On April 5, the Center announced the recipients of the Excellence in Federal Government Awards sponsored by the Honolulu Pacific Federal Executive Board. The Center’s faculty and staff received awards in four categories: Federal Leader/Supervisor/Manager of the Year, Mentor of the Year, Federal Employee of the Year (Professional, Administrative & Technical), Federal Employee of the Year (Clerical & Assistant), and Team Award.
Rachelle Alameda, Supervisory Human Resources Program Manager, accepted the Team Award on behalf of the Human Resources Department. Over the last year, Alameda saw her team push through a demanding period when a high number of staff chose to retire after the pandemic initiated a prolonged telework period. Her department initiated 25 recruitment actions filling a combination of Title 5 and Title 10 positions.
The HR team took on more responsibility when, on June 9, 2021, the Secretary of Defense established the Stevens Center as the sixth Department of Defense regional center. The Human Resources Department has readily taken on the task of recruiting and hiring 16 more positions for the Stevens Center.
“This is my team’s effort. The award is a reflection of my people and the work they do day in and day out,” said Alameda. “It’s their award. These guys work hard.”
U.S. Army Sgt. Allen DeAngelis, a member of the HR team, also received the Employee of the Year (Clerical & Assistant) award. As an Army Human Resources Specialist, she has worked at the Center since 2018.
“I am very excited about winning the award. We did work pretty hard,” said Sgt. Deangelis. “Doing the administrative work for military and civilians. It’s been fun [at the Center]. I have experienced things I would never have experienced at a regular line work by actually attending some of the classes and seeing some of the Fellows.”
Dr. James Minnich received the award for Federal Leader/Supervisor/Manager of the Year. In a long history of federal service that includes over 40 years of active duty service in the U.S. Army, he has exercised the principle of “Mission First, People Always.” The four-letter adage remained with him from his time as a junior officer at the Field Artillery Training Center in Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
“I grew to realize that leadership is a sacred trust, an endowment of authority to act in the best interest of others and organizations,” said Minnich. “Since my first assignment leading Soldiers four decades ago, I have been honored to lead formations and organizations of varying scope and complexity.”
Prior to his retirement in 2019, Dr. Minnich served as the Center’s Associate Dean and Senior Military Officer. He currently chairs the Center’s Northeast Asia Group; and Women, Peace and Security Group; and manages the Indo-Pacific Orientation Course.
Lt. Col. Michael Bucher, USAF, received the Mentor of the Year award. Lt. Col. Bucher joined the Center as a military professor in 2020h. He quickly discerned that the Center’s practice of emailing static excel spreadsheets needed to evolve. In collaboration with the Information Services Department, he began creating a user interface (UI) called that Course Support List (CSL) that transforms how the Center updates, maintains, and shares information related to Fellows and courses.
“Using the CSL as a single source for that data, we were able to eliminate redundant, conflicting and outdated lists that different offices were generating in support of a course.” said Bucher.
The CSL consolidates and tracks all the info and status of the Fellows who are enrolled in courses. More importantly it gives access to the same information at the same time. The CSL will continue to adapt as it integrates feedback from various Center departments and staff.
“I was surprised and honored to be recognized,” said Bucher. “I’m just trying to help our team to use the tools we have and build processes and guides that make all of our work easier. It’s been a real team effort with input, suggestions and hard work from across the entire Center.”
Jan Araki, Executive Secretary to the Dean of the College of Security Studies, received the award for Federal Employee of the Year (Professional, Administrative & Technical. She first came to the Center in June 2020 from the Social Security Administration office in Honolulu. Starting at the Center as an Education Technician, she onboarded new employees and Fellows and assisted in all aspects of course preparations. In December of 2021, she transferred to her current role as Executive Secretary.
“I’m so blessed for the opportunity I really do not deserve it. It’s everyone else that helped me,” said Araki. “This is just a wonderful place to work at and it’s so easy to do the best that you can because it’s such a great place to work. Every day I go home and I tell my husband, ‘I love my job.’”
The Excellence in Federal Government Awards Program allows organizations to recognize high-level contributors and the best in public service. For over 60 years, outstanding federal employees working in Honolulu – Pacific Federal Executive Board (HPFEB) agencies have been recognized at an annual awards ceremony. The ceremony is held jointly with an EXPO, where federal benefit and other partners staff booths to educate employees on their offerings and benefits and corresponds to Public Service Employee Recognition Week nationally.
The HPFEB uses this event to:
- Celebrate the innovation and quality of work performed by employees by honoring and presenting awards in seven categories.
- Learn about other agencies’ best practices.
- Promote the excellent work of federal agencies.
Each awardee is recognized with a certificate by a local military or government leader. Each FEB agency may nominate one candidate for each of the seven award categories (the Team Excellence Category typically includes multiple awardees). There is no selection board at the FEB level. Selections are prioritized at the agency level when nominations are submitted.
The 66th Annual Excellence in Federal Government Awards Program and EXPO will take place on May 6, 2022.
- Federal Leader/Supervisor/Manager of the Year – Dr. James Minnich (CSS)
- Federal Employee of the Year (Professional, Administrative, and Technical) – Ms. Jan Araki (CSS)
- Federal Employee of the Year (Clerical and Assistant) – Sgt. Allen DeAngelis, U.S. Army (HR)
- Mentor of the Year – Lt. Col Mike Bucher, USAF (CSS)
- Team Excellence – Human Resources Department