fisher MBA BA, Training Specialist and Founding Dean, Supervisor University,  Edward Hines, Jr. Veterans Affairs Hospital

Ms. Fisher is being nominated for creating Hines VA Supervisor University. Supervisor University is a year-round, organization-wide hub for scheduling, communicating, and implementing mandatory and elective training on topics of need and interest, for supervisors. The spearheading and development of Supervisor University is attributable to Ms. Fisher’s can-do attitude, understanding, and networking talent, to understand that the ongoing educational needs of supervisors are not only needed by each individual supervisor, but need to be assigned priority importance by the organization. Ms. Fisher worked with the Hospital Director, Executive Leadership Team, Organizational Development Board ,and Human Resources to make this much-needed vision into a reality. Ms. Fisher now continues her progressive work at VA Healthcare Leadership Talent Institute.

Spirit of Service (Federal Partner)
EPA Amphenol Corrective Action Site Team

For demonstrating empathy, excellence and perseverance necessary to protect human health and the environment associated with a release of chlorinated volatile organic compounds in Franklin, Indiana.  The Amphenol Team championed novel approaches to risk assessments, risk communication, and risk management to establish trust and productive relationships between federal and local stakeholders.

Team Members: Dimitri Acosta, Gillian Asque, Carolyn Bury, Motria Caudill, Jose Cisneros, Rafael Gonzalez, Tammy Moore, Conor Neal, Lucy Stanfield, Bhooma Sundar, Phillippa Cannon, Kristin Safakas, Francisco Arcaute, Conor Neal

Spirit of Service (External Partner)
Jaime Velasquez, President, GCRC

In his role as Government College Relations Council (GCRC) President, Jaime has worked to expand the reach and impact of the GCRC. Forging a new partnership with the Volcker Alliance, Jaime is working to broaden GCRC’s footprint by assisting in two pilot programs in Kansas City, Missouri and Austin, Texas. This partnership intends to establish the college-to-government pipeline and build coalitions similar to that of the GCRC’s fifty-plus year legacy. By working with a diverse membership – students, universities, federal agencies, state, city, and local organizations – Jaime is able to recognize the value in interagency/public-private partnerships. Jaime also continues to support the FEB through the GCRC/FEB Fellowship Program; a year-long internship in which the FEB and GCRC share an intern. It is a symbiotic relationship where GCRC receives logistical and administrative support for their events and the FEB offers an inside look at government work, providing exposure to multiple agencies and initiatives.



Federal Executive Boards coordinate programs between federal agencies outside the beltway. Through the combined efforts of our regional senior federal leadership, we:

  •           Provide communication during emergencies,
  •           Foster collaboration among Federal agencies, state, and local governments
  •           Connect to our community through outreach projects
  •           Develop local training and workplace solutions for our workforce, including mediation
  •           Facilitate large interagency projects


For more information about the Chicago FEB, please visit: https://chicago.feb.gov/

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