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Roger W. Jones Award for Executive Leadership

The 2022 Nominations for the Roger W. Jones Award for Executive Leadership are now open!

Nominations close July 1st

Roger W. Jones Award for Executive Leadership

RJA 2022 Website Graphic

Since 1978, the Roger W. Jones Award has honored and recognized federal career executives for the Senior Executive Service who have demonstrated dedication to superior leadership in achieving their agency's mission and nurturing future managers.

Award recipients are not only committed to mission success, but also inspire those they lead, consistent with the career of the extraordinary public servant for whom the Award is named.

Roger Jones (February 3, 1908 - May 28, 1993) served seven U.S. presidents over four decades, including tours as Deputy Secretary of State, Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Chairman of the Civil Service Commission.

He extolled the importance of public administration and service, stressing the need to provide professional education for public managers.

Recipients of the Roger W. Jones Award will be honored in a ceremony hosted by American University during the Annual Key Executive Leadership Conference and receive a $2,500 cash award.

Details regarding the 2022 ceremony will be published in the coming months.


Nominations are now open!

The nomination form and criteria is under the quick links section.

Nominations close July 1st.

Questions must be sent to

You can read more about the 2021 Roger W. Jones Award Recipients and Nominators below! 

Congratulations 2021 Roger W. Jones Awardees!

Stephen Breen Headshot

Stephen Breen
San Francisco Regional Commissioner, Social Security Administration

Steve Breen’s federal career spans over 47 Years.  Before starting with the Social Security Administration (SSA), he honorably served his country in the United States Army. 

Steve began his career with SSA in 1974 as a Claims Authorizer in the Western Program Service Center (WNPSC).  In this role, he learned the technical foundation of SSA policies and procedures, adjudicating the most complex claims for Retirement, Survivors, Medicare and Disability, and the importance of customer service. 

In 1978, he began his management career with SSA, as the Assistant Module Manager providing first-line supervision for approximately 30 technicians, then as a second-line supervisor Module Manager.  As a Module Manager, he supervised approximately 50 technicians and 2 subordinate supervisors. 

To expand his knowledge of SSA programs, policies, components, and to gain additional management experience, Steve participated in the Agency’s National Leadership Development Program (NLDP) from 1982-1984.  While in this program, he completed various developmental assignments in Central Office, which ultimately prepared him to assume positions of greater responsibility and leadership.  After completing the NLDP, Steve successfully took on additional supervisory roles in the WNPSC, including Section/Branch Manager, where he was responsible for the operation and oversight of multiple modules and hundreds of employees.  

In 1992, Steve continued to expand his SSA Operations experience by branching out into field operations, as the District Manager of the San Mateo, CA Field Office.  In this role, he provided leadership and guidance to the agency’s frontline employees who provide face-to-face service to members of the public.  He guided employees in speaking with beneficiaries about their rights under Social Security laws, gathering facts and evidence to establish eligibility for benefits, processing initial and post-entitlement actions, determining individual benefit amounts, processing Social Security card requests, and much more.  He developed strong relationships with advocates and local contacts, in an effort to improve and provide the best in public service to the community.  He served on the national negotiating cadre for the agency’s union contract, and was co-lead of a multi-component Cooperative Efforts Workgroup.  Under his leadership and guidance, the workgroup completed a number of notable initiatives, including creating an innovative new process that allowed for efficient cross-component communication on high priority issues, adjudication decision trees, and written procedures.  He also spearheaded the creation of guides still in use by technicians today: the Medicare Basics Desk Guide and the Windfall Offset Desk Guide (a highly error-prone workload).  

In 2000, Steve returned to the WNPSC as the Assistant Regional Commissioner for Processing Center Operations.  Here he led over 1,000 employees who provide services to Social Security beneficiaries throughout the 14 Western States and 3 territories located in the San Francisco, Seattle, and Denver Regions. He collaborated across the six other Processing Centers to set national clearance targets and ensure workload capacity.  He distributed and balanced staff and workloads nationally which increased productivity across the organization, addressed severe understaffing in a number of the processing centers, and improved public service to members of the American public.

In 2004, Steve was appointed to the Senior Executive Service (SES) based on his demonstrated experience and leadership qualifications, and in 2009, he was selected as the Assistant Regional Commissioner for Management and Operations Support.  There he directed over 200 employees who provide critical support for operations personnel in a variety of administrative and programmatic areas such as automation support, facilities management, financial management, management information, personnel management, policy and programmatic systems, SSA programs, physical security, systems security and integrity, space planning, and training. 

In 2013, Steve was selected as the Deputy Regional Commissioner of the San Francisco Region.  He became the Acting Regional Commissioner in June 2017 and was selected as the permanent Regional Commissioner (RC) in June 2019.  As the RC for the San Francisco Region, he leads over 6,000 employees under his line-authority, in the States of Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada and the Pacific Islands of Saipan, Guam and American Samoa.  The region consists of 150 SSA Field Offices, , 5 Resident Stations, 6 Teleservice Centers, the WNPSC and the Regional Office.  Combined, these components provide service to over 51 million people, or 15.6% of the nation's population. In 2020, the San Francisco region paid approximately $152B in benefits to over 10M beneficiaries and recipients.

He is a highly respected and principled leader who has dedicated his professional career to serving the public, strengthening the agency’s programs, improving the organization, and developing the agency’s employees.  His colleagues and peers across the nation recognize Mr. Breen for his dedication and commitment to public service as well as his knowledge of SSA operations.  He is the recipient of numerous awards and citations, including several Regional Commissioner Citations, a Deputy Commissioner for Operations Citation and several SES performance awards.

Steve has a Bachelor's Degree in Government and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, both from California State University, Hayward.

Maribeth Petrizzi

Maribeth Petrizzi

Assistant Director, Compliance Division, Federal Trade Commission

Maribeth Petrizzi has been an antitrust practitioner since she graduated from Boston College Law School in 1990. She is the Assistant Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Compliance Division and she served as the Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition from February 2021 to June 2021. As the Acting Director, Ms. Petrizzi oversaw the work of approximately 300 attorneys in enforcing the nation’s antitrust laws to promote the interests of consumers. As the Assistant Director of the Compliance Division she   oversees the drafting and negotiation of FTC orders originating in the Bureau of Competition and oversees company conduct required by the orders. Prior to her tenure at the FTC, Ms. Petrizzi was the Chief of the Defense, Industrials, and Aerospace Section of the Antitrust Division (Division) of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) for sixteen years. She joined the Division in 1998 after working at the FTC and in private practice.

For almost three decades, Ms. Petrizzi has been instrumental in facilitating the Division’s and the FTC’s achievement of their missions to promote economic competition through enforcing the antitrust laws. Her work at the Division and at the FTC has helped ensure that American consumers reap the benefits of a free and open marketplace. Ms. Petrizzi has exhibited the highest levels of leadership, including by leading change and leading people across the Division and the FTC. She has worked tirelessly to help develop a strong and diverse workforce within both agencies. Ms. Petrizzi has participated in successful litigation at the Division and has led the effort to resolve nearly 100 matters through settlement processes at the Division and the FTC.

As the Chief of the Division’s Defense, Industrials, and Aerospace Section, Ms. Petrizzi was responsible for enforcement across key sectors of the U.S. economy, including the defense, avionics and aeronautics, banking, industrial equipment, road and highway construction, metals and mining, and waste industries. She has a history of effectively promoting collaboration across government agencies, including the Department of Defense, the branches of the Armed Services, and the various intelligence agencies.  In addition, while at the Division, Ms. Petrizzi also worked closely with other federal agencies to review banking mergers, including numerous mergers of failing banks during the 2008 financial crisis.  Ms. Petrizzi received the Presidential Rank Award for her career accomplishments as a member of the Senior Executive Service in 2019.

Ms. Petrizzi exemplifies the FTC’s and the Division’s desire to foster diversity. She has supported efforts to diversify the FTC’s and the Division’s workforce and to facilitate greater understanding among their employees. Ms. Petrizzi was an active participant in the Division’s Diversity Committee from its formation until she left the Division. She is now a member of the FTC’s Diversity Council and chairs its Sustainability Committee. 

Under her leadership, the Division’s Diversity Committee initiated several new projects that benefited the Division. She helped develop, and acted as a moderator for, a “Disabilities in the Workplace Speaker Series” (Speaker Series). This Speaker Series addressed attitudinal barriers that may affect the hiring of qualified persons with disabilities for positions in the Department. The Speaker Series delivered the message that qualified persons with disabilities can be productive additions to the Department’s efforts to enforce this country’s laws. In recognition of her contributions in fostering diversity and inclusion, Ms. Petrizzi received the Attorney General’s Award for Equal Employment Opportunity in 2016 and 2018, as well as the Assistant Attorney General’s Diversity Champion Award in 2017.

Ken Sheely

Kenneth Sheely
Acting Principal Deputy Associate Administrator for Safety, Infrastructure & Operations, National Nuclear Security Administration, U.S. Department of Energy

Mr. Sheely is the Principal Deputy Associate Administrator for the Office of Safety, Infrastructure, and Operations at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).  He is responsible for leading efforts to maintain, operate, and modernize NNSA’s infrastructure in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.  This includes more than 5,000 facilities located in seven states comprising over $120 billion in real property assets.  Mr. Sheely oversees programs with an annual budget of $2.5 billion. 

Mr. Sheely began his federal service at the Department of Energy in October 1989 and was appointed as a Senior Executive Service member in May 2006.  His prior leadership positions include:

  • Deputy Associate Administrator for Infrastructure,
  • Program Executive Officer for Infrastructure and Operations,
  • Associate Assistant Deputy Administrator for the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, and
  • Associate Assistant Deputy Administrator for the Material Protection, Control and Accounting.

In the last two positions, he led efforts to secure nuclear and radiological materials in the Former Soviet Union and around the world.

Mr. Sheely has been awarded

  • The Roger W. Jones Award for Executive Leadership (2021), 
  • A Presidential Rank Award for outstanding achievements (2016),
  • The Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Distinguished Project Award (2011),
  • Eight Secretary of Energy Awards (2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2018-2, 2019), and
  • The William A. Jump Award for Outstanding Service in Public Administration (1998).

Mr. Sheely holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Chemical Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and in Physics from Shippensburg University.  He and his wife Kristen have two children, Derek and Keyton.  Keyton works for Project Hope a non-profit in Boston.  Derek died from a brain injury in 2011 while playing college football.  Mr. Sheely and his family established The Derek Sheely Foundation to raise awareness about sports related brain injuries (concussions).

Brian Toland

Brian Toland
Command Counsel, Office of the Command Counsel, Headquarters, U.S. Army Materiel Command

Brian E. Toland was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in November 2009, and became Command Counsel for the U.S. Army Materiel Command in October 2012. Mr. Toland is responsible for the furnishing of legal advice and services in all fields of law and regulation concerning worldwide Army Materiel Command activities, including business law, ethics, acquisition law, litigation, logistics, intellectual property law, environmental law, and employment and labor law. Prior to his current assignment, Mr. Toland served as the Deputy Command Counsel for the U.S. Army Materiel Command from November 2009 to October 2012. 

Mr. Toland is a 1985 graduate of Providence College where he graduated summa cum laude and also received his commission through the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps program. He graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1988 and served on active duty as an Army Judge Advocate from January 1989 - September 1994.

Mr. Toland has been a civilian attorney with Army Materiel Command since September 1994 serving in a variety of assignments and positions with the U.S. Army Aviation and Troop Command, St. Louis, Missouri from 1994-1997; U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama from 1997-2006; and Headquarters, U.S. Army Materiel Command, Fort Belvoir, Virginia from 2006-2009.

Mr. Toland retired from the U.S. Army Reserves at the rank of Colonel in July 2018 after 29 years of service. He is a 2011 graduate of the U.S. Army War College. He has also received accreditation in Executive Coach Training from the American University School of Professional and Extended Studies and is a practicing Executive Coach for the U.S. Army. Mr. Toland was awarded the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service in 2019. He is licensed to practice law in the State of Connecticut. Mr. Toland is a long standing member of the Federal Bar Association and a past President of the North Alabama Chapter.

Meet the 2021 Awardees' Nominators

Grace Kim
Deputy Commissioner for Operations, Social Security Administration

Nominated Stephen Breen

Grace M. Kim has been serving as the Deputy Commissioner for Operations (DCO) for the Social Security Administration since January 2019. She is responsible for the Agency’s largest frontline component, which is comprised of more than 40,000 SSA employees and 15,000 State Disability Determination Services employees. Ms. Kim administers SSA programs and services that touch the lives of virtually every person in this country, those who live in U.S. Territories, and Social Security beneficiaries living abroad. Through a network of about 1,200 field offices, 24 national call centers, 8 processing centers, 10 regional offices, 52 state agencies that adjudicate SSA disability claims, and 6 Federal Benefit Field Regions around the world, Ms. Kim is responsible for ensuring that 71M beneficiaries and recipients receive over $1 trillion each year. 

Ms. Kim’s distinguished federal career with SSA spans over 31 years and began in 1989, when she began her Federal service as a staff attorney with the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) for the Department of Health and Human Services in Chicago. When SSA became an independent agency in 1995, she continued her career in OGC, serving in a number of leadership positions, including as SSA’s Regional Chief Counsel for the San Francisco Region. In 2013, Ms. Kim joined Operations as SSA’s Regional Commissioner for the San Francisco Region and was responsible for SSA’s Operations in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the Far Pacific. 

Rebecca Slaughter
Acting Chairwoman
Federal Trade Commission

Nominated Maribeth Petrizzi

Rebecca Kelly Slaughter was sworn in as a Federal Trade Commissioner on May 2, 2018, and was designated Acting Chairwoman on January 21, 2021.

Acting Chairwoman Slaughter brings to the Commission more than a decade of experience in competition, privacy, and consumer protection. She builds consensus for a progressive vision, and staunchly advocates for our nation’s consumers and workers. Acting Chairwoman Slaughter believes that the FTC’s dual missions of promoting competition and protecting consumers are interconnected and complementary, and she is mindful that enforcement or rule-making in one arena can have far-reaching implications for the other.

A proponent of greater resources, transparency, and comprehensive use of the FTC’s authorities, Acting Chairwoman Slaughter is outspoken about the growing threats to competition and the broad abuse of consumers’ data. Targeted merger retrospectives, corrective enforcement, and expansion of the Commission’s rule-making authorities are among the approaches that she has championed during her time at the FTC. Along with advocating for consumers, particularly those traditionally underrepresented and marginalized, Acting Chairwoman Slaughter strongly supports working families and work-life balance.

Before joining the FTC, Ms. Slaughter served as Chief Counsel to Senator Charles Schumer of New York, the Democratic Leader. She was an associate in the D.C. office of Sidley Austin LLP before entering federal service.

Ms. Slaughter received her B.A. in Anthropology magna cum laude from Yale University and her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she served as an editor on the Yale Law Journal. She lives in Maryland with her wonderful husband and their four amazing children.

James McConnell
Associate Administrator for Safety, Infrastructure and Operations, National Nuclear Security Administration, U.S. Department of Energy

Nominated Kenneth Sheely

James McConnell is the Associate Administrator for Safety, Infrastructure and Operations for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). He is responsible for overall NNSA safety activities, operations, infrastructure, capital planning, packaging and transportation, nuclear materials integration, and sustainment & environmental programs for the National Security Enterprise. In addition, he is NNSA's Central Technical Authority responsible for safety policy and interpretation throughout NNSA.

Prior to his current position, Mr. McConnell was the Deputy Associate Administrator for Infrastructure and Operations. He held several positions within NNSA’s Office of Defense Programs, including Assistant Deputy Administrator for Nuclear Safety and Operations.

Mr. McConnell was NNSA's first Chief of Defense Nuclear Safety. In that position, he established the office and its functions.

Prior to joining NNSA, Mr. McConnell held several senior staff positions at the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board including Deputy Technical Director, Group Leader for the Nuclear Weapons Program, and Site Representative at the Pantex Plant.

A former U.S. Navy submarine officer, Mr. McConnell holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and master’s degrees in engineering from the Catholic University of America and George Washington University.

Lisha Adams
Executive Deputy to the Commanding General, U.S. Army Materiel Command, Department of the Army
Nominated Brian Toland

Selected for the Senior Executive Service in January 2011, Lisha H. Adams became the Executive Deputy to the Commanding General, U.S. Army Materiel Command, in August 2015. As the Command's chief management officer, she is respinsible for materiel life cycle management, acquisition support, personnel and resource management, industrial base operations, enterprise integration and provision of R&D and Science & Technology. The Army Materiel Command's 64,000 personnel span the globe to give Warfighters a decisive edge, with an annual appropriated and working capital fund budget over $40 billion. 

From August 2014 to August 2015, she served as the assigned Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Materiel Readiness, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics). She was responsible for the development and implementation of acquisition and sustainment strategies, policies, and processes that provide the Warfighter with cost-effective weapon sysem readiness across the life cycle, through an inegrated defense industrial base. 


Roger W. Jones Award Selection Committee 

Dr. Patrick Malone
Director, Key Executive Leadership Programs; Roger W. Jones Award Committee Chair, School of Public Affairs, American University

David S. C. Chu
President, Institute for Defense Analyses; Co-Chairman, Transition 2017, National Academy of Public Administration

Ed Deseve
Co-Chairman, Transition 2017, National Academy of Public Administration; Executive in Residence, Brookings Executive Education; former Special Adviser to the President

Mortimer Downey
President, Mort Downey Consulting, LLC; National Academy of Public Administration Fellow; former Deputy Secretary of U.S. Department of Transportation

Terry Gerton
President and CEO, National Academy of Public Administration

Sallyanne Harper
Past President, Association of Federal Enterprise Risk Management; National Academy of Public Administration Fellow; Member Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board

David Mader
Civilian Sector Chief Strategy Officer, Deloitte

Bob Tobias
Distinguished Practitioner in Residence; Former Director, Key Executive Leadership Programs