The Office of General Counsel held its Annual Awards Ceremony with Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews and General Counsel Kelly Welsh on December 2, 2014. The ceremony recognized two Attorneys of the Year and a Support Staff of the Year.
General Counsel Welsh applauded the broad range of accomplishments of OGC staff in 2014, and he highlighted the office’s contributions to advancing the mission of the Department of Commerce.
Deputy Secretary Andrews delivered remarks at the ceremony, thanking members of OGC for their tireless work on behalf of the Department. Deputy Secretary Andrews also presented awards to OGC employees with 30, 35, and 40 years of public service.
Deputy General Counsel for Strategic Initiatives Dawn Yamane Hewett presented the Distinguished Employee Awards to 32 OGC employees from across the country for their outstanding contributions to OGC efforts and initiatives. She also recognized the creation of NOAA’s Attorney Honors Program and honored the program’s founders.
Finally, General Counsel Welsh and Deputy General Counsel Justin Antonipillai presented the Attorney of the Year Awards and the Support Staff of the Year Award.
Lauren Didiuk and Benjamin Friedman received the Attorney of the Year Award.
Lauren Didiuk is the Chief of the Contract Law Division of the Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Finance and Litigation. Ms. Didiuk was chosen as Attorney of the Year for being an outstanding leader who has demonstrated an uncanny ability to resolve difficult matters. She worked tirelessly through the recent government shutdown and provided legal support to the Department’s first Federal Funded Research and Development Center, the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence.
Ben Friedman is the Deputy General Counsel at NOAA. Mr. Friedman was chosen as Attorney of the Year for his exceptional service in assisting the Department as a whole with a number of oversight investigations. He has provided instrumental legal guidance on key issues for the Department and frequently rises abovet his routine duties to advise myriad members of OGC.
Christine Martin was recognized as the Support Staff of the Year. Christine Martin works in the Weather, Satellite and Research Section and the Fisheries and Protected Resources Sections of NOAA’s Office of General Counsel. Ms. Martin was instrumental in the successful completion of the 15th floor SSMC3 renovation project. She also provided outstanding support in a wide spectrum of other activities, including: personnel management, supply management, travel management, and records management.