The U.S. DOT’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Implementation Team Wins Prestigious 2023 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Award
On October 17, 2023, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Implementation Team was honored with the 2023 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal for Management Excellence. These awards—also known as the “Sammies”—help shine a light on hardworking Federal teams and employees, rebuild public confidence in the Federal government, and inspire the best and brightest individuals to join and remain in Federal service. “These public servants demonstrate the best our Nation has to offer,” said Max Stier, president and chief executive officer of the Partnership for Public Service. He noted that the 2023 “Sammies winners, like many of the more than 2 million career civil servants around the country, work every day to confront our Nation’s biggest challenges.”
Meet the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Implementation Team
The recipients of the Management Excellence award include U.S. DOT employees Maria Lefevre, Executive Director of the Office of the Under Secretary for Policy; Paul Nissenbaum, Associate Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration; and Gloria Shepherd, Executive Director of the Federal Highway Administration. They and the entire Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Implementation Team were chosen to receive this award due to their exceptional efforts to implement the $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—which Congress approved in 2021. This law provided the largest investment in highways, railways, shipping ports, and airports in decades, and its funding will help repair, renew, and reinvigorate the Nation’s aging transportation systems.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the largest U.S. transportation investment since construction of the interstate highway system and the largest infrastructure investment in U.S. history. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has already released more than two dozen pieces of guidance and distributed over $120 billion in highway formula funding to states as a result of this law. With 1 out of every 4 dollars of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding flowing through the FHWA, the U.S. DOT transportation officials knew that the law would require a DOT-wide effort, which is why they formed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Implementation Team. The implementation team leaders—Lefevre, Nissenbaum, and Shepherd—worked with the team to help craft and implement the $1.2 trillion law, which is helping to modernize the country’s highways, bridges, shipping ports, railroads, airports, and more. “This team has successfully rolled out scores of new and expanded funding programs all across the country,” said Carlos Monje, Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy. “Their diligence and hard work resulted in equitable and sustainable programs that will improve our ability to compete globally and renew Americans’ faith that their government can deliver.”
For Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the achievements of the new law depend on successful implementation. That means, he said, “having excellent career staff who can take the existing pulleys and levers of our agency and combine them with the new resources that we have.” He noted that the implementation team “displayed creativity with a sense of urgency,” while bringing “passion and depth to the job.”
“Federal employees are responsible for many noteworthy and inspiring accomplishments that are seldom recognized or celebrated,” said FHWA Executive Director Gloria Shepherd. “Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law we have the opportunity to work on historic initiatives, including supporting transportation safety, enhancing equity by reconnecting communities that were previously divided by transportation infrastructure, creating well-paid jobs, and implementing electrification, which will help reduce our country’s carbon footprint. I am humbled and honored to receive this prestigious award.”
The Oscars of Public Service
In September 2001, American businessman and lawyer Samuel J. Heyman founded the nonprofit and nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service to help build a better government and a stronger democracy. Soon after, the Partnership for Public Service awarded its first Sammies, choosing to highlight categories such as Emerging Leaders; Science and the Environment; Safety, Security, and International Affairs; Citizen Services; and Federal Employee of the Year. For more than 20 years, the Sammies, which are often called the “Oscars of public service,” have recognized Federal employees who raise the bar for all public servants and have encouraged others to follow in their footsteps.
No one knows the importance of working together to raise the bar better than the U.S. DOT Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Implementation Team. “The 2023 Sammie for Management Excellence does not belong to me alone: it belongs to everyone who put in the hard work over many years and decades that led to all of the FHWA’s accomplishments—including implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” said FHWA Executive Director Gloria Shepherd. She continued: “I count myself fortunate to work in an organization filled not only with transportation professionals, but with genuinely good people. I can’t wait to see what else we will accomplish together.”
For a full list of 2023 Sammie winners, please visit: https://servicetoamericamedals.org.
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