Chief’s Honor Awards for 2021

Submitted by firelab on Tue, 02/08/2022 - 07:47

Each year the Chief’s Honor Awards celebrates the impactful and outstanding service and contributions of Forest Service employees. Several of the 2021 award winners are from RMRS. Their contributions are helping to shape the work, future course, and culture of our organization. The winner for Deliver Benefits to the Public is the FFS Program's IOL RD&A Team for Using Focus Groups to Help Resolve Safety Issues Related to Firefighting During Covid19. The RMRS Team Members are Jim Gumm, Joseph Harris, Christina Anabel, Matt Carroll, Vita Wright, Benjamin Iverson, Rachelle Huddleston-Lorton, David Flores, Faith Ann Heinsch, and Helen Smith. In late March 2020, faced with the global coronavirus pandemic, the Forest Service’s Innovation & Organizational Learning (IOL) Research, Development, and Application Team had an idea: Why not convene a focus group of agency personnel from each region to gather information about the COVID-related challenges facing field personnel during the fire year? The results might help the Washington Office resolve safety issues before they became incidents. The first focus group was such a success that the IOL team began weekly focus group calls in each region, along with interviews with regional foresters. From March to August 2020, 21 focus groups held more than 170 virtual meetings involving more than 2,000 employees and touching many more. Many findings were used to carry out agency policy or give guidance, building much-needed trust between ground personnel and leadership.