Blog, Videos and Podcasts

An old medical product gets a modern makeover thanks to this USDA scientist
August 17, 2023 |
19 min
Ever get a cut and use cotton gauze to wipe it up? Cotton gauze is just cotton gauze, right? Not to my Federal Drive Host Tom Temin's guest. He developed new cotton fabrics that have proven more effective in trauma care and other medical requirements than the traditional ones. In fact, his invention is the first new medical gauze in 50 years. Vince Edwards is a chemist with the Agricultural Research Service and a finalist in this year's Service to America Medals Program, also known as the Sammies.
This Labor Department advisor has been working disability issues for decades
August 10, 2023 |
11 min
Persistence and focus have paid off for one Labor Department policy advisor. His beat for 23 years of federal service has been access for people with disabilities, access to transportation, jobs, and technology at the federal and state levels. For his work he's a finalist in this year's Service to America Medals program. Supervisory Policy Advisor Michael Reardon.
This federal team put the last few pieces into the human genome puzzle
August 3, 2023 |
21 min
Like so many projects, sequencing human genomes has gotten harder the closer the work came to completion. A National Institutes of Health team spent seven years heading up a worldwide consortium assembling the last 8% of the human genetic code. For its work, the team has made the finals of this year's Partnership for Public Service's Service to America Medals program, aka "the Sammies." Federal Drive Host Tom Temin spoke with Dr. Adam Phillippy, who is part of the NIH team, which also included scientists Sergey Koren and Arang Rhie.
She rescued this sea-faring federal group from sinking under its own culture
July 27, 2023 |
21 min
For service members or civilians aboard the nation's ships and planes, nothing is worse than a culture of assault, bullying and sexual harassment. Yet those were widespread on the craft operated by the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA). Federal Drive Host Tom Temin's guest set about fixing a toxic culture. Now she's a finalist in this year's Service to America Medals program. She is Rear Admiral Nancy Hann, the Director of NOAA's Commissioned Corps and Director of its Marine and Aviation Operations.
Meet the man who transformed NASA, no less
July 20, 2023 |
20 min
The 2003 crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia sparked big changes at NASA. That's when its Engineering and Safety Center got established, in order to provide safety oversight and a culture more attuned to safety. Federal Drive Host Tom Temin's guest was the lead guy for the Engineering and Safety Center, and he's a finalist in this year's Service to America Medals program, the Sammies. He's Ralph Roe, Jr., NASA's former Chief Engineer.
This Defense official put allied suppliers to Ukraine on speed dial
July 13, 2023 |
19 min
For nearly 18 months, the United States and its allies have shored up Ukraine with advanced weapons and ammunition. Early on, a policy office deep in the Pentagon coordinated efforts to enlist more than 50 countries to gather up not only weapons, but also medical supplies, ambulances and clothing. Laura Cooper is Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, or RUE. For her work in to help Ukraine, she's a finalist in this year's Service to America Medals program, orchestrated by the non-partisan Partnership for Public Service. She is the lastest of Federal Drive Host Tom Temin's weekly guests who are Sammies finalists.
These USDA employees modernized an old program so poor Americans could eat better
July 6, 2023 |
20 min
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is among the oldest enduring federal programs. Now, the Agriculture Department has found a way to help recipients eat well even if they live in what's known as a food desert: no access to supermarkets or high quality food. Two finalists for Service to America Medals brought SNAP to online food buying. Federal Drive Host Tom Temin spoke with the two Sammies finalists: Lisa Gafaldi, a Senior Technical Adviser to the SNAP program and Shelly Pierce, Director of the SNAP Policy and Innovation Division.
This federal lawyer got a settlement from a powerful industry after a 20-year dispute
June 29, 2023 |
21 minutes
When you hit that convenience store for a pack of smokes, you might notice the warning sign. That's thanks to my next guest. She produced a settlement in a long running dispute with the tobacco industry about retail signage. For her tenacity and skill, she's a finalist in this year's Service to America Medals program. The assistant director of the consumer protection branch of the Justice Department, Lisa Hsiao, joined the Federal Drive to discuss further. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
DHS adviser finds a way to ground airborne human trafficking
June 22, 2023 |
10 minutes
Not all human trafficking takes place in trucks and boats. Sometimes perpetrators fly their victims around. Federal Drive host Tom Temin's interview guest led an effort by the Homeland Security and Transportation Departments to train aviation personnel -- on the ground and in airplanes -- how to identify potential victims of human trafficking. It's called the Blue Lightning Initiative. And for Michael Camal's work on Blue Lightening, he finds himself as a finalist in this year's Service to America Medals Program, aka the Sammies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Virtual reality is more than fun and games at the VA
June 15, 2023 |
22 minutes
Immersive technology has shown real promise in treating both physical and psychological illnesses. It is taking hold at the Veterans Health Administration, enabled by a special network called the Extended Reality Network. The leaders of the team that built the network are finalists in this year's Service to America Medals Program. Federal Drive host Tom Temin spoke with Anne Lord Bailey and Caitlin Rawlins. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Page header: Charles Bolden, former Administrator of NASA, interviewed backstage at the 2013 Sammies gala