Wonderful Outstanding Worker Awards


The Wonderful Outstanding Worker (WOW) Awards recognize federal government employees who have demonstrated ongoing excellence or have made an extraordinary contribution to their customers, agency, or team. These are the folks you can always count on to provide the help necessary to get a job done whether the task is large or small.  They consistently assist with a smile and a “CAN DO” attitude and exhibit a personal responsibility for accomplishing the goal.  You can recognize any employee in your organization that fits this description by nominating them for a CFEB WOW Award.

Four (4) awards per quarter (Target is 2 West Slope & 2 Front Range)

Outstanding contribution or achievement by an individual regardless of grade or series, leading to a significant accomplishment toward achieving the agency mission.

Nominations are accepted any time and will be evaluated in the quarter in which they are received and awarded in the following quarter.

  • Nominations received October 1 – December 15 | Awarded on the fourth Thursday of January at the CFEB Quarterly Meeting
  • Nominations received January 1 – March 15 | Awarded on the fourth Thursday of April at the CFEB Quarterly Meeting
  • Nominations received April 1 – June 15 | Awarded on the fourth Thursday of July at the CFEB Quarterly Meeting
  • Nominations received July 1 – September 15 | Awarded on the fourth Thursday of October at the CFEB Quarterly Meeting

Winners will be recognized at the CFEB Quarterly Meetings in Denver, CO on the fourth Thursday of January, April, July, & October.

Any federal employee can submit a nomination providing they have first-hand knowledge of the nominee’s accomplishments.

  • Self-nominations are not accepted
  • One nomination per nominee per quarter (duplicate nominations will be deleted)

Previous winners within a calendar year are not eligible

Submit Your Nomination Online

The form has 4 sections, all of which must be completed.  Incomplete nominations will not be considered.

  1. Complete Section 1 | Click NEXT
  2. Complete Section 2 | Click NEXT
  3. Complete Section 3 | Click Next
  4. Complete Section 4 | Click SUBMIT
  5. You will be redirected to the WOW page.  Scroll down to the Nomination box where your confirmation message (Your submission has been received) will appear.


You will need the following information to complete the online nomination.  We recommend you gather all of this information and prepare your narrative prior to starting the online nomination.

Section 1 | NOMINEE






Section 4 | NOMINATION NARRATIVE (Maximum 250 words)

Describe the nominee’s specific achievements and why they should receive this award.

WINNERS 3rd Quarter 2016

CYNDA DEVORA, Department of Labor

Cynda Devora is so deserving of this award.  She is our quiet Jedi in the office who has overcome and mastered a great many things.  She recently conducted training for Injury Compensation Specialist who traveled from our seven state region to learn basic principles about the Federal workers compensation program.  Many hours of preparation went into coordinating attendees, sending out information and preparing informative, well organized class materials.  She even used her own time and resources to make sure snacks were available for participants. But what makes her effort extraordinary was that conducting this class required Cynda to go way outside of her comfort zone.  Cynda is very shy and it took a lot of courage for her to stand in front of a large group people and teach this class.  She was terrified, and I know she lost many hours of sleep, but she never once said she couldn’t do it.  I know she approached this class with the excellence she brings to work every day, because the participants stated in their training evaluations that their knowledge of our program increased after taking Cynda’s class.  They said she was professional, thorough and well prepared.  Cynda’s ability to facilitate this class and still keep up with her regular senior claims examiner work duties shows her commitment to the office and to making sure our agency representatives have a good grasp on our program.  Because they took her class, the agency reps are able to provide expert assistance to our injured workers.   This is why Cynda is deserving of the WOW award.  Her commitment and dedication pushed her to move beyond her normal shy self and excel in this area that she was definitely not comfortable with.  WOW!



FEMA Region VIII would like to recognize Mr. Adam Espinosa for his industrious efforts in working on one of the largest reoccurring events in Region VIII, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally held in South Dakota.  The Rally touches all six of the Region VIII States in preparation processes before the event and support of resources to watches and Command and Control elements during and after the event.  The Rally has companion events in States surrounding South Dakota leading up to the weeklong event that spans into organized motorcycle runs into Wyoming and Montana as well as the runs taking place throughout South Dakota’s Badlands drawing up 750,000 tourist.  Adam has worked hard to ensure that the State has a good list of Federal Partners contacts and a clear understanding of an agencys capabilities and jurisdictions while at the same time helping Federal partners keep up with planning activities of the State and locals. The inclusive methodology he helped develop in ensuring that Federal partners understand the needs of the State and local government entities made a significant impact on Region VIII’s ability to be in a good posture to meet the mission essential function of response.  Adam’s transparency on sharing information resulted in greater capacity to efficiently staff the watches that take place during the event, improved leadership decision-making through better situational awareness, and enhanced emergency communication awareness across the six-State region.  Adam was instrumental in providing training for State incident support personnel on use of FEMA’s Web EOC and the Mission Assignment processes to move Federal assets building skills to more effectively respond to an incident.  Adam has a special relationship with the State of South Dakota as one of his collateral duties is serving as the State Liaison, this function is the first line of contact in the event of a disaster.  The results of Adam’s work over the last two years have been enhanced Federal presence during the 75th Rally and although the latest Rally required a smaller presence of onsite assets Adam was able to foster a wider distribution of situational awareness materials.  Thanks to Adam Espinos’s hard-work and dedication, FEMA Region VIII is much more capable of responding to and managing an incident arising from or happing in concert with a scheduled large complex event the type of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.



FEMA Region VIII would like to recognize Mr. Nathan Knapp for his superb leadership of the Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT).  As the team lead, Nate has forged what is widely considered to be one of the top teams in FEMA.  As a testament to his skills, the IMAT was requested by name to deploy to the horrific flooding event in Louisiana that started on 11 August 2016.  Due to a previous deployment supporting Louisiana, the FEMA Region VI leadership recognized the capability Nate’s team brings to disaster response and recovery so they were put in charge of the branch with over 70% of the displaced people and flood damage.  Nate and the team immediately focused on helping survivors find housing solutions and were instrumental to the distribution of the majority of the 500 million dollars in housing assistance disseminated to date.  Nate’s exceptional oversight of multiple Disaster Recovery Centers resulted in the registration of the majority of the nearly 140,000 individuals and families that have registered to date.  These registrations led to the approval of 588 million dollars in individual assistance programs and 190 million dollars in Small Business Administration loans.  Despite grueling hours without a day off, Nate’s tremendous leadership has kept the team focused and energized providing Louisiana citizens with the exceptional care and support they deserve during this devastating disaster.  The IMAT has accomplished a tremendous amount over the last year, but their hard-work and dedication supporting the Louisiana disaster is truly amazing.  Nate Knapp is definitely deserving of recognition for his leadership in building this high performing team. 



Ms. Julie A. Thuis merits the highest consideration for the Colorado Federal Employees Board Wonderful Outstanding Worker Award. Her aptitude, as a Budget and Resource Analyst, represent the essential talents resident in her career field as she ensures the budget and funding for NORAD and USNORTHCOM training and exercises. During the past quarter, she displayed every characteristic of an extraordinary resource analyst with flawless oversight of $14M budget that ensured every training event exceeded planned objectives. Ms. Thuis performance, particularly during these periods of extreme funding turmoil, always results in superb products and briefings for the Director. During this period of increased operational tempo she generated multiple point and issue papers in support of all Fiscal Year 18-22 advocacy briefings and on all exercise and training transportation funding activities with flawless execution.  She provided expert financial oversight to reallocate resources to higher priority efforts after identifying efficiencies in other programs and ensured 100% obligation and execution of each budget funding stream. Further, she developed tracking and audit products for education programs; reviewed and tracked unfunded requirements packages each of which were successfully funded; and exceeded all Air Force financial management benchmarks.  She is a stalwart defender of Command programs and is always armed with the right data for each budget discussion which continuously enhances readiness. Her programs are models for her counterparts. Julie’s talents reach well beyond spreadsheets, she is a consummate communicator and consensus builder. Our Nation’s readiness is increased as a result of her talented efforts.




Mouncef Belcaid, DOC, FirstNet
Mirian Cuara, USGS, CERSC
Minda Lucio, SSA
Coleen Weaver, OPM, WMDC


WOW Award Photo