The Department of Commerce General Counsel Distinguished Employee Awards – 2009

The Department of Commerce General Counsel's office recently recognized eight individuals for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the agency.

Nancy Briscoe, NOAA's Senior Counsel for Environmental Compliance and Safety in the NOAA Office of General Counsel for Natural Resources (GCNR), provided outstanding legal advice and counsel advancing NOAA dive safety following two work-related dive fatalities at NOAA facilities. Ms. Briscoe's accomplishments have contributed significantly to advancing the Department's overall mission of promoting a safe work environment for all NOAA employees, and specifically, for addressing ultra-hazardous dive missions undertaken by NOAA.

Jamon Bollock, an attorney with the NOAA Office of General Counsel for Ocean Services (GCOS), was recognized for his outstanding efforts in supporting the Secretary of Commerce in the Broadwater Energy federal consistency appeal. Developing a well-reasoned and timely decision was challenging, given a massive administrative record, the complexity of the project, and the Coastal Zone Management Act's (CZMA) requirement that a decision be issued within 325 days of the appeal. His recommended decision was exceptionally well-written and reasoned, and enabled the Secretary to issue a timely and legally defensible decision in compliance with the CZMA.

Derek Campbell, an attorney with the NOAA Office of General Counsel for International Law (GCIL), was recognized for his exceptional contributions to the development of the agreement on Port State Measures to prevent, deter, and combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing agreed upon by 91 countries at the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in August of 2009, after more than two years of negotiations.

Meggan Engelke-Ross, an attorney with the NOAA Office of General Counsel for Enforcement and Litigation (GCEL), was recognized for her exceptional contributions to the development of the agreement on Port State Measures to prevent, deter, and combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing agreed upon by 91 countries at the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in August of 2009, after more than two years of negotiations.

Mark Eames, an attorney with the Office of the Northwest Regional Counsel (GCNW), provided significant contributions to the new NOAA Administrator's review and implementation of the 2008 Federal Columbia River Power System biological opinion and related litigation. Mark was instrumental in all aspects of the review process and subsequent Adaptive Management Implementation Plan (AMIP), which took place in the face of court-imposed deadlines and intense scrutiny both within and outside the government.

Gina Jackson, an administrative professional with the Office of General Counsel Headquarters (GCHQ), provided high-quality administrative, budget, property, and management support while exhibiting exceptional professionalism, integrity, and sustained commitment to the mission of the NOAA Office of the General Counsel. She has made many significant contributions to ensure the smooth and efficient running of the office and sets a high standard for other administrative professionals to follow. Her ongoing administrative support for implementation of the NOAA GC One-Year Plan has been exemplary.

Sharon Keau-Chong, the legal secretary for the three attorneys assigned to the Office of the Pacific Islands Regional Counsel (GCPI) and the NOAA Office of General Counsel for Enforcement and Litigation (GCEL), has consistently displayed the highest level of professional responsibility, selflessly performing a wide range of duties to advance the goals of the clients, while continuing to provide expert oversight of daily budget, travel, and administrative demands.

Laurie J. Lee, an attorney with the NOAA Office of General Counsel for Natural Resources (GCNR/SW), provided outstanding work in negotiating a groundbreaking agreement for entrepreneurial natural resource damage restoration banking, a hitherto untried means for addressing habitat restoration needs at complex, multi-party hazardous waste sites. Ms. Lee's accomplishments have contributed significantly to advancing the Department's mission of promoting innovation, entrepreneurship, and stewardship.