2016 Winners of Richardson Dilworth Awards Announced

For Immediate Release: September 13, 2016
Published By: Office of the Mayor
Contact: Mike Dunn, (215) 686-6210, Mike.Dunn@phila.gov

(Philadelphia, September 13, 2016) – A veteran Police Inspector who heads the Department’s Homeland Security Bureau is among the winners of the 2016 Richardson Dilworth Awards, announced today by Mayor Jim Kenney and Managing Director Michael DiBerardinis.
The Dilworth Award program, established in 2011, recognizes the contributions of outstanding city employees whose work embodies excellence in public service in the spirit of Philadelphia’s 91st Mayor, Richardson Dilworth.  “The three Dilworth Award Winners this year share one important thing in common: their service to the City of Philadelphia, and to its residents, directly improves the quality of life in our communities,” said Mayor Kenney. “The impact of their work is far-reaching, and can be felt in neighborhoods across the City.”

This year’s winners (details below) are:

  • The Richardson Dilworth Award for Distinguished Public Service: Joseph Sullivan, Chief Inspector of the Homeland Security Bureau for the Philadelphia Police Department.
  • The Richardson Dilworth Award for Innovation in Government: Laura Cassidy, Sustainability Manager for the Philadelphia Department of Prisons.
  • The Richardson Dilworth Award for Excellence in Customer Service: Joanne Dahme, General Manager of Public Affairs for the Philadelphia Water Department.

Mr. Sullivan, Ms. Dahme, and Ms. Cassidy were selected from 215 nominations of City employees from all across government.  Nominations came from City employees, managers and the general public. The award program is sponsored by Dilworth Paxson LLP and Independence Blue Cross, and honors current, fulltime executive branch employees with at least three years of continuous service and no recent disciplinary violations.

“The Richardson Dilworth Award honors those public servants who go above and beyond the call of duty to keep our city moving forward toward a healthy, prosperous, and sustainable future,” said Joe Jacovini of Dilworth Paxson, LLP and Co-Chair of the Dilworth Award Selection Panel. “The Panel was impressed by the breadth of knowledge and experiences of this year’s nominees. Each of the winners displayed ingenuity, dedication and strength of character, which honor the legacy of Mayor Dilworth.”

Daniel J. Hilferty, President and CEO of Independence Blue Cross, and Co-Chair of the Dilworth Award Selection Panel, said, “This year’s Dilworth Award recipients exemplify the spirit that has made Philadelphia one of America’s most exciting modern cities. Our city employees’ commitment to public service, innovation, and customer service makes life better for their fellow citizens every day.”

Details on this year’s winners:

The 2016 winner of the Richardson Dilworth Award for Distinguished Public Service is Joseph Sullivan, Chief Inspector of the Homeland Security Bureau for the Philadelphia Police Department.

Joseph Sullivan has worked for the Philadelphia Police Department for more than 33 years. As Chief Inspector for Homeland Security, he is responsible for the Department’s Bomb Disposal and Special Weapons Units, Dignitary Protection Section, S.W.A.T, Civil Affairs Unit, and he serves as the Police Department’s point of contact for the FBI on all matters related to Counter Terrorism. Chief Sullivan has led initiatives which have become national examples in crisis management and policing, and he is widely recognized for his oversight of protest demonstrations, ensuring these events are handled with concern for the rights and the safety of demonstrators and the public alike. He played a major role in the security surrounding the 2015 Papal visit and the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

“Joe has displayed his passion for this profession over the years and has shown his commitment to this city with his ongoing service through the department,” said Police Commissioner Richard Ross.

Throughout his career Chief Sullivan has successfully implemented cross-departmental training to help response systems across law enforcement, emergency medicine, and administrative staff work together quickly and cohesively. He spearheaded the introduction of gunshot kits and tourniquets to Police Department staff, he has made EMT training available to all police officers through the Fire Department, and has designed courses that enable non-law enforcement first responders, such as medical personnel and sanitation staff, to support police in the recognition of public safety incidents and ensure swift emergency care for victims.

The 2016 Richardson Dilworth Award for Innovation in Government is awarded to Laura Cassidy, Sustainability Manager for the Philadelphia Department of Prisons. This award honors a City employee who successfully initiated and implemented an innovative idea that brought about dramatic results.

Laura Cassidy has a 21-year tenure with the City of Philadelphia. As the Sustainability Manager for the Department of Prisons, a role she has held for the last 10 years, Laura manages the Department’s green programs. Under Laura’s direction, the Department has made significant strides in reducing its waste output and creating avenues for inmates to develop meaningful skills to aid them as returning citizens. In 2008, Laura helped start the Department’s first single-stream recycling program, and in 2011, she implemented Philadelphia’s first City-run captive food waste composting program.

Together, these two initiatives divert an estimated 685 tons of waste destined for landfills annually, saving the City more than $40,000 in landfill costs each year. Cassidy is also responsible for the successful implementation of the Philadelphia Prison Orchard Project—a two-acre orchard at the Philadelphia Industrial Corrections Center which houses over 200 fruit-bearing trees and bushes, making it the largest urban orchard in the City. The Orchard Project is integrated into the prison composting system, and together, these two initiatives serve as the basis of a Temple University vocational horticultural certificate program offered to inmates.

“We are extremely proud of Ms. Cassidy and the work that she has done to promote sustainability in areas where you least expect,” said Blanche Carney, Commissioner of the Department of Prisons. “These programs not only lessen the environmental footprints of the PDP, they also educate inmates by providing hands-on training in employable trades. The inmates in the Sustainability programs are able to earn certificates and educational training through Temple University’s partnership with the PDP in the orchard program.”

The 2016 Richardson Dilworth Award for Excellence in Customer Service goes to Joanne Dahme, General Manager for Public Affairs at the Philadelphia Water Department. This award honors a City employee who provided extraordinary service delivered with ingenuity, energy and compassion.

Joanne Dahme has worked for the Water Department for 34 years. She is the Department’s General Manager for Public Affairs, where she serves as a liaison between City government and the general public on matters such as storm water management, water resource protection and the Water Department’s Green City Clean Waters plan. Joanne has forged many partnerships that transformed neglected parking lots, recreation centers and other areas into green corridors that help our rivers and improve quality of life across the City.

In 2015, Joanne served as the first-ever Chair of the Citywide Flood Risk Management Task Force, an inter-departmental group which addresses flooding concerns in every neighborhood. Through her leadership, the task force is now tackling challenging issues for communities like Eastwick and Germantown, which have suffered devastating losses during heavy storms. Joanne is known among the many community groups she serves for her energy and commitment to her work, and for her ability to handle crises adeptly, often working alongside first responders to keep residents informed during weather emergencies and infrastructure issues.

“It is hard to fully capture the many reasons that Joanne is so deserving of this award,” said Philadelphia Water Commissioner Debra McCarty. “She is a leader and example of what an indomitable spirit and drive can accomplish, and is one of the most dedicated and hardworking people that I know. There is seemingly no challenge that she won ‘t take on, no matter how daunting and onerous.”

The selection panel members are:
Joseph Jacovini (Co-Chair), Dilworth Paxson LLP
Dan Hilferty (Co-Chair), Independence Blue Cross
Bishop Audrey Bronson, Sanctuary Church of the Open Door
John Chin, Chinatown CDC
Patricia Coulter, formerly of Urban League of Philadelphia
Deborah Dilworth Bishop
Marcy Feldman Rost, Independence Blue Cross
Cynthia Figueroa, formerly of CONGRESO
Joseph Frick, Diversified Search
Jamie Gauthier, Sustainable Business Network
Crawford Hill, Chill Expeditions
Charisse Lillie, Comcast Corporation
Edward McBride, PECO
Judith Mondre, Mondre Energy
Dr. Stephen Tang, University City Science Center
Stella Tsai, Archer & Greiner, P.C.
Anna Verna, former President of City Council
For more information on the Dilworth Award, visit http://www.dilworthaward.org/. In 2013, a video highlighting the Richardson Dilworth Award was produced and released. The video can be found at http://vimeo.com/74422916.

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