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U.S. DOE Secretary’s Honors Awards

U.S. DOE Secretary’s Honors Awards

U.S. Department of Energy’s Secretary’s Honors Awards

On January 20, 2021, the U.S. Department of Energy announced its 2019 Secretary’s Honor Award Recipients. MELE Associates, Inc. is pleased to have a number of teams and employees as recipients of this prestigious honor. A total of 32 Honor Awards were granted this year, including a new category of awards focused on the accomplishments of DOE employees and contractors in support of COVID-19 pandemic response efforts.

As recipients of the Secretary of Energy Achievement Award, the following MELE teams were recognized:

  • Green Border Security Initiative Team
  • Source Physics Experiment (SPE), Phase II, Dry Alluvium Geology (DAG) Team
  • The Nuclear Security Enterprise (NSE) Supplier Quality Working Group
  • The Seattle Response and Recovery and Cs-137 Joint Investigation Teams
About the Green Border Security Initiative Team

The purpose of the Green Border Security Initiative Team is to conceptualize, refine, and execute projects to address smuggling vulnerabilities near uncontrolled borders and contested regions.

According to DOE:

“…within one year, the team expanded its work to five high priority countries and finalized a rigorous set of policies, assessment standards, and templates for further expansion. GBSI projects have already resulted in three successful radioactive material interdictions by partner organizations. The team moved exceptionally quickly from conceptual frameworks to foreign deployments and, throughout the year, demonstrated a keen sense of learning and constant improvement. The GBSI team’s excellent work has positioned the Department of Energy’s nonproliferation missions for success in the coming years and has reinvigorated the Department’s global efforts to detect, disrupt, and investigate acts of nuclear and radioactive smuggling.”

About the Source Physics Experiment (SPE), Phase II, Dry Alluvium Geology (DAG) Team

The purpose pf the SPE Phase II SAG Team is to advance the science of nuclear explosion monitoring, and to provide value to the Nation’s nuclear explosion monitoring mission.

According to DOE:

“Concluding ten years of testing experiments (Phases I and II), members of the cross-lab SPE team embraced the challenge of increasing the Nation’s ability to detect nuclear tests by conducting a well-designed and extensively instrumented series of large chemical explosions. Further, the SPE team demonstrated superior performance using the resulting data as ground truth for next-generation physics modeling codes. The experiments produced one of the finest explosion-source phenomenology data sets in existence.”

About the Nuclear Security Enterprise (NSE) Supplier Quality Working Group

The purpose of the NSE Supplier Quality Working Group is to achieve new efficiency and cost avoidance on behalf of the Department of Energy. This group included representation from Sandia, Los Alamos, Y12 National Security Complex, Pantex, Savannah River Site, Livermore, Kansas City Nuclear Security Campus (KCNSC) and Nevada National Security Site.

According to DOE:

“The group standardized an NSE supplier assessment sharing process, overcoming site-by-site process challenges and legal hurdles. Enabling information sharing, the KCNSC-based Supply Chain Management Center IT group redesigned the NNSA-funded Master Supplier List to accommodate shared supplier approval data under information protection controls. Optimizing supplier assessments while minimizing duplication of effort across the NSE, the Supplier Quality Working Group realized significant cost avoidance for weapons contractors responsible for compliance with NNSA NAP 401.1 (formerly NAP-24A). In total, $742,000 in cost avoidance was recorded for FY19 as a result of sharing supplier assessments, with an additional $1 million projected by the end of FY21. Facilitated by the Energy Facility Contractors Group-Supplier Quality Working Group, this NSE-wide initiative exemplifies “One-NNSA” collaboration.”

About the Seattle Response and Recovery and Cs-137 Joint Investigation Teams

The purpose of the Seattle Response and Recover and Cs-137 Joint Investigation Teams was to provide emergency response, recovery, stabilization, and investigation of the breached radioactive source event at the University of Washington’s Harborview Research and Training Facility.

According to DOE:

“The Response and Recovery Team’s focused and tireless efforts in responding to a radiological emergency at the facility and removing the breached radioactive source led the way for facility remediation efforts and minimized any harm or negative impacts to the public. The extensive investigative work performed by the Cs-137 Joint Investigation Team identified the underlying cause of the event and will help prevent recurrence of similar events in the future, as well as improve the efficiency and effectiveness of future radiological event responses.”

As recipients of the Secretary of Energy Achievement Award specifically in response to COVID-19, the following MELE teams were recognized:

  • Office of Emergency Operations – Primary Mission Essential Function (PMEF) #3 Team
  • COVID-19 Return to the Workplace Planning and Implementation Team
  • COVID-19 Facilities and People Response Team
About the Office of Emergency Operations – Primary Mission Essential Function (PMEF) #3 Team

The purpose of the Office of Emergency Operations – PMEF #3 Team was to provide leadership and crisis management expertise to help DOE’s ability to prepare for, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the effects of the pandemic.

According to DOE:

“The early response actions and sound continuity practices championed by the Office of Emergency Operations enabled the Department’s ability to maintain essential functions. The dedicated leadership of the PMEF #3 Team ensured the viability of the Nation’s energy infrastructure during a time of great uncertainty and risk. The outcomes of the team’s work ensured the Department’s ability to support continued electricity delivery and oil/natural gas operations. During the COVID-19 global pandemic, both groups leveraged their combined expertise to lead the Department’s unified response to the unprecedented national emergency.”

About the COVID-19 Return to the Workplace Team

The purpose of the COVID-19 Return to the Workplace Team was to research, develop, and issue a Return to the Workplace Framework in alignment with the Administration’s Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, and establish a data system for gathering and reporting local conditions relevant to DOE facilities across the Nation. They were also tasked with issuing a detailed plan for returning employees to DOE headquarters facilities.

According to DOE:

“Throughout the planning process, the team issued guidance for identifying and notifying employees returning to the workplace, provided training for supervisors and employees, and ensured critical information was disseminated in a comprehensive and timely manner. The implementation team made significant adjustments to building operations to ensure the safety of all headquarters staff. This included implementing new cleaning protocols, fresh air standards, and occupancy requirements for common use areas, as well as installing floor markers and signage for social distancing, sneeze barriers, touchless fixtures, and additional hand sanitizer stations in high traffic areas. The team also procured and distributed personal protective equipment (PPE), requiring extensive coordination and cooperation across the Department and with external organizations. In doing so, the team overcame significant challenges to ensure the timely distribution of critical PPE to organizations lacking sufficient supplies. The team’s efforts were essential to DOE’s ability to initiate a return to the workplace while maintaining employee health and safety as the Department’s number one priority.”

About the COVID-19 Facilities and People Reponse Team

The purpose of the COVID-19 Facilities and People Response Team was to transition the DOE’s Federal and contractor work force to a maximum telework platform to ensure continued operational effectiveness and reduce the risk of COVID-19 contraction.

According to DOE:

“The team devoted tremendous time and attention to several areas of critical importance. These

– Defining the parameters of an orderly reduction in services in the Forrestal and Germantown facilities, covering areas such as parking, cleaning, badging, and security protocols.
– Fielding dozens of requests to help employees adapt to maximum telework, responding to urgent data calls and deliverables, and creating a standardized report for senior leadership, allowing for swift decisions specific to the conditions and needs of different locations.
– Ensuring the Department’s ability to quickly adapt and continue operations in a remote environment, providing classified network support and coverage for mission essential projects, and ensuring security protocols were maintained and adequate protections were applied to classified data.
– Developing and communicating DOE’s application of COVID-19 related leave and pay flexibilities, such as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act; the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act; Excused Absence for teleworking employees with caregiving responsibilities; and waivers to Fair Labor Standards Act bi-weekly and annual pay caps.
– Providing Weather and Safety Leave to DOE Management & Operating contractors.

The team’s efforts in the areas of human capital, facilities management, communications, information technology, security, and legal guidance were essential to DOE’s overall ability to continue successful mission accomplishment while maintaining the workforce’s health and safety during the
COVID-19 pandemic.”

Congratulations and great work to the MELE employees and teams that assisted in efforts to support the Department of Energy throughout 2019!

To see who else received awards, or to find out more details about the awards,  read the DOE announcement here: