At yesterday's Secretary Awards ceremony, we honored some of the people who make the U.S. Department of Transportation one of the best places to work in government.
These individuals were selected for their tremendous leadership and dedication in serving the Department and the American people.
One of our first award recipients yesterday was Dolores Macias. She received an Excellence Award for her work in the Idaho branch of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Under Dolores's leadership, her division dramatically increased the number of safety compliance reviews performed. Thanks in large part to their efforts, commercial vehicle crashes in Idaho have dropped three years in a row.
Another honoree, Timothy McQuaid from the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) Region 4 offices in Chicago, received an Excellence Award for his role in uncovering the widespread failure of a Class 1 railroad to maintain their fleet of equipment up to federal standards. Because of his efforts, the railroad committed to upgrading their inspection and oversight processes, improving safety on our nation's freight corridors.
We also honored a number of our employees who have devoted their talent and experience to U.S. missions overseas. In 2003, the Operation Enduring Freedom-Operation Iraqi Freedom Service Award was created to recognize U.S. Military Reservists and civilian employees who are called to defend our country abroad.
This year, we honored eleven DOT employees who have served and continue to serve our nation in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East: Julie Abraham, Andrew Alexander, David DeCarme, Dan Diggins, James Eric Ferron, Alan Hendry, Darrell Hood, David Maynard, William Norris, Daniel Nguyen, and Jerome Steber.
These remarkable men and women have gone above and beyond--not only aiding our country, but using their expertise to improve the daily lives of people living abroad.
The Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Recovery Act Evaluation and Data Group received a Team Award for their consistent data collection and accountability on Recovery Act projects. With FHWA awarding $26.6 billion for more than 12,900 road and bridge projects across the country, their work helped ensure that Recovery Act dollars were spent responsibly and transparently.
Employees from throughout the Department were recognized as part of the multi-modal National Distracted Driving Initiative Team. These folks helped develop our national program to reduce distracted driving by building public awareness, conducting research, hosting our national Distracted Driving Summit, and working on a rulemaking to prohibit commercial drivers from texting behind the wheel.
Finally, the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Pilot Fatigue Rulemaking Team received one of our highest honors, the Outstanding Achievement Gold Medal, in recognition of their work to address pilot fatigue in the wake of the Colgan Air flight 3407 crash in February 2009. Because of their tireless efforts, we were recently able to introduce a major proposed rulemaking that will improve safety for the 700 million passengers who fly each year.
At home or abroad, DOT professionals are committed to going above and beyond the call of duty. And I thank all of them, once again, for their service to the American people.