The Howard County Department of Citizen Services Director Lois Mikkila and the Commission on Disability Issues announced the winners Oct. 6 of the County's 17th Annual Leadership Awards Program, which spotlights individuals and organizations who are change agents for full participation in community life for all, at The Bain Center in Columbia.

The winners were: Business Leadership: B/A Products Company; Business Leadership: MarTar Swim School; Accessibility Leadership: Cheryl Berman; Individual Leadership: Paul Weller; and Individual Leadership, Youth: Robert Phillips, Jr.

Howard County Government's 2011 Employee Recognition Winners were honored Oct. 7 at a ceremony at the Ten Oaks Ballroom. The highest distinction went to Kimberly Sikalis, of the Police Departmentb who was named Howard County's "Employee of the Year."

Other employee awards and recipients included:


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Great Idea Award — 1st Place: Mark Kreis, Department of Public Works, Bureau of Environmental Services; 2nd Place: Thomas Auyeung and Howard Shieh, Department of Public Works.

Unsung Hero Award — 1st Place: Niccole Branch, Department of Corrections; 2nd Place: Darrell Smith, Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits.

Green Initiative Award — 1st Place: Wine in the Woods "Green Team," Michael Barnes, Jennifer DeArmey, Gary Doyle, Matt Knoerlein, John Miller, Matt Murphy, Tim Nedzel, Kimberly Reichart, Dave Sherman, Pam Sorensen Ron Vogelsang and Al White; 2nd Place: Brenda Belensky, Department of Recreation and Parks.

Mentoring Award — Harriett Watkins, Department of Citizen Services.

Leadership Award — Renea Somerville, Department of Corrections.

Customer Service Awards — Wayne Killebrew, Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits (1st Place, Internal); Karen DiPietro, Police Department (2nd Place, Internal); Pam DiMartino, Department of Finance (1st Place, Public); Kimberly Freeman, Department of Citizen Services (2nd Place, Public).

Customer Service Team Awards — Department of Finance, Payroll (Internal): Charlotte Cavey, Christine James, Anna Jarboe, Dale Oberly and Diane Stewart; Department of Fire and Rescue Services, Station #8, B Shift (Public): MFF Bernard Arnold, Cpt. Dale Becker, FFR Jason Bodan, MFF Dave Dillon, MFF Jim Dwyer, FF Andrew Hoffman, FF Joshua Hummel, FFR Eric McIntosh, FF Max Payaggapandha and Cpt. Louis Winston.

Daniel R. Townsend, of Laurel High School, has been named a semifinalist in the 2012 National Achievement Scholarship program. He scholars will compete for one of 800 National Achievement Scholarship awards.


The Robinson Nature Center has been recognized by the Associated General Contractors as the "Best Sustainability Project of the Year for New Construction." Representatives from Howard County government, as well as Forrester Construction, will be honored at the 11th annual AGC Washington Contractor Awards Ceremony in October.

In addition to receiving the Best Sustainability Project of the Year, the Robinson Nature Center has also won the Associated Builders and Contractors 2011 "Excellence in Construction" Award.