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Office of the Secretary
May 28, 2008
Joan Moody,

Secretary Kempthorne Presents Presidential and Departmental Awards to Interior Executives

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today presented President’s Rank Awards or Secretary’s Executive Leadership Awards to 36 Senior Executive Service employees of the Department of the Interior at a ceremony at the main Interior building.

Secretary Kempthorne said the awards recognize executives who exemplify Interior’s core values—“Stewardship for America with Integrity and Excellence.”

“I am proud of this department and all our employees,” the Secretary noted. “In every area of our vast mandate – from endangered species conservation to offshore oil and gas development to the world’s finest system of national parks – you serve the American people with distinction.”

Presidential Rank Awards:

Secretary Kempthorne presented Presidential Rank Awards to thirteen employees. Each year, the President of the United States recognizes and celebrates a small group of career Senior Executives and Senior Professionals with the President's Rank Award for exceptional long-term accomplishments. Winners of this prestigious award are strong leaders, professionals, and scientists who achieve results and consistently demonstrate strength, integrity, industry, and a relentless commitment to excellence in public service.

There are two categories of rank awards: Distinguished and Meritorious. Award winners are chosen through a rigorous selection process. They are nominated by their agency heads, evaluated by boards of private citizens, and approved by the President. The evaluation criteria focus on leadership and results. All recipients receive a framed certificate signed by the President.

Secretary's Executive Leadership Awards:

The Secretary's Executive Leadership Award, an annual career SES performance honor, was established by the Interior Department's Executive Resources Board to recognize superior accomplishment of performance objectives and excellence in leadership. Career SES members are recommended for the Secretary's Executive Leadership Award with the concurrence of the appropriate assistant secretary. Final selections are made by the Executive Resources Board.

Criteria for the Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards include extraordinary accomplishment of the performance elements that comprise the SES member's annual performance plan and demonstration of excellence in leading change, driving results, leading people, achieving business acumen, and building coalitions and communication.

Alphabetical Listing of Awardees

Presidential Rank

  1. James F. Devine Distinguished Senior Professional (ST),
    Senior Advisor for Science Applications, U.S. Geological Survey
  2. Mary L. Kendall Meritorious Executive (SES),
    Deputy Inspector General, Office of the Inspector General
  3. Suzette M. Kimball Meritorious Executive (SES),
    Director of the Eastern Region, U.S. Geological Survey
  4. P. Patrick Leahy Distinguished Executive (SES),
    (Retired) Acting Director/ Associate Director for Geology, U.S. Geological Survey
  5. Thomas P. Lonnie Meritorious Executive (SES),
    State Director - Alaska Office, Bureau of Land Management
  6. Mamie A. Parker Meritorious Executive (SES) (Retired),
    Assistant Director for Fisheries and Habitat Conservation,
    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  7. Robert O. Rye Meritorious Senior Professional (ST),
    Research Geologist, U.S. Geological Survey
  8. Carl B. Schreck Meritorious Senior Professional (ST),
    Research Fishery Biologist, U.S. Geological Survey
  9. Paul B. Smyth Meritorious Executive (SES),
    Deputy Solicitor, Office of the Solicitor
  10. Debra E. Sonderman Meritorious Executive (SES),
    Director, Office of Acquisition and Property Management
    Office of Policy Management and Budget
  11. Willie R. Taylor Meritorious Executive (SES),
    Director, Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance
    Office of Policy Management and Budget
  12. Steve Thompson Distinguished Executive (SES),
    Regional Director – California, Nevada
    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  13. Sandra L. Weisman Meritorious Executive (SES),
    Associate Director, Financial Management Directorate
    Office of Policy Management and Budget

Secretary’s Executive Leadership Award Recipients


  1. Abraham E. Haspel, Assistant Deputy Secretary, Office of the Secretary
  2. Nina Rose Hatfield, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Policy Management and Budget
  3. Pamela K. Haze, Director, Office of Budget
  4. Melinda J. Loftin, Director, Office of Ethics, Office of the Solicitor
  5. William McDonald, Regional Director, Pacific Northwest, Bureau of Reclamation
  6. Grayford F. Payne, Chief Financial Officer, Indian Affairs
  7. Elaine Y. Zielinski, State Director – Arizona, Bureau of Land Management


  1. Henry R. Bisson, Acting Senior Advisor for Alaska Affairs; Deputy Director of Operations, Bureau of Land Management
  2. Debbie Lynn Clark, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Indian Affairs
  3. Lawrence J. Jensen, Deputy Solicitor
  4. Jane Lyder, Legislative Counsel, Office of Congressional/Legislative Affairs,Office of the Secretary
  5. Pamela R. Malam, Associate Director for Human Capital, U.S. Geological Survey
  6. Robert W. Middleton, Ph.D., Director, Indian Energy Resources Development, Indian Affairs
  7. Mary Jane A. Miller, Director, Office of Budget Management, Indian Affairs
  8. Linda S.C. Rundell, State Director – New Mexico, Bureau of Land Management
  9. George T. Skibine, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, Policy and Economic Development, Indian Affairs
  10. Brent Wahlquist, Director, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement


  1. Bert T. Edwards, Director, Office of Historical Trust Accounting, Office of the Secretary
  2. Daniel L. Fletcher, Director/Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Office of Financial Management, Office of Policy Management and Budget
  3. Sam D. Hamilton, Regional Director, Southeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  4. Robert P. LaBelle, Deputy Associate Director, Offshore Minerals Management, Minerals Management Service
  5. C. Bruce Sheaffer, Comptroller, National Park Service
  6. Michael J. Tollefson, Superintendent, Yosemite National Park, National Park Service
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