The Coast Guard has announced the eight 2020 Coast Guard Civilian Employee of the Year and Non-Appropriated Fund Employee of the Year awardees. The Commandant will preside over a ceremony at Coast Guard headquarters on Sept. 29 to recognize these individuals. Unlike in previous years, this will not be open attendance due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The recipients of these high honors are:
- Rose M. Neel.
- Lee Plowden.
- Kathleen S. Moore.
- Alan R. Tubbs.
- Birchard W. Kelley.
- Travis J. Tangert.
- Hope Thompson.
- Charles S. Ward.
“The diligence and extraordinary work ethic of our highly skilled civilian employees greatly contributed to the accomplishments of the Coast Guard's operational mission readiness,” said Michelle R. Godfrey, director of Civilian Human Resources, Diversity and Leadership.
The Civilian Employee of the Year (CEOY) and Non-Appropriated Fund Employee of the Year (NAF EOY) showcase employee contributions in the areas of leadership, professional achievement, innovation, teamwork, customer service, or heroism, and recognize those who embody dedication and enthusiasm in a manner that advances the Coast Guard mission.
Consideration is given to work habits, knowledge of work, quality, and quantity of the work, judgement, initiative, adaptability and reliability. Selection is based on overall contributions and achievements.
To be eligible to receive an award, commands must submit nominations, which are solicited annually via ALCOAST. For 2020 CEOY there were 88 nominations, and seven nominations for NAF EOY. The program recognizes contributions made within a 12-month period. Contributions must have occurred only during the calendar year for consideration and not during previous periods.
Meet the Awardees
Rose M. Neel (2020 Civilian Employee of the Year, GS-14 and above)
Rose Neel is chief of Family Services Division, which is a division under Work-Life, and provides policy and guidance for support services to members and families in a variety of areas, such as transitioning (retiring and separating), ombudsman, childcare, personal financial management, adoption reimbursement, and scholarship programs within the Coast Guard Foundation. She has been a federal employee for 23 years and with the Coast Guard for about 14 years.
“I am proud to work for the Coast Guard and especially under the current leadership,” said Neel. “Winning this award for the most unlucky of years—2020—while working for this commandant and CG-11, and with the phenomenal group of friends and colleagues that I get to work with every day is humbling, truly humbling. I hope that all the people on our Work Life team, and those who have supported all the work we did in 2020, will see this as a team win. We all worked tirelessly in spite of some pretty significant organizational challenges, being displaced, and in some cases through tragic personal losses, to help commands and families get the best and most supportive guidance and resources possible in 2020 in order to keep the Coast Guard operational. I know that the accomplishments listed in my nomination were NOT solely mine. I thank the panel for the recognition, but so many folks contributed to those efforts, and I just want to thank the Work Life and Coast Guard team of professionals I work with every day for the hard work they do and for truly being Semper Paratus!”
Lee Plowden (2020 Civilian Employee of the Year, GS-14 and above)
Lee Plowden is the Coast Guard deputy chief of Logistics. He supervises and directs a Coast Guard headquarters staff of 22 personnel and is responsible for developing and promulgating policy and procedures, managing logistics programs, and overseeing information technology systems for Coast Guard logistics activities to provide effective and efficient support to logistics and service centers and field operational units. He also oversees a field workforce of 27 personnel at the Uniform Distribution Center in locations in Cape May and Woodbine, New Jersey. Additionally, he serves as the facilitator for effective working relationships and partnerships with headquarters, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Defense (DoD), Defense Logistics Agency, other military services, federal agencies, and Coast Guard organizations to enhance logistics and mission support. He is the primary Coast Guard headquarters coordinator for Sector Logistics Departments and the Director of Operational Logistics (DOL). Plowden has been with the Coast Guard for six years. Prior to joining the Coast Guard in 2015, he served as the DoD Director for Troop Support and Energy Programs, overseeing policy and activities for a $70 billion enterprise.
When asked what the award meant to him, Plowden’s response was, “it means the work my headquarters staff, field unit workforce, and I do is well-received and worthy of recognition. I’m honored to receive this individual award, but more proud of the collective work of my team and CG-4 organization for all they do daily that culminates in an award of this magnitude.”
Kathleen “Katie” S. Moore (2020 Coast Guard Civilian Employee of the Year, GS-10-13)
Katie Moore is the Living Marine Resources program manager for the Atlantic Area. She has been a civilian with the Coast Guard for 18 years. She helps enforce marine fisheries regulations in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and Atlantic over to Africa. This includes ensuring domestic fishermen catch seafood within the law, protecting our waters from illegal foreign fishing, helping to address fisheries pirating on the high seas, and conserving protected species like whales, dolphins, and turtles in our waters.
“The Coast Guard has an incredible mission set that attracts many dedicated, humble, tireless employees,” said Moore. “To feel like an integral, valued part of such a cause makes me smile knowing that my professional life’s work has made a difference. I know there are many more people who also deserve the award, and I feel privileged that my command took the time to nominate me.”
Alan R. Tubbs (2020 Coast Guard Civilian Employee of the Year, GS-10-13)
Alan Tubbs is the Pacific Area program manager for the Transit Protection Program, which is a dedicated suite of Coast Guard capabilities and assets escorting Ballistic Missile Nuclear Submarines (Navy) from their homeport to their rendezvous points. He also develops doctrine, tactics, training, and procedures in countering all threats (surface, air, and underwater) to protect these strategic assets. Tubbs enlisted in July of 1978 and retired from the uniformed side of the Coast Guard on July 1, 2018. He spent 40 years as a reservist and active duty and deployed overseas to the Horn of Africa for a year. He started his civilian career in 2011, coming off of eight years of active duty.
Tubbs said, “this is a great honor to receive recognition for working hard to keep the Coast Guard Semper Paratus and it reinforces my belief that the Coast Guard is a great place to have a career! The Coast Guard has a great recognition program that is not as common in the private-industry world.”
Birchard W. Kelley (2020 Civilian Employee of the Year, GS/FWS-9 and below)
Birchard Kelley is a distribution facility specialist, more commonly known as an Asset Material Manager (AMM). His primary duties consist of ordering/delivery/return of parts for the small boats and ships in Sector Columbia River, including maintaining five remote warehouses throughout the sector. Additionally, during the first half of the year, he covered the empty AMM position for Sector Puget Sound. This extra work increased his asset responsibility from 29 to 61 assets (including three Ice Breakers, three 210-foot cutters, and three 87-foot patrol boats). Kelley has been with the Coast Guard for just over 41 years, which includes 30 years active duty service as an aviation survival technician retiring as a master chief petty officer, one and a half years as a contractor, and 10 years as a GS.
“Considering all of the exceptional GS civilian workers, it felt very good to be in that group being considered—and [I was] surprised to have been selected,” said Kelley. “I was also thankful to my supervisors who felt I was worthy of being nominated, and their willingness to spend the time writing up the recommendation.”
Travis J. Tangert (2020 Civilian Employee of the Year, GS/FWS-09 and below)
Travis Tangert has worked at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore as a painter/blaster for nearly two years. His duties range from blasting the boats to prepping to painting and cleaning up. He helps maintain and repair various cutters—pretty much every boat there. Tangert has also been involved in charity work at the Yard. He initially applied to the service at the urging of a former coworker, after he decided that a culinary career did not offer the work-life balance necessary to raise his daughter as a single dad.
In an interview with Federal News Network discussing his selection as a recipient of the CEOY award, Tangert said, “the way I am, I come in here to the Coast Guard yard, I didn’t do anything special. I came in and worked with a great team. I had great leaders to show me how to do things the right way. And I was just blessed enough to receive it for 2020. But I definitely can’t do it myself. Nobody can. It’s definitely teamwork here. A lot of great hard workers, not just me by far. And so that’s why the Coast Guard yard is doing well like it is today, because I feel like the team of workers down there, they just really work well together and get things done.”
Hope Thompson (Non-Appropriated Fund Employee of the Year, Senior Level)
Thompson is the Director of Marketing and Ecommerce. She oversees all marketing for the Coast Guard Exchange to include the overall operation, design, production, and fulfillment of shopCGX.com. She is responsible for a significant increase in visibility and sales on the platform. She joined the team at Coast Guard Community Service’s Command nearly five years ago.
“I am honored to be recognized for my all of my efforts,” said Thompson. “I take pride in a job well done, so I sincerely appreciate senior leadership recognizing my dedication, hard work, and achievements. Lastly, I would like to say ‘thank you’ to my team because without their hard work I would not have been able to achieve all that I did!”
Charles Ward (Non-Appropriated Fund Employee of the Year, Junior Level)
Charles Ward is the Exchange manager, cashier, janitor, resident gardener, and he handles shipping, receiving, and stocking. It is a one-man operation with a 19-hour a week helper. Ward has been with the Coast Guard for a total of seven years, working in Community Services for two and a half years. He greatly appreciates this award, calling it a “recognition of consistent hard work.”
For more information about the awards, please contact Brooke Lawson.