Federal Employee of the Year Awards


ROOKIE OF THE YEAR  | Lauren S. Priest, FDA

She began her federal service working in the Food and Drug Administration’s Dallas District Office in July of 2008 following completion of a joint program between the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and the University of Texas at Arlington. She received an MS in Biomedical Engineering (specializing in Tissue Engineering) and a BS in Biology through this program. Prior to public service, she worked in Nutritional Biochemistry and Tissue Engineering research laboratories. Ms. Priest joined the FDA as a Biomedical Engineer to perform the duties of a Consumer Safety Officer or “FDA Investigator” both domestically and internationally. In this role, she was responsible for conducting inspections of medical device manufacturing facilities, human tissue recovery and processing facilities, and pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities.

Ms. Priest worked in this capacity for about seven years during which time she also gained experience working in the FDA post in Beijing, China, and FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), Office of Compliance as a reviewer in the Physical Medicine, Orthopedic, Neurology, and Dental Devices Branch (POND). In 2015, Ms. Priest was recruited to move to FDA’s Denver District Office to become a Compliance Officer specializing in medical device work. Since that time, she has worked on several high profile cases working to gain compliance from industry in order to fulfill the FDA’s mission of protecting public health. Ms. Priest has also continued to perform inspections internationally allowing her to remain cognizant of changing technologies in the industry and keep her skill set relevant. Outside the office, you can find her hiking or snowshoeing in the mountains with her husband and puppy.  


Becky is from a small town in WY, working hard has always been a part of her country roots which has led her into becoming a successful valued employee of the Federal government. What started as a job soon turned to a full time career; Becky has been a part of the Federal government working in Oil & Gas for the past 14 years. Prior to ONRR, Becky worked for BLM. As a “traveling” adjudicator, Becky still goes back and helps out BLM field offices and is called upon often from Industry and BLM for her knowledge and help. Becky is ONRR’s “go to person” and consistently proves that she is dedicated to doing whatever it takes to solve complex and challenging issues with companies. Her focus on solving issues has resulted in streamlining ONRR processes in order to further ONRR’s mission of collecting every dollar due.

Becky displays a passion for the many facets of ONRR and is one of a select few ONRR employees regarded as a well-spring of knowledge. Her ability to see the big picture in any given scenario while maintaining attention to detail is superior. She excels at maintaining integrity in her work by doing the right thing even when it is difficult. Becky sets her standards high and in generously making herself available to mentor others, she is a role model for excellence. Becky Wilkerson has a passion for helping people and sharing her knowledge. She spends her free time with her children and five grandchildren, and loves getting away to the mountains with her husband, family and friends.


Barry Lipscombe is an information technology and cyber security professional whose IT career spans more than 23 years, the last 9 years being served in public service with the Department of Agriculture. Prior to coming to the USDA, Barry served as the IT Director for a multi-national contract manufacturer servicing the electronic, automotive, and medical industries.

Currently, Barry serves as the Security Services Branch Chief for the USDA’s Client Technology Services Infrastructure Operations Division (CTS-IOD). In this position, Barry oversees security operations for over 40,000 USDA users distributed in over 3,000 state, field, and county offices throughout the United States and its territories. He and his team are responsible for CTS’s security operations program as well as vulnerability, risk, and incident management.


Mr. Mavis currently serves as Deputy Director of the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) Denver. He is responsible for leading and managing 22 operations Teams comprising over 250 civilian employees who provide contract administration, production surveillance, engineering services, and quality assurance oversight for a host of NASA and Department of Defense weapon system programs, spares, supplies and services at over 600 contractor locations throughout a 490,000 sq. mile area including Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana and portions of Idaho and Nebraska. He is responsible for 6,500 contracts valued at nearly $40B.

Mr. Mavis began his Government service in 1982 as an Industrial Engineering intern for US Army Forces Command at Ft. Carson, CO. In 1986, he joined DCMA as an Industrial Engineer assigned to the Colorado Springs, CO, office. In 1990, he became a Program Integrator for the Space Operations Defense Center, a portion of the Cheyenne Mountain Upgrade program, and Rapid Execution and Combat Targeting programs.
In 1993, Mr. Mavis became the Chief of Operations Management at DCMA Denver. He also served as Chief of Engineering and accepted an overseas position with DCMA Northern Europe, England. He spent five years working with DCMA’s Technical Assessment Group.


Denice Hurtado has worked as a Customer Support Specialist/Program Coordinator for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Human Resource Solutions (HRS), and Center for Leadership Development (CLD), Western Management Development Center (WMDC) for 20 years. OPM’s Center for Leadership Development (CLD) is dedicated to transforming leaders, to better serve the Federal Government. She currently provides customer service support for 47 leadership courses and 1272 participants. She is advancing her knowledge by learning more about their “Learning Management System” (LMS) that helps instructors and participants find new ways to learn, connect and advance. She assists in building education technologies that interface with participants to foster communication and mass notifications, interactions, and services. She enjoys working for OPM/HRS/CLD/WMDC because of the great impact it has on federal employees, both personally and professionally. Prior to working for the Office of Personnel Management, she worked at the Department of Interior as a Payroll Specialist for seven years. As a Payroll Specialist she processed payroll for the Fish and Wildlife Service, Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Park Service and other agencies.


Patricia Sarin has been with FEMA since March 2009, starting her career in Disaster Emergency Communications (DEC) as a Disaster Reservist. She became the lead Regional Emergency Communications Coordinator (RECC) position in 2013. Since being with FEMA she has provided program support and the coordination of the Regional Emergency Communications Working Group (RECCWG).

As the Region VIII RECC she and her team developed the first FEMA Regional Emergency Communications Plan (RECP) which is a prototype for the other Region’s Plans. Pat received the FEMA Administrators Award for Innovation which provided emergency communication support during the 2011 North Dakota flooding. She has been deployed multiple times to Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana for spring flooding serving as an emergency communications liaison and in a coordination role in the State Emergency Operations Center. She has also been deployed to other Regional offices for various wildfires and hurricanes. 

SPECIAL PROJECT or ACHIEVEMENT | HQ USNORTHCOM Overseas Emergency Medical Payments 

Headquarters United States Northern Command (HQ USNORTHCOM) Resources Team, consisting of Financial Management, Policy, Personnel, and Staff Judge Advocate subject matter experts, identified a “policy gap” in 10 United States (US) Code for emergency care coverage between Department of State (DoS) and Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employees and families serving overseas. Even though DoS and DoD employees worked side by side, only DoS employees had policy approval for their agency to pre-pay emergency medical treatment, while DoD had no policy in-place. This resulted in DoD employees incurring a substantial up-front personal financial burden to receive and then to be released from local in-country hospitals.

The HQ USNORTHCOM Resources Team challenged absent DoD policy and found supporting language in 10 United States Code allowing the DoD to establish an Emergency Medical Prepayment Policy similar to DoS. The team overcame significant “red tape”, out-of-date organizational stovepipes, removed “it’s not my job” excuses, and put the health and welfare of DoD’s most important resource, its people, first!
The team authored a 4-Star Combatant Commander Delegation of Approval Authority letter to the Chief of Staff for immediate implementation across the Command. The team facilitated the first-ever joint working group with Policy, Personnel, Financial Management and Legal subject matter expertise from multiple levels of DoD to outline DoD-wide guidance incorporating the OCONUS perspective.

The HQ USNORTHCOM Resources Team’s tenacity paid off when it successfully garnered approval from the Deputy Secretary of Defense Policy in February, 2016; granting the DoD to authorize prepayment of emergency medical costs and to formally establish the program. This new policy immediately had positive results because employees no longer must maintain unrealistic personal cash reserves, freeing an unnecessary financial burden, so focus and concerns can be directed on completing their very difficult and dangerous overseas missions.

SCIENTIFIC PROJECT or ACHIEVEMENT | Dr.’s Mark O. McLinden & Andrei Kazakov, NIST

Dr. McLinden holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin and joined what was then the National Bureau of Standards in 1984. His research in the NIST Applied Chemicals and Materials Division focuses on highly accurate measurements of fluid properties over wide ranges of temperature and pressure and the design and fabrication of instruments for such measurements. Throughout his career, Dr. McLinden has researched “new” refrigerants; in the 1990s replacements for the ozone-depleting CFC and HCFC refrigerants were the focus, and more recently, his attention has turned to fluids having low global warming potential (GWP). He is the author or coauthor of more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and has received several awards related to his refrigerants research.

Dr. Kazakov holds M.Sc. in Chemical Physics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Penn State. He has lived in Colorado since 2006, when he joined NIST. His research interests include the chemistry and physics of combustion processes, evaluation and modeling of thermophysical and thermochemical property data, and data science. He co-authored over 70 peer-reviewed publications and received several awards related to his research activities. .


May 9, 2018

1:00 – 3:00 pm

Aurora Municipal Center

15151 E. Alameda Parkway | Aurora, CO 80012


Online Registration Opens 4/9/18


2017 Awards Ceremony Program


New Award Nomination will come out in 2019

2015 CFEB Employee Awards


303 202 4588