Governor Ralph Northam today announced the recipients of the 2018 Governor’s Public Service Awards during a ceremony at the Executive Mansion. The awards honor state employees in seven categories who have demonstrated exemplary service to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
“It is my pleasure to recognize these employees for their outstanding work on behalf of Virginia citizens,” said Governor Northam. “Like their colleagues across the Commonwealth, these men and women strive every day to make state government work better for every Virginian, no matter who they are or where they live. With these awards, we recognize the tremendous commitment of our state workforce to the highest standards in customer and community service, innovation, teamwork and workplace health and safety. ”
“I am so proud of our state employees and their commitment each day to serving the citizens of Virginia,” said Secretary of Administration Keyanna Conner. “The award recipients are outstanding examples of the impact that public service can have on people in communities around the Commonwealth.”
Below are the recipients of the 2018 Governor’s Awards for Public Service and a short description of each person’s achievement, as provided by their agency:
GOVERNOR’S AGENCY STAR AWARD (tie)
Superintendent Berk Artrip, Department of Corrections
Berk Altrip currently serves as the superintendent of the Community Corrections Alternative Program (CCAP) at the Appalachian Detention and Diversion Center in Honaker. He has risen through the ranks since he began his career in 1990 as a Corrections Officer. As superintendent, he has presided over a significant culture change at the Department of Corrections, which moved to CCAP from the long standing Detention and Diversion Center program. The Department of Corrections decided to make the change because it was the right thing to do based on evidence. Mr. Altrip serves as a role model for others. He truly led the way in how a leader should accept difficult feedback and still get the job done. Although this program has been in place only for a short time, Mr. Altrip’s influence will be long lasting. He is a true star leader.
Jeanette Eisenour, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
As a senior integrated community options specialist in Richmond, Jeanette Eisenhour has demonstrated time and again that she takes very seriously the overall mission of creating housing options for individuals with a developmental disability. Anyone who works with Ms. Eisenhour will attest to her commitment, and that she is an energetic and shining star on any team. She has worked in both the services and housing worlds. Ms. Eisenhour’s major accomplishments include assisting in the Flexible Funds program rollout by the Fairfax Community Services Board (CSB); and supporting her team through a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services initiative, which included conducting outreach, engagement and education of individuals and families. She also has created incentives within the program for public housing authorities to rent units to low income households.
CAREER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD (tie)
Wayne Davis, Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy
No one has done more to support and protect Virginia’s coal miners than Wayne Davis, ventilation specialist and mine rescue coordinator at the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) in Big Stone Gap. Mr. Davis has 38 years of experience working for industry and DMME, developing expertise in coal mine safety and mine rescue, and earning numerous state and federal certifications. During his 33-year career with the DMME’s Division of Mines, Mr. Davis has developed an exceptional reputation among coal mine operators and miners for helping to improve coal mine safety and productivity. Because of his extensive experience in accident investigations and mine emergencies, he has gained renown as a mine emergency response drill coordinator and instructor within and outside of the Commonwealth. He served on the Island Creek Coal Company’s National Mine Rescue Championship team in 1983 and coordinated the Virginia Governor’s Cup mine rescue contest.
Dr. Diane Woolard, Virginia Department of Health
Dr. Diane Woolard has served as a leader in applied public health epidemiology for over 30 years. She now serves as the Director of the Division of Surveillance and Investigation within the Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) Office of Epidemiology in Richmond. Throughout her tenure at VDH, Dr. Woolard has provided calm, sound leadership throughout countless disease surveillance and investigation efforts that protect the health of Virginians. Her silent strength and humble leadership style is a true example of public service at its best. Dr. Woolard’s expertise and extensive experience in disease reporting requirements and the use of disease surveillance data helped transform disease reporting in Virginia. A teacher and mentor, her commitment to training future epidemiologists has helped produce public health leaders both nationally and internationally.
CUSTOMER SERVICE AWARD
Charlotte Carter, Department of Housing and Community Development
Charlotte Carter exemplifies true customer service, providing personalized and individual attention to each person she comes in contact with while in the office or out in the field. As a training coordinator at the Department of Housing and Community Development, Ms. Carter is charged with ensuring that the Virginia Building Code Academy and its training programs run smoothly, from student registration to on-site management, from instructor schedules to equipment operations. She is seen as the go-to person for questions or concerns with attending the academy. No problem is too big or too small for her to try to resolve. Ms. Carter works with the resources available and also supports others with her willingness to think outside the box. Ms. Carter is a role model for excellent customer service interactions.
COMMUNITY SERVICE AND VOLUNTEERISM AWARD
Jermaine Chandler, State Corporation Commission
Jermaine Chandler is on a mission to save lives. Through athletics and mentoring, this tech support professional with the State Corporation Commission’s Division of Information Technology in Richmond steers at-risk youth away from a life of poverty, crime and despair, and, in his words, “opens their eyes to the possibilities of a better future.” With his help, these young people are staying in school, receiving academic and athletic scholarships, going to college and becoming productive members of their communities. After losing two young acquaintances to gun violence in Norfolk during the 1990s, Mr. Chandler dedicated himself to bringing about change and has continued his mentoring and coaching work for more than two decades. In 2014, Mr. Chandler formed his own nonprofit, Trained2Go, assisting more than 100 at-risk Richmond-area youth.
WORKPLACE HEALTH, WELLNESS AND SAFETY AWARD
Regina Holbrook, Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy
Regina Holbrook has been an accountant for the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) in Big Stone Gap for the past 16 years. Her daily work involves ensuring that funds for all agency divisions are processed and reported within the federal guidelines. While Ms. Holbrook loves her day job and her co-workers, her true passion is healthy living. She is a walking inspiration of what it means to eat right and exercise. As the CommonHealth coordinator for the Big Stone Gap office, she makes activities fun and educational for employees. She leads a Weight Watchers Eating Healthy program, encouraging her co-workers to always make good choices and eat healthy. Even in her spare time, she is spreading the word of healthy eating and staying fit to the community. This is truly Ms. Holbrook’s mission. She is making a difference in her community and her workplace!
Dr. Rebecca Wagner, Department of Forensic Science
Dr. Rebecca Wagner was hired to be the first Research Analyst at the Department of Forensic Science (DFS) to develop and validate testing methods in toxicology, controlled substances, and trace evidence. Prior to 2010, DFS depended on casework examiners to develop new testing methods. Dr. Wagner has been instrumental in the use of novel technology in toxicology that has reduced the case backlog and the average turnaround time for some cases to 63 days from 145 days in 2011. She has also helped provide timely data to assist the Commonwealth in combating the opioid crisis. Her new approach has helped identify substances in overdose victims and drivers suspected of driving under the influence. The testing methods she developed have improved efficiency and increased the scope of what can be detected in samples.
Benefits and Virginia Veteran and Family Support Teams, Department of Veterans Services
The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) Benefits and Virginia Veteran and Family Support (VVFS) teams have come together to provide streamlined care for veterans and their families with the “no wrong door” approach to service. Sixteen offices throughout the Commonwealth are currently “co-located” Benefits–VVFS offices. A warm hand-off to the other service line is now simple and seamless for veterans, building trust, calming nerves and ensuring that veterans receive the services they need without a trip to another location.
Regional teams work collaboratively, engaging with each other in training and outreach at local events, community meetings, and other supportive services around Virginia. They know exactly who to connect the veteran to, without delay, for the best possible outcomes. The ability to provide a myriad of services within the same office allows DVS to have a better understanding of veterans’ needs, as well as more accountability and oversight of the services provided.
The Commonwealth and the Virginia Credit Union have partnered each year on the Governor’s Awards for Public Service for almost two decades.