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Pension Agency Honors 113 Employees at Awards Ceremony

April 15, 2004

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) today honored a total of 113 employees - three individuals and eight groups - for their achievements during the agency's 29th annual Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C.

"Today we honor those PBGC employees who exemplify the best in government service, but all PBGC employee should take pride in the contribution they make protecting the retirement security of millions of American workers," said Acting Executive Director Vincent K. Snowbarger.

The Distinguished Career Service Award, PBGC's highest award, was presented to Budget Director Henry Thompson in honor of his long and valued service in managing and directing the Corporation's budget activities.

Thompson started his PBGC career in 1980 and became Director of the Budget Department when it was created in 1994. His knowledge and expertise in the budget area have strengthened PBGC's response to customer demands, improved internal controls and ensured compliance with financial management requirements. Thompson's abilities as a strategic thinker have allowed him to play a critical role in helping PBGC implement several customer service and information technology projects.

The Elvira Knepp Merit Award for support staff was given to Casandra Smith, who provided professional, enthusiastic and high-performing service to the Assistant Executive Director for Communications and Public Affairs (CPAD), the CPAD staff and the Corporation. Ms. Smith was recently promoted to the position of Public Information Technician.

Meritorious Service Awards, recognizing successful accomplishment of corporate mission or development of new or improved work methods, went to the following groups of employees:

  • Wilmer Graham, Michael Packard, Harold Ashner , Jacqueline Lawson, Marjorie Bernardi, Della Whorton and Cris Birch, of the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) Pilot Project Team, for their thorough assessment of PBGC's performance and their accompanying recommendations, which prepared PBGC for an official review by the Office of Management and Budget in 2004 for the 2006 budget process.

  • Terri Garner, Ken Oliver, Janet Smith, Laura Stitt, Jayprakash Parikh, Marjorie Bernardi, Cindy David, Vivian Hughes, Robert Stokes, Loraine Trotter, Jon Baake, Cris Birch, Dan Fry, Joel Larkin, Jerry Malczak, Ric Mitchell and Susan Silverzahn for their efforts to prepare the Corporation's Continuity of Operations Plan, which will enable the Corporation to handle potential disruptions and emergency situations.

  • Marty Boehm, Janice Harrison, David Harvey, Mary Cotter, Bradford Bethea, Donna Polk, Raymond Reigle and Joseph Zeilman for their combined efforts to address and complete pending open audit recommendations.

  • Bill FitzGerald, Jim Marion, Candy Campbell, James Dacey, John Foster, Vicky Gove, Percy Robinson, Sam Scarlett, Jacqueline Smith, Marvin Solberg, Susan Strassman, Steve Stoik, Bruce Campbell and Joe Scavetti for implementing the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC), a new tax credit applicable to certain retirees that was created in August 2002. New procedures were developed for PBGC to respond to IRS requests for data on PBGC retirees.

Customer Service Excellence Awards are presented to individuals or groups of employees for providing extraordinary, high quality, accurate and timely delivery of customer service to external or internal customers.

The individual award went to Diane Morstein, Problem Resolution Officer for Practitioners for the outstanding customer service she provides to PBGC's external and internal customers. Group awards were presented to:

  • Percy Robinson and Valerie Palmer for their superb customer service in leading the activities of PBGC's Customer Contact Center, including overseeing the move from PBGC to Kingstowne, Va., hiring new staff to handle a second consecutive year of increased workload due to large plan terminations, and implementing the new Customer Relationship Management software.

  • Eben Adams, Reza Afshar, Jim Armbruster, Sadie Barnett, Kevin Blackwell, Monica Blyther, Robert Bonnette, Bob Boyle, Craig Chamberlin, Ken Crawford, Chuck Evans, Bill FitzGerald, Ron Floyd, John Foster, Ajit Gadre, Terri Garner, Heather Hardesty, Rebecca Harris, Beverly Hebron, Ruth Huang, Kathleen Hubert, Erica Johnson, Karen Justesen, Kartar Khalsa, Jim Kitchel, Jeff Kuhns, Suzanne LaPiana, Brian Lawrence, Lisa Lee, Mike Madron, Jerry Malczak, Evonne McDaniel, Bill Meldrum, Romaine Nelson, Ken Oliver, Pat Plummer, Lynn Pomponi, Michael Rae, Percy Robinson, Sam Scarlett, Michael Schaffner, Steve Schreiber, John Sevem, Gail Sevin, Karen Sharp, Hassan Shode, Stu Sirkin, Gregory Smith, Marv Solberg, Jeff Speicher, Jeff Sprandel, Todd Stevens, Rodney Stevenson, Susan Strassman, Darwin Terry, Cameron Thompson, Ken Vandruff, Alan Warsaw, Joan Weiss, Pat Williams and Ruth Williams for their work before, during and after the termination of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation Pension Plan, the largest plan trusteed by PBGC.

  • William Bethke, Paul Davis, Lisa Black-Shaw, Ann Busby, Ellen Roderick, Barbara Clay, Thatsany Drake and Joann Conrad for their work in PBGC's Martin Slate Training Institute, which has developed highly successful products and services that put the customers' needs first.

The Equal Opportunity Merit Award, which recognizes exceptional meritorious effort affirmatively implementing the principle of equal opportunity at the Corporation, was awarded to Chip Gallo, Charla Lambertsen, Kay Rison and Michael Schaffner for their efforts to ensure that PBGC adheres to the accessibility requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

PBGC is a federal corporation created under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to guarantee payment of basic pension benefits earned by 44 million American workers and retirees participating in more than 31,000 private-sector defined benefit pension plans. The agency receives no funds from general tax revenues. Operations are financed largely by insurance premiums paid by companies that sponsor pension plans and investment returns.

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PBGC No. 04-39