NRC Executives Receive Presidential Awards

“These outstanding executives have consistently demonstrated their integrity and commitment to excellence as public servants and have made substantial contributions to the strength of our agency,” said Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko.

 - Source NRC -

President Obama has selected eight senior managers at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for either Distinguished or Meritorious Executive Rank Awards for 2009.

“These outstanding executives have consistently demonstrated their integrity and commitment to excellence as public servants and have made substantial contributions to the strength of our agency,” said Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko.

This year’s Distinguished Executive Rank Awards go to David C. Lee, deputy inspector general, and Roy P. Zimmerman, director of the Office of Enforcement. Recipients of the Meritorious Executive Rank Awards are Miriam L. Cohen, Marvin L. Itzkowitz, David C. Lew, Keith I. McConnell, Loren R. Plisco, and Mark A. Satorius. The agency will recognize these individuals at its annual awards ceremony next month. Highlights of their valuable contributions to the agency are described below.

The Presidential Awards winners are chosen through a rigorous selection process. They are nominated by their agency heads, evaluated by boards consisting of private citizens, and approved by the President. The evaluation criteria focus on leadership and results. Less than one percent of the career Senior Executive Service corps receives the prestigious Distinguished Rank award each year, and less than five percent of the corps receives the Meritorious Rank Award.

Distinguished Executives

David C. Lee, with over 40 years in public service and serving as the NRC’s Deputy  Inspector General, completely overhauled the strategic planning process to ensure high impact audits and investigations that directly contribute to the agency’s safety and security mission. Audit and investigative reports issued by his organization have, over the years, been consistently recognized for superior performance by the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency, and contain meaningful insights and    recommendations regarding important issues that confront the agency. 

Roy P. Zimmerman, director of the Office of Enforcement, with over 31 years of government service, successfully led agency efforts to meet the challenges of enhancing security of nuclear power plants and materials in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He spearheaded the formation of the Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response and substantially increased the security posture of the entire nuclear industry through enhanced security measures required in areas such as physical protection infrastructure, security officer training and qualification, intrusion detection and assessment systems, cyber security and nuclear materials security. 

Meritorious Executives

Miriam L. Cohen has served as the deputy director, Office of Human Resources, since January 2008, as part of her 23-year career in the federal government. Under Cohen’s superior leadership, the NRC hired a record number of new employees, further streamlined the agency’s hiring processes and developed new training programs to retain its high performing workforce. As an executive at the Department of Commerce, Cohen improved government services through innovative uses of information technology. 

Marvin L. Itzkowitz, as NRC’s Assistant General Counsel for Administration and currently Associate General Counsel for Hearings, Enforcement, and Administration, has demonstrated outstanding leadership in providing legal support on employment, EEO, procurement and administrative law matters.  His advice helped ensure the availability of expertise needed by the NRC staff to respond to license applications for new nuclear power plants.  Legal guidance he provided identified innovative measures to hire and retain well-qualified NRC staff and contributed to NRC’s designation as the “Best Place to Work in the Federal Government.”

David C. Lew, director of Reactor Projects Division in NRC’s Region I Office in King of Prussia, Pa., has over 22 years with the agency during, which time he consistently provided exemplary leadership in promoting positive change, as evidenced by enhancements to reactor safety inspection and assessment implementation, identification of generic issues, implications, and significant collaboration and support of program improvements. He also supported the development of communication guidelines to meet the needs of external stakeholders and advancements in the agency’s fire research program.

Keith I. McConnell, deputy director of the Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection in the Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management Program, has an exceptional record of achievements in NRC’s decommissioning and uranium recovery activities.  He has been extraordinarily successful in leading the rapid expansion of the uranium recovery licensing program to keep pace with the worldwide resurgence in civilian nuclear power. He has also completed remediation of radioactively-contaminated sites undergoing decommissioning in a safe and timely manner. 

Loren R. Plisco, deputy regional administrator for construction, at NRC’s Region II Office (Atlanta, Ga.), has 27 years with NRC during which time his technical expertise, communication skills, and management competence have been widely recognized. Among his most recent successes, is the development and implementation of an improved construction inspection program to ensure future safe operation of the nation’s commercial nuclear power reactors and fuel cycle facilities. He was also instrumental in effectively implementing a revised reactor oversight program to ensure the safe operation of 104 nuclear power plants.

Mark A. Satorius, regional administrator in Region III (Lisle, Ill.), has spent a large portion of his 19 years at NRC ensuring that the nuclear plants operate safely and focusing agency resources on early problem identification and negative performance trends at poorly performing plants until performance improves. He has been consistently successful in completing complex tasks, promotes trust and respect among all stakeholders, especially the public, and created a highly effective reactor inspection program that has been a model for other regions. 

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