Perdue tops list of Service to the Citizen Award winners

USDA secretary Sonny Perdue Photo courtesy USDA 

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue (Photo courtesy USDA).

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is the 2018 Service to the Citizen Awards' Government Executive of the Year -- an honor recognizing his leadership in pushing citizen-centric reorganization at the Department of Agriculture. 

USDA is the pilot agency for the White House's Centers of Excellence program, and it is preparing to launch its new customer service portal with the help of the General Services Administration and U.S. Digital Service.

Perdue, who also championed citizen service at the state level while governor of Georgia, said at the May 1 awards ceremony that he learned early in his political career that citizens rarely remember much of what government officials do, much less what they say. "But they always remember how you made them feel," he noted, and efficient citizen services are vital to delivering those positive feelings.

Lisa Veith, senior vice president of Maximus Federal, was named Industry Executive of the Year, while former Federal Student Aid Chief Customer Experience Officer Brenda Wensil and former Department of Veterans Affairs Chief Veteran Experience Officer Tom Allin were recognized as Government CX Trailblazers.

Teresa Nasif, who helped launch the General Services Administration's first citizen-service initiatives, received a lifetime achievement award. Those decades-old efforts were the precursor to today's Technology Transformation Services at GSA, Nasif said, adding that she was delighted to see how they were "still bearing fruit."

This was the first year for the Service to the Citizen Awards, which were created by Martha Dorris -- a longtime customer experience trailblazer herself, who launched a private consulting practice after retiring from the GSA in 2015 -- to showcase excellence in the "delivery of services that impact the public’s lives." 

In all, nearly 100 government and industry leaders were honored as "Champions of Change" for their work across more than 20 different organizations.

About the Author

Troy K. Schneider is editor-in-chief of FCW and GCN.

Prior to joining 1105 Media in 2012, Schneider was the New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company. The founding editor of, Schneider also helped launch the political site in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times,, Slate, Politico, National Journal, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.

Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.

Click here for previous articles by Schneider, or connect with him on Twitter: @troyschneider.


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