TSA recognizes top performers and airports of 2021

National Press Release
Friday, March 11, 2022

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recognized its top performers and most effective teams during the TSA Honorary Awards celebration, which was held virtually this year.

“The TSA workforce continues to represent the very best of resilience and innovation in protecting our nation’s transportation systems. It is a privilege once again to recognize those who stepped forward and made significant contributions in meaningful ways in support of the agency,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “I am proud to congratulate them for their outstanding work on behalf of TSA.”

“Blogger Bob” Award

In memory of Curtis “Bob” Burns, who was dedicated to building a social media presence for TSA as “Blogger Bob,” this award recognizes an employee or team who positively influenced public engagement by identifying, crafting, promoting and implementing creative solutions that significantly impacted the traveling public’s views and interactions with TSA.

The TSA Innovation Task Force Stakeholder Engagement Team, which includes Steven Coda, Louis Fletcher and Jessie Fiebig, earned this year’s Blogger Bob Award. They worked throughout the year to identify, test, and deploy inventive and inspired methods to engage with the public through monthly Instagram post suggestions and content, quarterly newsletters, and the Airport Innovation Council.

Gerardo Hernandez “In the Line of Duty” Award

Honoring the memory, service and sacrifice of TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez, this award recognizes employees who distinguish themselves through bravery, valor and heroism in the line of duty. Hernandez was killed in the line of duty at Los Angeles International Airport on November 1, 2013.

The 2021 award recognizes Transportation Security Officer Wallace West from Fort Smith Regional Airport in Fort Smith, Arkansas. While off duty, West awoke to gunfire and observed a gunman at his apartment complex. He made a split-second decision to protect himself, his son and his fellow neighbors. Disregarding his own personal safety, West grabbed his hunting rifle, shot the gunman, and ended the active shooter event.

Norman Y. Mineta “Cornerstone” Award

Each year, this award recognizes and honors the leadership legacy of former Department of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. Following the 9/11 attacks in 2001, Mineta was instrumental in establishing what TSA is today.

The 2021 Norman Y. Mineta “Cornerstone” Award recipient is TSA’s Intelligence and Analysis Operations Team, which maintains the watch day and night each day of the year. This team exemplifies leadership daily and showed their resolve and commitment in fulfilling TSA’s mission. This team of extraordinary individuals went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the safety and security of the traveling public.

Public Service Award

The Public Service Award recognizes significant contributions by TSA employees who volunteer with non-profit or community service programs or activities and have meaningful results for individuals or the larger public good.

The 2021 award recipient is Edward Williams, who is a supervisor within TSA’s Information Technology office. For the past 11 years, he also serves as the CEO and President of Northern Virginia’s Loudoun First Responders Foundation. He has grown this non-profit to provide $270,000 in direct support and scholarship to support local first responders and their families in times of need. At TSA, Williams remains committed to the mission and valued for his leadership.

Other 2021 TSA Honorary Award winners include:

  • Airport of the Year, CAT X-I: Team Harry Reid International Airport
  • Airport of the Year, CAT II-IV: Team Myrtle Beach International Airport
  • Unsung Hero Award for outstanding “behind-the-scenes” performance: Peter Crill from Newark Liberty International Airport, Maria Helmick from TSA’s Enrollment Services and Vetting Programs, Michael Nagel from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Martin Necuze from Miami International Airport, James Parrotte from TSA’s Law Enforcement/Federal Air Marshal Service (LE/FAMS)
  • Transportation Security Officer (TSO) of the Year: Kaitlyn Talley, Grand Junction Regional Airport and Margaret Hanson from Idaho Falls Regional Airport
  • Lead TSO of the Year: Larry Smith from George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas
  • Supervisory TSO of the Year: Justin McLaughlin from Tulsa International Airport
  • Transportation Security Manager of the Year: Alejandra Tamayo of Los Angeles International Airport
  • Coordination Center Employee of the Year: Elizabeth Hamilton of Denver International Airport
  • Assistant Federal Security Director (FSD) of the Year: Christopher Springer of the Federal Air Marshal Service, Dallas
  • Deputy FSD of the Year: Kurt Jordan from George Bush Intercontinental Airport
  • FSDs of the Year: Bart Johnson from Albany International Airport and Kriste Jordan-Smith from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
  • Canine Handler of the Year: David Seamands from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
  • Inspector of the Year: Gary Sprinkle from George Bush Intercontinental Airport
  • Transportation Security Specialist (Explosives) of the Year: Matthew Langner from George Bush Intercontinental Airport
  • Federal Air Marshal (FAM) of the Year: Demarco Tapia from LE/FAMS, Chantilly, Virginia
  • Supervisory Air Marshal in Charge (SAC) of the Year: Thomas Sellers from LE/FAMS headquarters
  • Supervisory FAM or Assistant SAC of the Year: Edward Ambrose of LE/FAMS, Chantilly, Virginia
  • Management, Administrative or Professional Employee of the Year: Michael Nagel from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport
  • Passenger Support Specialist of the Year: Anne Lamborn from Denver International Airport
  • Security Training Instructor of the Year: Patrick Fitzgerald from Rapid City Regional Airport
  • National Deployment Force Officer of the Year: Katherine Ashton-Ly from Security Operations Management, Oakland, California
  • Intelligence or Vetting Analyst of the Year: Mark Hollingsworth from Intelligence and Analysis at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
  • Transportation Security Administration Representative (TSAR) of the Year: Dwaine Murray from TSA headquarters