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Two PBGC Officials Receive Presidential Rank Awards

December 17, 2004

New Awards in Honor of Javits, Slate Also Announced

WASHINGTON-The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) today announced that Joseph H. Grant, Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, and William G. Beyer, Deputy General Counsel, received Distinguished Executive Rank Awards, which are part of the Presidential Rank Award Program.

"I am very proud of these two outstanding civil servants," said PBGC Executive Director Bradley D. Belt. "Joe and Bill have demonstrated unparalleled leadership and delivered exceptional service to America's workers and retirees during their tenure at PBGC."

Grant, appointed to his position in 1996, was recognized for outstanding leadership, communications and team-building skills in strengthening PBGC as a customer-focused, results-oriented organization. He led a series of initiatives to improve productivity, policies and regulations, and reengineered a number of internal management processes. Grant was also cited for outstanding work in coordinating efforts with the White House, the Departments of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services, and the Internal Revenue Service to implement the Health Coverage Tax Credit, which has helped nearly 10,000 retirees receiving pension benefits from PBGC to obtain affordable private health insurance.

Beyer, who joined PBGC shortly after the agency was created in 1974, was appointed Deputy General Counsel in 1991. The award recognizes his central role in PBGC's success in a number of landmark court cases. Also cited was his outstanding leadership and skill as a teacher and motivator for the attorneys, paralegals and support staff he manages. A nationally recognized expert in the Employee Retiree Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and the Bankruptcy Code, Beyer is much sought after speaker on many legal issues. He is adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center and a charter fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel.

Presidential Rank Awards are reserved for federal executives with a record of achievement that is recognized throughout their agencies and/or acknowledged on a national or international level. Recipients have demonstrated an ability to lead government programs that deliver superior service, to foster partnerships and community solutions that get results, and to achieve continuous improvements in efficiency and effectiveness.

Also this month, the PBGC announced the creation of two new awards designed to recognize outstanding contributions to the pension insurance program and to retirement security more broadly.

PBGC Assistant General Counsel Susan Birenbaum, who has been with PBGC for 12 years, received the Martin Slate Award for Outstanding Achievement. During the past two years, Ms. Birenbaum achieved success in two of PBGC's toughest litigation cases-with US Airways over the company's liability to PBGC for the pilots pension plan, and with Republic Technologies International over PBGC's liability for unfunded shutdown benefits. "Susan's skill and determination provided financial protection for the pension insurance program worth hundreds of millions of dollars," Belt said.

The Jacob Javits Award for Outstanding Contribution to Retirement Security was awarded to former U.S. Rep. Jake Pickle (in absentia, click here to view his remarks), in recognition of his distinctive and exemplary efforts in furtherance of retirement security for American workers. Pickle represented the 10th Congressional District of Texas for over 31 years and was a vocal proponent of legislation to strengthen private-sector defined benefit plans. "Congressman Pickle made it his mission to ensure that companies promising pension benefits paid for them," Belt said. "Senator Javits would be pleased that this award is going to someone who cared so much about retirement security."

The PBGC is a federal corporation created under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974. It currently guarantees payment of basic pension benefits earned by 44 million American workers and retirees participating in over 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 by investment returns.

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PBGC No. 05-16