More than 13 million doses of COVID vaccine have been administered in PA. All adults and adolescents age 12-17 are eligible for vaccination. Learn more.

More than 13 million doses of COVID vaccine have been administered in PA. All adults and adolescents age 12-17 are eligible for vaccination starting April 13. Learn more.

Governor Wolf Recognizes DGS Employees with Awards for Excellence for Work on COVID-19 and the 2020 Election

May 06, 2021

Pennsylvania Governor Tom recognized two individuals and one group of employees from the Pennsylvania Department of General Services for their commitment and dedication to providing exemplary services to other state agencies and the citizens of commonwealth during a very active year that saw the emergence of COVID-19 and the largest presidential election in history. They are among 51 employees from 10 agencies who were honored at a virtual awards ceremony on May 5 for their exceptional accomplishments in 2020.

“When the citizens of the commonwealth needed them the most, these employees answered the call without hesitation and went above and beyond to ensure that our state government was able to be responsive and effective,” said Governor Wolf. “Their achievements, many times in the face of adversity, are truly outstanding and inspiring.”

“2020 presented us with many challenges that required innovation and creative solutions to effectively communicate with the public on a number of issues,” Pennsylvania Department of General Services Secretary Curt Topper noted. “At a time when effective communication to the public could not have been more important, the awardees from Commonwealth Media Services went above and beyond to assist in successful efforts to inform the public on COVID-19 prevention and voter preparedness for the 2020 election.”

Commonwealth Media Services (CMS) employees Yasmin Coleman, Mark Dubravec, Derick Esch, Yvonne Murphy, David Pinskey, Michael Rathfon, Angela Senft, Ryan Wickersham and Daniel Zampogna teamed up to develop innovative ways to effectively communicate with the public in a COVID-19 environment that ultimately resulted in two of the most effective marketing campaigns in the agency’s history.

Under very tight time constraints, CMS assisted the Pennsylvania Department of Health with a general statewide COVID-19 campaign, and a campaign focused on Latino and African American audiences. The especially successful “PA Unites” campaign produced 32 million digital impressions, 172,000 website clicks and 8.1 million video views. The “COVID Alert” campaign produced 35 million digital impressions, 343,000 website clicks and 2.1 million video views.

The “Ready to Vote” campaign saw CMS staff expertly use technology and in-house resources to assist the Pennsylvania Department of State with messaging encouraging the public to vote and how to do so. The result was 306,000 website clicks, 48 million video views, 164 million digital impressions and record voter turnout.

“To receive one Governor’s Award for Excellence is truly an honor, but to receive three awards is a testament to the hard work and contributions our employees are making to improve state government,” Topper said. “In addition to the group of employees at Commonwealth Media Services, we are fortunate to have the outstanding efforts of two individuals within the Department of General Services recognized.”

Hayes Kelly, Bureau of Supplies and Surplus Operations, was recognized for his set-up and management of the Commonwealth’s Critical Stockpile Warehouse. The Commonwealth’s combined Department of General Services, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and Department of Health warehouse has been and continues to be used for receiving, inventorying and distributing supplies used for COVID-19 response efforts since the pandemic began.

Under Kelly’s management, the warehouse has distributed a combined total of 32.1 million N95 masks, safety gloves, safety gowns, procedure face masks, face shields and units of hand sanitizer – with a combined total of more than 61.6 million of those items in reserve to ensure the commonwealth is prepared in the future.

Matthew Bembenick, director, Commonwealth Office of Enterprise Wireless Management, was recognized for his repeated commitment and willingness to take on new duties to protect Pennsylvania’s financial assets, and more importantly, the health and safety of our citizens

When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in early 2020, Bembenick was tapped to oversee the $6.3 million implementation of Alternative Care Facilities at 3 sites. In total, 930 additional beds were planned and 680 of them made available in a period of a few weeks. Just as he oversaw the implementation, he also was responsible for the decommissioning of the ACFs as well.

Once the ACF project was completed, Bembenick was yet again tapped to serve as the Project Manager for the PPE Stockpile project. In this role, he ensured coordination between various internal DGS bureaus and offices to create a sustainable supply-chain operation and warehousing operation for sister commonwealth agencies that are large-scale PPE users. He was responsible for creating the commonwealth’s initial stockpile analysis which is updated monthly and is still the plan used to ensure 60-day readiness response.

“The employees being honored with the Governor’s Award for Excellence are truly indicative of the great work being done throughout the Pennsylvania Department of General Services and I congratulate them,” Topper said. “But the pride we have in our employees is not limited to just those being honored. We’re proud of all the members of DGS whose commitment to serving our customer agencies and the citizens of Pennsylvania has not wavered since day one of the pandemic.”

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