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AFCEC employees earn federal recognition awards

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- Two Air Force Civil Engineer Center employees earned top honors during the Alamo Federal Executive Board 2014 Federal Recognition Awards luncheon in San Antonio May 7.

Paul Carroll, an environmental coordinator with AFCEC's Installation Directorate, was named professional of the year. He was recognized for his outstanding work managing the Air Force's Base Realignment and Closure Act environmental and property transfer programs for the former bases, Kelly Air Force Base, in San Antonio, and Chanute AFB, Ill.

Among his accomplishments, Carroll saved the Air Force $3.7 million and reduced greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption through an innovative green technology initiative at Chanute testing a theory that poplar and willow trees are the key to containing and treating contaminated groundwater. Trees planted four years ago have eliminated the use of chemicals and are performing better than conventional technology at preventing groundwater from coming into contact with contaminants in landfills.

AFCEC's second winner, Brian Rawls, was named lead mediator of the year and recognized as an Air Force level III advanced mediator, a distinction held by only 10 other people in the service. Rawls, the AFCEC Mission Support Division team lead, is a member of the AFEB Shared Neutral Consortium program which provides free alternative dispute resolution and mediation services to San Antonio area federal agencies.

Rawls' devotion, commitment, interpersonal skills and insightfulness were crucial to resolving complex equal employment opportunity complaints over the past year, according to his nomination package. During the award period, he served as lead or co-mediator in 14 EEO complaints, four negotiated grievance procedures, and two workplace facilitations. He also achieved an 80 percent resolution rate, an accomplishment saving the federal government $898,476 through cost avoidance.

Helping people work out issues and focus on relationships rather than personal interests or positions has been very rewarding Rawls said, and he's honored to be acknowledged for his work.

"It's very humbling to be singled out and recognized as the best from among an outstanding, select cadre of professionals," he said.

"These achievements echo what I am always saying: we are the best of the best and it is our team members that make AFCEC who we are," said AFCEC Director Joe Sciabica.
According to the AFEB website, the Federal Recognition Awards program is one of the most important and coveted forms of non-monetary recognition available to civilian and military employees in government and in the San Antonio area. The program publicizes to the general public, as well as the federal family, the high caliber of devoted employees in federal service.

Along with the first-place winners, the AFEB recognized three runner-ups and five honorable mentions from AFCEC:

Supervisor of the Year Category 1st runner up
Lt. Col. Christopher Meeker

Administrative Support of the Year Category 2nd runner up
Ed Hernandez

Teamwork-Large Team of the Year Category 3rd runner up
AFCEC VIPER Team

Individual Award Honorable Mentions
Joe Alvarado, Faridie (Faye) Johnson and Capt. Grant Harwell

Team Award Honorable Mentions
AFCEC Activity Integration Division Contingency Construction Execution Branch