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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Dec. 6, 2022

Coast Guard presents Civilian Employee of the Year Awards  

By Zach Shapiro, MyCG Writer 

The Coast Guard is honoring eight civilians for their excellence in 2021. On Nov. 17, Adm. Linda Fagan, Commandant of the Coast Guard, presented the Civilian Employee of the Year (CEOY) and Non-Appropriated Fund Civilian Employee of the Year (NAF-CEOY) awards at a ceremony at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Every year, the service recognizes a handful of civilians for going above and beyond in their work. You can watch the ceremony here.
CEOY Award Winners 
Melissa M. Fredrickson, chief of the Housing Program Division (CG-1333), was honored for her outstanding leadership in enacting new policies including Safe Homes Initiative, a mission to ensure Coast Guard family housing is compliant with federal standards for lead, asbestos, and radon. “I am truly honored to receive this recognition on behalf of the housing community,” she said. “Our accomplishments would not be possible without the steadfast support of leadership, stakeholders, and Coast Guard housing professionals who are committed to caring for our members and their families.”  
Michael J. Parrish, deputy patrol boat product line (PBPL) manager at Surface Forces Logistic Center (SFLC) Baltimore, was recognized for managing a $124 million annual budget and leading a team of 144 Coast Guard active duty members and civilians in support of 131 cutters spread across 19 time zones.  
Renee L. Podolec, Dependent Care/Child Development Services program manager (CG-112), ensured that childcare programs remained operational throughout the pandemic by adapting nimbly to evolving public health guidance. She also secured critical funding to ensure that child development centers (CDCs) remained solvent. 
Douglas W. Siedenburg, non-destructive tester inspector at Aviation Logistics Center (ALC) Elizabeth City, North Carolina, assumed extra duties and created thorough emergency response training guidelines and key radiation protection safeguards. 
Mary Jean V. Silva, assistant director of the child development center (CDC) at Base Kodiak, Alaska, worked tirelessly to keep the center operating through the challenges of the pandemic. She drew on her 27 years of experience at Department of Defense (DoD) CDCs to set new standards for Coast Guard CDCs, and her superior efforts to train and recruit staff helped the program take on 50 percent more children. If this weren’t enough, Silva also regularly stays aboard Base Kodiak in inclement weather to ensure the center opens on time.  
“I like new challenges,” Silva said of her decision to go to Kodiak. The pandemic certainly was a challenge, and the stakes were high. “If I got sick, the CDC would close down. So, I had to keep myself healthy and not get COVID” to keep the CDC open. 
Jeremy D. Smolek, financial management specialist at Base Cleveland/IPF Detroit, was honored for outstanding financial service support for various Coast Guard afloat and ashore units. His efforts saved the Coast Guard more than $435,000 in contracted labor costs and helped mitigate significant budget shortfalls. Smolek resolved funding discrepancies during the transition to the Financial Systems Modernization Solution (FSMS) and improved accounting processes and procedures. 
NAF EOY Award Winners 
Hannah Spring, human resources manager at Community Services Command (CSC) Chesapeake, Virginia, overhauled travel and reimbursement processes for NAF employees and expedited recordkeeping procedures. All the while, she gained professional and senior professional human resources certification, completed a master’s degree, and is now pursuing a Juris Doctorate.  
A former Army active duty member, Spring “was really excited” to win the NAF EOY award. “It’s really nice to be acknowledged, and it goes hand in hand with the Coast Guard’s culture.” Spring is especially proud of “how much time, headaches, and money we’ve saved.” 
Tobiera J. Turpen, recreation specialist and youth activities director at Base Kodiak, drove the success of the “virtual” Teen Center to enable children of Base Kodiak members to remain socially connected in a time of unprecedented isolation due to the pandemic. An affiliate of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the Teen Center has been an important “outlet” and source of social interaction. Thanks to Turpen’s hard work, the youth activities program hosted over 11,100 in-person and online visitors in 2021.  
Solicitations for the 2022 award will be released in early spring 2023. The awards ceremony is planned for fall 2023. 
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