Blog, Videos and Podcast

This highly specialized Justice Department manager helps 9/11 victims get what they were promised
June 2, 2022 |
17 minutes
More than two decades after the 9/11 attacks, some victims have not been compensated. This guest took over the Victim Compensation Fund when it was foundering a few years back. Now tens of thousands of people have received payments from the fund. Rupa Bhattacharyya is special master for the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund at the Justice Department and a finalist in this year’s Service to America Medals program. She spoke to the Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
This State Department executive has spent a career fighting for human rights
May 26, 2022 |
15 minutes
If the State Department stands for human rights and dignity around the world, then Scott Busby stands at the center of the State Department for his career seeking to defend human rights and protect refugees. Federal Drive with Tom Temin talks to Busby, a finalist in this year’s Service to America Medals, and the deputy assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
How one agency made sure vaccines and other COVID medicines reached the poor and underserved
May 19, 2022 |
17 minutes
When the government spent billions on health measures in response to the pandemic, officials worried whether enough would flow to the poor and vulnerable. Such people live in both urban and rural areas. This guest on the Federal Drive with Tom Temin coordinated the work to get millions of vaccines and other medications to community health centers. She’s the director of the Office of Quality Improvement at the Health Resources and Services Administration, and a finalist in this year’s Service to America Medals program, Dr. Suma Nair.
Meet the guy who got fixed NASA’s big telescope and made sure it got into space
May 12, 2022 |
17 minutes
The James Webb Space Telescope has been sending back mind-bending data since its launch last year. But a few years ago the project was mired in trouble. More than a decade late and billions of dollars over budget. My next came in and got it all back on track. He’s the James Webb program manager, and a finalist in this year’s Service to America Medals program. Gregory Robinson joined the Federal Drive with Tom Temin to discuss.
Bridging the Trust Gap
May 6, 2022 |
49 minutes

The first episode of our second season features a panel discussion headlined by several of our 2022 Service to America Medals finalists, a group of exceptional public servants who have dedicated their careers to improving the health, safety, and security of our country. Event speakers shared their insights on why public trust in government matters, what agencies are doing to bridge the trust gap and what leaders can do to motivate a new generation to enter public service. The event—hosted by the Partnership for Public Service as part of Public Service Recognition Week—was moderated by Margaret Talev, managing editor for politics at Axios and CNN political analyst, and included remarks from Partnership President and CEO Max Stier as well as Shalanda Young, the newly appointed permanent director of the Office of Management and Budget.

2022 Service to America Medals finalists from panel: 

  • Mitch Zeller, former director at the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products      
  • Kyle Armstrong, former supervisory special agent at the FBI  
  • Bob Fenton, Region 9 administrator at FEMA   

Resources mentioned during the episode: 

‘Tis the season to honor those who serve the country with distinction
May 5, 2022 |
18 minutes
It’s that time of year once again, the season to honor those who serve the country with distinction. The Partnership for Public Service has announced finalists in the Service to America Medals, or Sammies, program. This year there’s a special category for COVID-19 response. For more, the president and CEO of the Partnership, Max Stier spoke to the Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
The Fearless Forecaster
November 29, 2021 |
37 minutes

Jamie Rhome has revolutionized the way the government tracks and predicts storm surges. In this episode, Rhome, a storm surge specialist at the National Hurricane Center, talks about why effective public communication is critical to hurricane preparedness, how his work has built public trust in the government’s weather forecast, how the NHC has adapted to COVID-19 and why Hurricane Katrina was a wake-up call for the way the center operated.

The “Oscars” of Government Service
November 1, 2021 |
43 minutes
This week, we’re giving you a front-row seat to the nation’s premier awards program honoring excellence in government: The Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals®—or the Sammies, for short. You’ll hear President Joe Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Geoff Bennett of NBC News and a host of others recognize exceptional public servants doing remarkable things for our country, from driving America’s wireless revolution to designing the basic structure of the COVID-19 vaccine. To learn more about this year’s finalists and winners, visit
Revitalizing Veterans’ Health Care
October 17, 2021 |
37 minutes

When Victoria Brahm arrived as the new acting director of Wisconsin’s Tomah VA Medical Center in 2015, she encountered declining staff morale, high employee turnover and an organization in crisis that was failing to fulfill its mission. In this episode of Profiles in Public Service, Brahm discusses how she overcame these challenges to ensure that veterans at Tomah receive the care they deserve and the medical center’s leading innovations in pain management.

Closing the Gap
July 17, 2021 |
32 minutes

Monica Hawkins and Charles D. Eldridge, two leaders at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, discuss the Foster Youth to Independence Initiative, a groundbreaking program that provides housing vouchers and other forms of assistance to young people aging out of foster care. Hawkins and Eldridge discuss why they launched FYI, its impact on at-risk youth and what others in government can learn from their work.

Page header: Charles Bolden, former Administrator of NASA, interviewed backstage at the 2013 Sammies gala