Blog, Videos and Podcasts

This NASA team's work means the whole world can sleep a little better
November 16, 2023 |
11 min
As if pandemic, threats of nuclear war, and a lack of Tesla charging stations aren't enough to worry about, there is always the possibility that an asteroid could hit the earth and wipe-out all of us. A team at NASA discovered a way to alter the path of an asteroid, should one come too close and they garnered the distinction of being finalists in this year's Service to America Medals program, also known as the Sammies. For the details, Federal Drive Host Tom Temin talked with two members of NASA's Planetary Missions Program Office: Program Manager Brian Key and Mission Manager Scott Bellamy.
This law enforcement sting operation netted a thousand arrests
November 2, 2023 |
10 min
Imagine an operation in which 10,000 law enforcement people worldwide arrested a thousand violent organized criminals. That is what happened in 2021, in an operation known as Trojan Shield. A Justice Department team led the effort. Team leaders have won this year's Service to America Medal for safety, security and international affairs. Federal Drive Host Tom Temin talked with one of them: Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh Mellor.
They helped write a big law and now they help to carry it out
October 26, 2023 |
10 min
Somebody had to actually write the trillion dollar infrastructure bill back in 2021. Its proponents expect it to help modernize old bridges and highways, among other things. Federal Drive Host Tom Temin's guests helped Congress craft the bill. Now they're leading the Transportation Department team helping to implement it. For their work, they won this year's Service to America medal for management excellence. Gloria Shepherd is Executive Director of the Federal Highway Administration and Maria Lefevre is the Executive Director of the Office of the Undersecretary of Transportation.
The government's best and most accomplished get honored this evening
October 17, 2023 |
8 min
The Service to America Medals program known as the Sammies, administered by the Partnership for Public Service, each year recognizes the most accomplished career civil servants. Here on the Federal Drive we've been featuring interviews with Sammies finalists each week since the spring. Tonight the Partnership will announce the winners at the Kennedy Center. To talk about all of that, Federal Drive Host Tom Temin talked with Max Stier, the President and CEO of the Partnership.
This Transportation Department team secured a billion dollars in refunds for airline passengers
October 12, 2023 |
8 min
Few experiences, at least in the civilized world, are worse than airline screw-ups. Flights that take off hours late, if they take off at all. Passengers forced to sleep in cold, noisy airports. But a team at the Transportation Department has managed to get compensation for thousands of passengers. Now they're finalists in this year's service to America Medals program. Federal Drive Host Tom Temin spoke with Senior Trial Attorney Rob Gorman.
This Rocky has been knocking-out cancer for decades, using statistics
October 6, 2023 |
10 min
The work of our next guest has spanned 40 years and helped save lives. For that work at the NIH, he's a finalist for the Paul Volcker Career Achievement Award from the Partnership for Public Service. Federal News Network's Eric White spoke with Dr. Rocky Feuer, the Chief of the Statistical Research and Applications Branch at the National Cancer Institute.
This USDA entomologist lets bugs do the dirty work of eliminating other bugs
October 5, 2023 |
9 min
Apple and pear growers in Washington State are using insects instead of chemical pesticides to control other bugs that can ruin crops. It's an old idea, but not a practical one, until now. Credit goes to an entomologist at the Agriculture Research Service, who is also a finalist in this year's Service to America Medals program. Federal Drive Host Tom Temin spoke with her: Rebecca Schmidt-Jeffris.
Meet the team leaders behind last year's successful fusion experiment
September 28, 2023 |
10 min
It didn't last very long, but scientists at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) did run a test that resulted in nuclear fusion late last year. Fusion means the reaction put out more energy than the input to produce it. The proof of concept got lots of acclaim. And it produced finalists in the Service to America Medals program. Federal Drive Host Tom Temin spoke with those Sammies finalists: Dr. Sarah Nelson, Director of NNSA's Defense Programs Office and Dr. Samantha Calkins, Program Manager for High Density and Ignition Science.
This team from HHS has spent five years taking on the rural crisis of opioid use
September 8, 2023 |
21 min
The opioid scourge is as much a rural as an urban problem. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), part of Health and Human Services, has spent five years and hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to rural health services providers to help battle a nearly overwhelming problem. For its work, the HRSA team leading the effort has been named a finalist in the Service to America Medals program. Federal Drive Host Tom Temin spoke with two members in-studio: HRSA's Rural Strategic Initiatives Director, Megan Meacham and Team Lead Sarah O'Donnell. (Deputy director Allison Hutchings is the third member).
Crime and terror victims get compensation thanks to this federal career leader
August 31, 2023 |
22 min
It sounds cliché to say someone has devoted a career to helping others. But my the guest in this interview has literally done that. Specifically, she has helped victims of terrorism and crime. Among her accomplishments, is drafting Justice Department policy for the International Terrorism Victim Expense Reimbursement Program. Federal Drive Host Tom Temin spoke with Carolyn Hightower the Deputy Director of the Office on Trafficking in Persons, part of the Health and Human Services department, who is also a finalist in this year's Service to America Medals program, known as the Sammies.
Page header: Charles Bolden, former Administrator of NASA, interviewed backstage at the 2013 Sammies gala