Washington, DC (December 5, 2008) - Paul T. Conway, Chief of Staff to Federal Coordinator Douglas O'Dell at the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding (OFC), U.S. Homeland Security, was honored by Secretary Michael Chertoff at the Fourth Annual Secretary's Honor Awards. Secretary Chertoff selected Conway to receive one of the Secretary's Silver Medals, the second highest award at the Department of Homeland Security. Additionally, the 16-member OFC team on which Conway serves as Chief of Staff was honored with two Secretary's Awards for Team DHS Excellence.
Conway was selected by Secretary Chertoff to receive the Secretary's Silver Medal in recognition of exceptional individual leadership and service distinguished by achievements of marked significance over time to the Department of Homeland Security. Conway, a 1997 kidney transplant patient who received his kidney at the Medical College of Virginia, has a long history of public service and was recognized for his efforts on multiple projects related to Gulf Coast recovery. Most recently, Conway served as the Chief of Staff to Secretary Elaine Chao at the U.S. Department of Labor and as Chief of Staff to Director Kay Coles James at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Conway also served as the Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources for Virginia Governor George Allen, as well as in appointments under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.
"I am particularly proud of my Chief of Staff Paul Conway and his selection by Secretary Chertoff to receive a Secretary's Silver Medal. Paul is a leader who exemplifies the full scope of what it means to be a 'public servant,'" O'Dell said. "His service to the American taxpayer and commitment to public accountability throughout Government and across the Gulf Coast is marked by many successes on behalf of the President, Secretary Chertoff and the people of the Gulf Coast."
Additionally, the OFC team received the first Team DHS Excellence award which recognizes the OFC's work supporting President George W. Bush's priority to build a stronger hurricane protection system for New Orleans. OFC played a lead role in coordinating the efforts to date among the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Louisiana and local governments, as well as other key community and business stakeholders.
The second Secretary's Award for Team DHS Excellence recognizes OFC for working closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to establish the Transparency Initiative Web Tool—www.FEMARecovery.gov. This public accountability tool allows local stakeholders, Offices of Inspectors General, U.S. Attorneys and the overall general public to see how FEMA public assistance dollars provided to Louisiana are spent on recovery and rebuilding projects as well as view the status of rebuilding critical infrastructure projects, such as the local public schools. The tool is specifically designed to infuse accountability into the rebuilding process at all levels.
O'Dell added, "President Bush made flood protection for the New Orleans area a number-one priority, and he has a terrific bipartisan team of professionals in the Gulf Coast Rebuilding office who have been and remain fully dedicated to achieving results on behalf of their fellow citizens in the Gulf Coast. The team is dedicated to the mission of rebuilding the Gulf Coast; they are honored by this tremendous recognition; and they continue to serve with the same energy and determination. Their selfless service captures the ideal of public service. I appreciate Secretary Chertoff's recognition of their tremendous achievements."
The OFC team was among about 100 employees at the department of more than 208,000 to receive a Secretary's Honor Award.
The Office of the Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding has been engaged in facilitating and streamlining the recovery effort, providing key federal support and resources to state and local leaders, as well as reinforcing the federal overnment's commitment to the people of the Gulf Coast.