Governor Wolf Honors 49 State Employees for Excellence in Public Service

May 20, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced the recipients of the Governor’s Awards for Excellence and praised all state employees for their dedication to public service. The awards will be presented today at a ceremony in Harrisburg.

“The state employees being recognized today exemplify the innovation, drive and can-do spirit that are transforming our government to deliver better results and service,” said Governor Wolf. “Our commonwealth is a better place because of the extraordinary accomplishments of these state employees.”

“The Governor’s Awards for Excellence celebrate the best among us as state employees,” said Secretary of Administration Michael Newsome. “I want to congratulate all of our nominees for their exceptional contributions.”

Twenty-three state agencies submitted a total of 73 nominations prepared by their employees, with four individual and five group nominations selected as winners for this year’s awards.

Department of Transportation – Route 30 Landslide Team
Michele Acitelli, Michael Adams, Robert Byrnes, Jacqueline Evans, Jonathan Moses, John Myler, Jeffrey Powell, Steve Reyes, Dina Salemi and Douglas Thompson

For their swift action in response to a catastrophic landslide that destroyed a section of state Route 30, near Pittsburgh, and displaced 34 residents. The employees took responsibility for the well-being of affected individuals and coordinated repairs to the road, which carries 25,000 vehicles per day. Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the PennDOT employees, a project that would normally take two to three years was finished in a few months.

Office of Administration and Department of Transportation – Electronic Payroll Mobile App Team
Shawn Crane, Jamie Dietrich, David Hou, Neil Leibig, Michael Long, Kimberly Martin, Kevin Novinger, Philip Petrina and Doreen Wallen

For developing a mobile app that is generating an estimated $7.5 million in productivity by streamlining and modernizing payroll processing for highway maintenance workers. The app has reduced errors by 70 percent, while enabling PennDOT’s 1,500 foremen to enter daily work hours for their crew members 30 minutes faster than before.

Pennsylvania State Police – Statewide Radio Network Project
Robert Barnham

For leading upgrades to the commonwealth’s public safety radio system and pioneering a shared services model to increase its use. The ongoing upgrade to open source technology will reduce costs to purchase radios for first responders. The shared services model allows local governments to leverage the radio system at a savings to their taxpayers while increasing interoperability across jurisdictions.

Department of Revenue – Corporate Clearance Process Improvement Team
Ronald Felty, Owen Hannah, John Klinger, James Lavelle, R. Scott Pfeffer and Darla Ptaszek
For using “Lean” process improvement techniques to dramatically reduce wait times for businesses requesting corporate clearances and bulk sale certificates from the department. By utilizing a case management system and changing how incoming requests are prioritized, the employees have reduced wait times by 64 percent and a backlog of cases by 78 percent, while generating $268,000 in annual cost savings.

Department of Labor and Industry – Unemployment Compensation Fictitious Employer Fraud Team
Brian Garrity, Robert Jacobs, Pam Keating, Sean McIntyre, Lucjan Pelka, Jason Reuter, Robert Sabol, Douglas Shamonsky, Michael Somishka and Timothy Van Cleve

For preventing more than $10 million in potential losses to the unemployment compensation fund through fraud committed by fictitious businesses and employees attempting to claim benefits. The team has created resources to collect tips from staff and employers, developed software to scan new employer registrations and tax information for potential fraud indicators and monitored hundreds of suspicious accounts.

Department of Labor and Industry – Youth Workforce Development
Tracey Turner

For placing 735 young people into career-focused internships and coordinating the administration of nearly $75 million in statewide youth workforce programs annually. The interns, who ranged from 16-24 years old, gained valuable work experience and 90 were hired into permanent positions. Turner was recently named deputy director of the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board.

Department of Human Services, Department of Labor and Industry and Office of Administration – Child Support / CareerLink Partnership
Matthew Golden, Georgia Lyons, Kevin Lyter, Ruben Pachay, Robert Patrick, Dorraine Rauch, Kathleen Schintz, Raymond Scott, Steven Wolf and Jesse Zerbe

For enabling over 5,000 unemployed parents to find work so they can meet their child support obligations. The team collaborated on a project to integrate the child support program website and case management system with the PA CareerLink job-matching platform. In the first year, over 1,700 non-custodial parents found employment and are now making child support payments. The approach is now a national model for other states.

Department of Environmental Protection – Electric Vehicle Strategy and Programs
Mark Hand

For helping to position Pennsylvania to reap the economic and environmental benefits of electric vehicles. He led a broad coalition of stakeholders and policymakers to develop a statewide strategy, secured federal funding for charging stations along highways and developed programs to drive adoption.

Department of Corrections – Facilities Management and Innovation
Norman Klinikowski
For the cost-effective and innovative maintenance of 25 state correctional institutions (SCIs) and a training facility, including the salvage and repurposing of assets from SCI Pittsburgh; the implementation of state-of-the-art security equipment at SCI Phoenix and the outfitting of two other facilities with energy-efficient lighting and power to save millions each year.

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