The NOAA Office of General Counsel Awards – 2010

The NOAA General Counsel's office recently recognized five individuals for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the agency. A number of general individual, team, and honor awards were also acknowledged at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on February 23, 2011. Opening and closing remarks at the ceremony were provided by NOAA's General Counsel Lois Schiffer.

MANAGER OF THE YEAR: CRAIG O'CONNOR

Provided exceptional leadership and management as head of NOAA's Office of the General Counsel for Natural Resources in its response to the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the largest oil spill in United States history. Through his tireless efforts in the days, weeks and months that followed, Craig played a critical role in leading the legal teams involved and preserving the government's claims arisingfrom this crisis. As a result ofhis efforts, NOAA is well-positioned to meet its goals of restoring the injured natural resources in the Gulf of Mexico.

LINDY S. JOHNSON ATTORNEY OF THE YEAR: ALEXA COLE

For her outstanding achievements as the sole GC enforcement attorney for the vast Pacific Islands Region. These achievements include managing with efficiency and skill a very large and diverse case load having both domestic and international implications, and representing the United States enforcement interests in various international forums and international initiatives.

ADMINISTRATIVE PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR: MARY FOOTE

For her outstanding contributions to NOAA GC that greatly enhanced the efficiency and effectiveness of the General Counsel's Office, including mentoring new GC administrative professionals, spearheading efforts to develop an administrative professionals manual and handling the unique administrative challenges of the detail of a NOAA GC attorney to GC Northwest for the year.

PARALEGAL OF THE YEAR: DEBRA KETCHOPULOS

Provided exceptional support to the Northeast Regional Office and the Office of General Counsel for Enforcement and Litigation, taking on additional duties to ensure the NOAA GC litigation database was kept up-to-date, leading efforts in the Northeast office to respond in a timely manner to an unusual volume of FOIA and other document requests during the past year, and ably assisting in resolving a backlog of Northeast enforcement cases to ensure the agency's limited resources are focused going forward on higher priority matters.

SENIOR LEADER OF THE YEAR: JOSEPH KLIMAVICZ

As the NOAA Chief Information Officer, he provided exceptional leadership in ensuring NOAA's compliance with critically important litigation holds in connection with the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and inpartnering with NOAA GC in its efforts to replace its existing administrative enforcement database.