Congratulations to Interior's Customer Service Award winners

Last edited 09/29/2021

As part of the Independence Day celebration at the Department of the Interior, Secretary Jewell recognized the winners of the Federal Customer Service Awards for Interior. An Executive Order by President Obama in 2015 established and issued guidance for the Federal Customer Service Award Program to ensure all Federal agency managers work to identify and support improvements in the services provided to citizens and other customers. The Department of the Interior supports this mission and will utilize the annual program to recognize customer service excellence throughout all the bureaus.

Congratulations to all the winners. Thank you for your service and commitment.

National Wildfire Coordinating Group, Initiative Award

Boise, ID

For forty years, the National Wildfire Coordinating Group has provided leadership and guidance for a seamless response to wildland fire across the nation. Each year, over 30,000 wildland firefighters are guided by common standards, decisions, and actions orchestrated by NWCG's program management unit. This work integrates varying agency missions, statutes, and policies with the goal of delivering a single standard of excellence for all customers.

Native One Stop, Initiative Award


Native One Stop is a single government website where more than five million American Indians and Alaska Natives can learn about government resources and determine their eligibility for those programs. Due to the extensive cross-agency coordination required, no consolidated system previously existed. Today, 156 resources are found on the Native One Stop from seventeen federal agencies. 

Mary Pease, Individual Award

Phoenix, AZ

As Lead Telecommunications Equipment Operator for BIA’s Truxton Canon Agency, Ms. Pease supports services to three police departments as well as dispatch services for emergency medical, fire, and ranger needs. While clearing backlogs of monthly reports, she actively worked to repair a deteriorated relationship with the division’s main customer. In addition, Ms. Pease recruited candidates within the community to reverse critically low staffing levels.

Larry Primosch, Individual Award

Bishop, CA

As a Realty Specialist with the BLM Bishop, CA Field Office, Mr. Primosch facilitates complex environmental and cultural reviews on project proposals and always has a creative way to modify a project to reduce environmental impacts. He supported one notable broadband internet project that resulted in faster service to 36 communities, six Indian reservations, two military bases, 26,000 households and 2,500 businesses. In each instance, his outgoing and professional attitude, deep knowledge of the land, and ability to work directly with customers to protect sensitive resources results in fast turn-around on permits.

Recreation Mapping Project, Initiative Award


Over 61 million visitors recreate on public lands managed by the BLM, but online information about recreation opportunities has been limited, outdated, and not mobile-friendly. In response, BLM engaged the recreational community and partners to help gather and showcase opportunities, beginning with mountain biking. BLM staff developed processes for gathering and validating crowd-sourced data and procedures for merging it with existing information. Users are now helping BLM provide the public with high quality content about recreational activities on public lands, along with eye-catching visuals and interactive maps viewable on mobile devices.

Jesus Reynoso, Individual Award

Sacramento, CA

For the 2016 water year, Mr. Reynoso worked to incorporate an improved rate setting process to recover federal investment and improve certainty for water contractors of the Central Valley Project, a complex and evolving system. He iteratively prepared and revised proposals based on regular feedback from the users until they arrived at an agreement. His professionalism, extensive knowledge of the Central Valley Project, and in-depth understanding of the rate setting process helped him to earn their trust. Mr. Reynoso’s dedication and perseverance generated a revised process that was agreed upon and ultimately implemented.

Rain Emerson, Individual Award

Fresno, CA

While operating without staff for most of the year, Ms. Emerson completed fifty-six environmental reviews, a process that requires extensive coordination between multiple state and Federal agencies. By improving collaboration during the environmental review process, especially when faced with high priority drought projects and expedited timelines, Ms. Emerson was able to expedite projects that transferred and exchanged the limited amounts of available water. It is difficult to overestimate how important this water was to irrigators in the San Joaquin River Basin. In addition, Ms. Emerson spearheaded longer term analysis and multi-year coverage of reoccurring actions, which results in saved time, money, and staff resources. 

Water Project Coordinators, Initiative Award

Provo, UT

These eighteen employees volunteered to serve as a Water Project Coordinators within the Provo Area office. The initiative provides an avenue for BOR’s customers to actively interact with staff, provide valuable information to customers regarding Federal programs, policies, and procedures, and gives customers a single point of contact who will take the time to courteously and effectively take care of the customer’s needs.

Reclamation Acquisition and Assistance Initiative, Initiative Award


BOR’s Acquisition and Assistance Team improved bureau-wide mission support through timely, transparent, and accountable delivery of acquisitions and financial assistance. Beginning with an all-employee customer service survey, the team identified common areas for improvement. The team’s determination to break down barriers, identify and implement best practices, and develop innovative tools and solutions has substantially improved operations across BOR. These functions have a direct impact on water and power delivery, water conservation, drought mitigation, fish and wildlife habitat enhancement, and other key aspects of BOR’s mission delivery to the public.

Dana Dinkins, Individual Award

Oklahoma City, OK

Ms. Dinkins assumed responsibility for NIGC’s oversight review of the licensing process for seventeen gaming tribes while there was an agency vacancy. This time-intensive and regulatory-dependent task involved the timely intake, review, and processing of over 2,200 individual gaming license files. Ms. Dinkins developed a new process, which allowed all applications to receive a full review and appropriate response. Her efforts ensured the tribes were able to complete their regulatory licensing process without interruption and 2,200 individual employees’ eligibility to work in the tribal gaming facilities was not affected. 

David A. Larson, Individual Award 

Joshua Tree NP, CA

Despite strained resources and a 30% increase in park visitation, Mr. Larson provides exceptional front line customer service every time he interacts with visitors. His knowledge of park resources—including the myriad flora and fauna unique to Joshua Tree—ensures each visitor maximizes their park experience. In addition, he developed and led a training session on visitor center etiquette to help his colleagues understand and promote excellent customer service.

Brad Harris, Individual Award

Anchorage, AK

Captain Harris guided several complex maintenance projects to completion, including replacement of the fuel dispensing system, a defunct employee housing renovation, and the overdue need to coordinate a park-wide facility condition assessment. In one case, he brought a project stalled for two years to completion in less than two months, coordinating supplies, tasks, and specialty backcountry carpenters and electrician to travel to the northernmost office in the dead of the Alaska winter. Due to his interventions, backlog maintenance needs are being addressed, and employee morale has improved.  

Traffic Management Improvement, Initiative Award

Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP, CA

Increases in visitation and transaction processing time created bottlenecks at two entrances into Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. At peak season the lines could reach a mile in length and create a wait time approaching an hour. In response, management implemented changes to both physical routing and administrative processes, resulting in drastically reduced wait times. These actions improved the visitor’s experience in the parks as well as congestion in the local community, which reduced complaints from local businesses and the risk of motor vehicle accidents.

Sheela Farmer, Individual Award

Rapid City, SD

A Trust Officer for the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians, Ms. Farmer has assisted in the Cobell and Land Buy Back programs to the Great Plains tribes. In this capacity, she counsels individuals on their assets and is commended for augmenting her professionalism with a tailored and culturally-appropriate approach. As Ms. Farmer’s nominator noted, her “compassion and relentless persistence in bringing human need to the forefront is making a difference.”

Brian Ross, Individual Award

Tulsa, OK

Under Mr. Ross’s leadership, OST has developed a comprehensive, life-cycle financial education outreach initiative that utilizes culturally sensitive techniques and methods geared to Native American audiences.  He contributes a weekly article on personal finance and coordinates guest presenters for webinars made available to the public on OST's website.  In addition, Mr. Ross successfully partnered with the Pueblo of Isleta to host the April 2016 Native Youth Empowerment Symposium, which featured experiential learning activities designed to teach budgeting and other basic skills related to personal finance.  

Calvin Meyer, Individual Award

Rolla, MO

Mr. Meyer has provided outstanding communication and customer service in support of the USGS National Geospatial Program (NGP) and The National Map user community. He handles an average of 76 technical requests per month, helping over 900 customers annually.  Mr. Meyer draws on his extensive knowledge of NGP procedures and products and has researched or consulted with other experts to provide accurate, dependable, and thorough answers to users' questions. His correspondence is clear, highly professional, and timely and is an ideal model for outstanding communication between the USGS and its customers. 

USGS ShakeMap and ShakeCast Systems, Initiative Award


Drs. C. Bruce Worden and Kuo-wan Lin, as lead developers of the USGS ShakeMap and ShakeCast systems, respectively, have provided expert guidance on the science behind and the use of these critical post-earthquake information systems. The ShakeMap system provides a rapid (five to ten minute) view of the shaking in the epicentral region immediately after any significant earthquake around the world. The ShakeCast system provides further invaluable post-earthquake situational awareness for key users at critical facilities, lifelines, hospitals, and businesses. The information provided by ShakeCast enables users to prioritize and expedite response.

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