2016 Director’s Awards Winners for Excellence in Administration and Business Management

The dedicated work of National Park Service (NPS) employees serving in business-oriented and administrative positions plays a vital role in our agency’s success. In an effort to recognize such efforts, the Directorate established the Director’s Awards for Excellence in Administration and Business Management to commend those who have made exceptional contributions to the NPS while serving in a business or administrative function.


Excellence in Customer Service

  • Individual Awardee: Kathryn Morris, (Budget Analyst, Joshua Tree NP)

Within a year of arriving at Joshua Tree, Katie transformed the budget function by establishing a functional, collaborative approach to park budget issues-in addition to training JOTR staff in Crucial Conversations and helping to establish the multi-park Desert Parks Leadership Academy.

Regional Finalists:

NER – Shelley Stubblefield (Budget Analyst, Colonial NHP)

IMR – Katy Northcutt (Budget Analyst, Organ Pipe NM)

  • Team Awardee: Evan Cram and Mike Ball (IT Team, Zion Group, IMR)

Mike and Evan support a multi-park group with innovative ideas that enhance the availability and application of technology to the work processes of their customers, and bring great value to the DOI Emerging Technologies Group.

Excellence in Innovation/Process Improvement

  • Individual Award Co-Awardees: Chris VanSickle (FBMS Business Office, WASO) and Joshua Bernick (Recreation Fee Specialist, Midwest Regional Office)

Chris continually seeks process improvement opportunities and led the development of a DOI-wide Invoice in Progress Report to aid in reducing late payment and interest charges, and also brought consistency to how information is organized and present on the FBMS SharePoint site.

Josh developed innovative data management systems to track park-level fee revenues and expenditures from “cradle to grave” to improve accountability and communication, and has also developed a clickable staffing chart that visually present data from FPPS and AFS4 for improved transparency and accountability of position management information at the park and region levels.

Regional Finalist: PWR – Aaron Dowe (Deputy Regional Comptroller, PWRO)

Excellence in Cost Savings/Efficiency

  • Individual Awardee: Rachel Acker (Administrative Officer, Ice Age and North Country National Scenic Trails)

After developing a variety of paperless business process applications at her home parks and on a major incident, Rachel worked with the NPS/NIFC Incident Business Specialist to develop and implement a virtual Administrative Payment Team that processed over $2.7 million in payments on ten NPS fires in 2015 without leaving their home park, saving approximately $50,000 in travel costs.

Rising Star Award

  • Sarah Hertig (Regional Internal Controls Coordinator, NCR)

As a new NPS employee in a relatively new regional-level internal controls program Sarah has quickly demonstrated the value of program-level internal reviews, worked with her counterparts to develop consistency across regions as the program matures, and positioned the NCR internal controls program as a key contributor to accountability, transparency and overall mission success.

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