Lakewood resident receives Presidential Rank Award
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Regional Director Dr. Thomas J. Casadevall was honored with the prestigious Presidential Rank Award on May 8, 2007 in Washington D.C. Casadevall, a Lakewood resident based at the Denver Federal Center, was selected for his accomplishments in business acumen, leading people through change and producing outstanding results.
A 30-year veteran of the USGS, Casadevall has been instrumental in creating and sustaining new areas of scientific investigation that are closely tied to the protection of human life and property. In his early career as a volcanologist, he identified the hazard posed by airborne volcanic ash to commercial and general aviation. Working with the aviation community, he developed a volcano advisory warning system for pilots in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency.
Casadevallís career has emphasized the importance of mitigating the impacts of natural disasters by leading new efforts to make USGS programs in wildfire, landslides, earthquakes, and subsidence more effective through providing timely, accurate information to customers, cooperators, and stakeholders in formats most useful to them.
During the days immediately following the Hurricane Katrina disaster, Casadevall visited impacted areas in Louisiana and Mississippi. After first ensuring that all 400 USGS employees and contractors were accounted for, he quickly assessed the needs of impacted employees and facilities, offering displaced employees the opportunity to relocate temporarily to other USGS offices on work details, and providing support to those who were able to stay and render emergency assistance utilizing USGS boats, trucks and supplies. By helping employees focus on the unique strengths of the USGS to provide critically needed information in this natural disaster, he enabled USGS personnel to provide geospatial data for search and rescue operations carried out by numerous federal and state agencies, real-time maps of the impact zone for FEMA, spatial analyses of multiagency imagery of impacted areas, structural damage and roadway accessibility assessments, and spatial support for establishing medical surveillance. For these efforts, Casadevall, along with a team of personnel from locations impacted by Hurricane Katrina were bestowed the esteemed Service to America Award.
For the past decade Casadevall has held senior leadership positions within the USGS including his tenure as the first Regional Director of the Western Region (1996-1997); the Acting Director of the USGS (1998); Deputy Director of USGS (1999); and, most recently, Regional Director of the 15 states of the Central Region (2000-present). Over 2,500 employees and 980 on-site contractors distributed in 88 cities and 21 field offices comprise the USGS workforce in the Central Region where the scientific issues and challenges encompass topics as diverse as energy development, wildfires, groundwater depletion, and the impacts of agricultural practices.
Each year, the President recognizes and celebrates a small group of career Senior Executives with the Presidentís Rank Award for exceptional long-term accomplishments. Winners of this prestigious award are strong leaders, professionals, and scientists who achieve results and consistently demonstrate strength, integrity, industry, and a relentless commitment to excellence in public service. They are nominated by their agency heads, evaluated by boards of private citizens, and approved by the President.
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