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EPA Recognizes Employees for Extraordinary Contributions to Agency’s Mission at National Honor Awards

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EPA Press Office (

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler recognized more than 700 employees for their extraordinary contributions to the agency’s mission of protecting human health and the environment in fiscal year 2018 at the National Honor Awards ceremony.

“For the first time in ten years, we are proud to host the National Honor Awards ceremony and recognize the outstanding achievements of EPA staff that have directly improved public health and environmental protections,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “From emergency response to the Federal Lead Action Plan to EPA’s first-ever PFAS Action Plan, over 700 EPA staff are receiving the Agency’s highest awards for excellence in public service. America has cleaner air, land, and water thanks to the tremendous accomplishments of these public servants.”

At a national ceremony held in Washington, D.C.—the first ceremony of its kind in the past 10 years—staff from headquarters and regional offices were honored for their outstanding leadership and efforts to improve environmental protection. Examples of their work include improving industrial energy efficiency; ensuring the protection of pollinators and endangered species; protecting American consumers from the dangers of unregistered pesticides in e-commerce; improving hazardous waste pharmaceutical management; and leading EPA’s effort to understand and address PFAS, one of the great public health and environmental challenges of our time.

Awards were presented in several different categories including:

  • Presidential Rank Awards – this award recognizes career Senior Executive Service appointees who have demonstrated unusual accomplishments and significant contributions in cost reduction or avoidance, successful use of human resources, demonstration of personal initiative and innovation, unusual levels of cooperative effort with other federal agencies and the private sector, and/or successful efforts in affirmative action.
  • Gold Medal for Exceptional Service – this is EPA’s highest honor award and is given on a highly selective basis for distinguished service of major significance to environmental improvement or public service.
  • Silver Medal for Superior Service - this award ranks second among the EPA’s honor awards and can be used to recognize highly meritorious service to the mission of environmental protection, unusual courage or competence in an employment-related emergency, or for excellence in supervision and leadership.

Awards were also presented to staff for their contributions including leadership in collaborating with states, tribes, and other federal agencies; pollution prevention; administrative excellence; outstanding customer service; and promoting the tenets of equal employment opportunity and civil rights, among other topics. Finally, the agency recognized Gears of Government award winners. The Gears of Government Awards were launched last year by the Executive Office of the President to honor federal employees and teams who deliver on important objectives on behalf of the American public, including mission results, customer service, and accountable stewardship.

For more information on EPA’s National Honor Awards, please visit this page.