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NETL-Morgantown and NETL-Pittsburgh Staff Receive Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board Awards
NETL’s researchers and staff were recognized at the Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board 2024 Excellence in Government Awards program held May 8 at the Heinz History Center.

NETL’s researchers and staff were recognized at the Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board 2024 Excellence in Government Awards program held May 8 at the Heinz History Center.

Staff and researchers at NETL-Morgantown and NETL-Pittsburgh received two team awards and 10 individual awards from the Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board (FEB) during its 2024 Excellence in Government Awards program at the Heinz History Center during Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW), which was held May 5-11.

Also as part of PSRW, NETL’s Sean Plasynski, acting principal deputy director, was named a national FEB Leadership winner. Only 21 federal employees in the United States received this award, which recognizes leaders in federal service for exhibiting high levels of integrity, inspiring trust and exemplifying dedication to public service.

Since joining NETL in 1992, Plasynski has held numerous management and technical positions, including acting NETL director, deputy director and chief technology officer, chief operating officer, director of the Strategic Center of Coal and Sequestration technology manager.

Serving as NETL’s acting director from June 18, 2023, to Feb. 10, 2024, Plasynski demonstrated exceptional leadership, managing the entire NETL complex and steering the organization toward achieving its objectives of driving innovation and delivering comprehensive solutions for the nation’s transition to an environmentally sustainable energy future.

At the Pittsburgh FEB ceremony, Plasynski also received the Chairperson’s Excellence in Government-Individual gold award.

NETL teams receiving Pittsburgh FEB honors were:

  • Methane Emissions Reduction Program (MERP) Team — Gold Award, Outstanding Large Team. Under the constraints of a congressional timeline and fueled by the urgency of the Inflation Reduction Act appropriation, the MERP team advanced President Biden’s historic climate investment to reduce emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from the oil and gas industry and cap low-producing or abandoned marginal conventional wells.
  • Battery Materials Processing and Manufacturing Grants Team Silver Award, Outstanding Large Team. The ongoing diligence of the team supercharged American battery manufacturing capabilities and is helping to boost U.S. production of a key clean energy technology while creating good-paying jobs and advancing the nation’s transition to a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.

Other NETL individuals receiving Pittsburgh FEB gold awards were:

  • Daniel Haynes Contribution to Science (Non-medical). Using the same technology many rely on to prepare quick meals, Haynes advanced revolutionary uses for microwaves to address climate change. According to Haynes, microwaves offer a low-cost solution to convert carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas, into value-added products.
  • Jason Paupa Administrative Employee. Throughout 2023, Paupa demonstrated exceptional professionalism and as he applied his expertise in accounting and budget forecasting to support the hiring and onboarding a significant number of new employees while ensuring financial oversight and internal control over NETL’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act portfolios.
  • Melissa Robe Clerical Employee. Robe went above and beyond to improve the accuracy of time reporting. She also maintained the chief financial officer’s complex calendar, spearheaded the collection of financial assistance packages, provided career management certification support, and served as the sole administrative professional supporting NETL’s Finance & Acquisition Center.
  • Fan Shi — Rookie of the Year, Medical or Scientific Fields. In his first year of federal service, Shi applied his expertise in the development of technologies to deliver integrated solutions for the nation’s transformation to a sustainable energy future. His diversified background, dedication and hard work allowed him to contribute to many different research areas.
  • Kari Skovira — Professional Employee (All other professional fields). As associate counsel, Skovira has been on point for NETL in activities ranging from strategic financial assistance planning to meticulous award reviews required to commit billions of dollars of funding to projects designed to battle global climate change and strengthen grid security.

The single NETL individual to receive a silver award was:

  • Jonathan DiSciulloSupervisor/Manager in an Administrative Series. Prioritizing team building and employee development, DiSciullo demonstrated excellent leadership as budget supervisor for NETL during unprecedented rapid budget growth and staff expansion due to historic levels of funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act.

NETL individuals receiving bronze awards were:

  • Heather Dougherty —Community Service. A project manager in the Technology Development Center, Dougherty is an active participant in her community, serving on the planning commission, chairing the parks and recreation committee and helping to lead the Parent Teacher Association at her daughter’s school. She also organized workplace events such as potluck lunches and a soup and chili cook-off to build staff camaraderie.
  • Brett Hakey Rookie of the Year (All other fields). A project manager on the Minerals Sustainability Team, Hakey demonstrated the ability to make significant impact by providing unique and efficient solutions to complex problems. Progressing quickly in this role, Hakey took on the duties of serving as a mentor to a newly hired colleague and is currently mentoring a second new employee.
  • Amanda Harker Steele Professional Employee (All other professional fields). Since joining NETL, Harker Steele has applied her skills as a research economist to support projects aimed at building a viable energy future that ensures America’s historic power-producing communities are not left behind as the nation transitions to clean energy.

The Pittsburgh FEB Excellence in Government Awards recognize outstanding federal employees for efforts that encourage innovation and excellence in government, reinforce pride in federal service and call public attention to the broad range of services provided by federal employees.

NETL is a DOE national laboratory that drives innovation and delivers solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. By leveraging its world-class talent and research facilities, NETL is ensuring affordable, abundant, and reliable energy that drives a robust economy and national security, while developing technologies to manage carbon across the full life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans.