2016 Winners

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Deborah Holt-Knight

Deputy Commissioner, Adult Protective Services, HRA

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Alexandra “Sasha” Fishman

Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Budget and Fiscal, DFTA

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Althea N. Buckner, Pharm.D.

Director of Pharmacy, Gouverneur Health, NYC HHC

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George Menduiña

Vice President, Metropolitan Transit Authority Bus Co. Chief Facilities Officer, NYC Transit Dept. of Buses

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Paul Rush

Deputy Commissioner, Bureau of Water Supply, DEP

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Detective Thomas W. Troppmann & Officer Edwin Rodriguez

Neighborhood Coordination Officers, 34th Precinct, Washington Heights, NYPD

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Deborah Holt-Knight

Deputy Commissioner, Adult Protective Services, HRA

Deborah Holt-Knight

Among New York's most vulnerable residents are adults with mental and/or physical impairments who are in need of assistance and are often victims of abuse, neglect or exploitation. Each year, APS provides skilled case management to and coordinates with many nonprofit and City agencies for the benefit of approximately 10,000 vulnerable adults in their care. Deborah Holt-Knight started her 31 year career as a front-line caseworker and, with each promotion, has demonstrated that she is a change agent who is motivated by deep compassion for those APS serves.  A former colleague describes her as "…an individual of unquestionable integrity, with a keen intelligence and possessing great insight into human nature. Even after 30 years, she takes an extremely complex program and with a committed APS team moves it forward despite the challenges."

What People Say: 

  • "She is a natural leader, teacher and advocate, and an exceptional problem solver."
  • "Deborah is a true New York City treasure.  No one fights harder for our most vulnerable than she does."
  • "She is an innovative manager, teacher and someone of great composure and care.  And when we hit a wall, she is the person we turn to because we are confident that she will exhaust all resources to solve any crisis or situation."
  • "She is that unique person who knows how to make a tangible impact on clients while cultivating the absolute best work out of everyone around her."
  • "She has a real authority, a knack for the innovative and is someone who commands great respect from those who work with her.  She is positively invaluable to the City of New York." 

 

Alexandra “Sasha” Fishman

Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Budget and Fiscal, DFTA

Sasha Fishman

The Department for the Aging provides vital programs and services to 300,000 elderly in New York City. Sasha Fishman oversees DFTA's budget of $300 million, which has 30 different revenue streams, each designated for very specific services.  These services, in turn, are provided by 400 different nonprofit agencies through contracts with DFTA.  Now in her 36th year of City service, Fishman's genius is the ability to couple her knowledge of every expense item and funding source with a profound understanding of their implications for the programs nonprofit agencies provide. Says a former Commissioner, "DFTA was the fifth agency I've led. I've never met someone as critical to the success of an agency as Sasha. She is more than budget: she helps formulate policy and ensures the delivery of the most and best services possible."

What People Say:

  • "Sasha establishes trust. This trust is created by her grasp of an infinite number of details, a powerful historical memory, and an openness and willingness to help. She is approachable, dependable, and reliable."
  • "Ms. Fishman makes this complicated system work because she has enormous insight, dignity, and respect for the providers."
  • "She's the perfect link between the agency and the program. She is honorable and caring. She's everything you want in a professional."
  • "Sasha takes each budget cut as if it deeply affected her. She delves into the details of contracts and budget sheets and calculates which scenario will have the least impact on services. Her compassion inspires people."
  • "Her commitment is not only to the agency and the city but to the providers. She is unique."

Althea N. Buckner, Pharm.D.

Director of Pharmacy, Gouverneur Health, NYC HHC

Althea Buckner

With thousands of available drugs, Althea Buckner, the Director Pharmacy at Gouverneur Health Center on the Lower East Side, is an invaluable resource.  For many of her 35 years at Metropolitan Hospital and Gouverneur, Ms. Buckner has made it a point to attend daily medical rounds and offer a pharmacist's expertise. "Her ability to decipher and disseminate complex drug-related issues for all of us is simply tremendous," says one doctor.  Always an innovator, Ms. Buckner installed robotic dispensing machines, improving efficiency and patient safety and instituted 90-day prescriptions to reduce the number of trips patients need to make for refills. According to a colleague, "She is a true problem-solver whose dedication allows her to be the best pharmacist there is, as well as to foster a new generation of pharmacists in her mold." 

What People Say:

  • "She is a true problem-solver whose dedication and zen-like personality allows for her to be the best pharmacist there is, as well as to foster a new generation of pharmacists in her mold."
  • "Her knowledge, credibility and passion for her pharmacy and for the hospital at large are impeccable." 
  • "The world of pharmacy can be overwhelmed by outside medical opinions and by business aspects, but Althea never sacrifices an ounce of quality in the outstanding care she and her team provide."
  • "I cannot think of another person who helped me to grow as a person and as a pharmacist.  She is a born leader, who has a beautiful heart for her patients."
  • "She intuitively knows her staff, knows how to respond to any issue we might encounter, and is always working towards providing the very best in patient care."

George Menduiña

Vice President, Metropolitan Transit Authority Bus Co. Chief Facilities Officer, NYC Transit Dept. of Buses

George Menduina

Born in Cuba, George Menduiña began his career operating boilers; 39 years later, he manages the City's 26 bus depots where 5,700 buses are refueled, maintained and returned to their routes for 2.5 million New Yorkers daily. All agree that his technical expertise is unmatched and is wedded to a deep concern for the environment. Menduiña is ensuring that the underground fuel tanks used to dispense 50 million gallons of diesel fuel on a yearly basis are relocated to aboveground, something a co-worker calls "George's legacy to future generations."  He assisted in the commissioning of Mother Clara Hale Depot, the nation's first and only LEED gold-certified bus depot. Veronique Hakim, the President of NYC Transit notes, "George excels at finding creative solutions. George has his eye on what New York's transportation systems will need 20 years from now."

What People Say: 

  • "George is an outstanding leader who has played a key role in ensuring that our bus facilities have state-of-the art technology and meet new levels of environmental safety."
  • "Throughout his career, George has shown an unwavering dedication to public service and brings unparalleled commitment and energy to the job."
  • "The best way to describe George is as Superman. His around-the-clock dedication to the job is mesmerizing."
  • "I couldn't have asked for a better person to work for and learn from."
  • "I rarely, if ever, say positive things about managers. However, George is one-of-a-kind. He is motivated by both a love of his job and a respect for the men and women who help to get the job done."
  • "It is hard to find a parallel either in the MTA or in any city agency I've worked with to George. His knowledge-base is unmatched and his charisma motivates us as his staff."
  • "You know a true leader when you see one, and George is a true leader."

Paul Rush

Deputy Commissioner, Bureau of Water Supply, DEP

Paul Rush

Paul Rush, raised in Sullivan County and trained as an engineer at West Point, had long been interested in NYC's water supply system, the largest municipal water system in the U.S. providing a billion gallons each day to over 9 million people. The system includes 19 reservoirs, 6,200 miles of pipes and tunnels, and dozens of facilities across its 1.2-million-acre watershed. Now with DEP for 24 years, Mr. Rush has led the Bureau with watershed conservation and technological innovations, many of which are recognized internationally.  For example, DEP constructed the world's largest ultraviolet facility to disinfect water and protect public health. Equally important, Mr. Rush has nurtured collaborative, productive and respectful relationships with the upstate communities that surround the City's reservoir system.  An upstate county official notes, "Paul is a great man to work with; he is a man of remarkable character and he has a rare ability to get things done."

What People Say:

  • "Paul's an extraordinary worker, a terrific manager, and technically superb in understanding the complex nature of his job."
  • "If I had a difficult project that needed attention, there is no one I'd rather see work on that project than Paul Rush."
  • "He sets high goals, but excels at achieving remarkable results."
  • "His wisdom and intelligence makes him the perfect person to be in charge of such a monumental and important facet of the city."
  • "Paul is a man of unshakable integrity. He is a brilliant strategic thinker, and I think he is one of this Department's greatest assets."

Detective Thomas W. Troppmann & Officer Edwin Rodriguez

Neighborhood Coordination Officers, 34th Precinct, Washington Heights, NYPD

Detective Thomas W. Troppmann & Officer Edwin Rodriguez

Detective Troppmann and Officer Rodriguez are transforming the perception and role of police in Washington Heights through a new NYPD initiative. Neighborhood-Based Policing restores the patrol officer to the role of problem-solver and community guardian who knows the neighborhood and works closely with residents and businesses. Troppmann and Rodriguez give out their cell phone numbers and email addresses, encouraging people to reach out whenever it would be helpful to address public safety issues. Detective Troppmann, a 28 year veteran, and Office Rodriguez, an 8 year veteran, are fully committed to their neighborhood. Many of the strong personal relationships they have with the community have developed over years, but as Neighborhood Coordination Officers, they are now viewed as integral community partners. One resident comments, "Tommy and Edwin are like Washington Heights landmarks. They are always there for the community and wanting to help. They represent what policing should be everywhere."

What People Say:

  • "Washington Heights has an open-door policy with our police precinct, where we know we can raise any concerns and know they will be addressed."
  • "I can think of no better way to describe Tommy and Edwin than warm, friendly and genuinely dedicated to protecting their community. They know their sector like the back of their hands."
  • "Tommy and Edwin represent the absolute best of our precinct and the police force at large."
  • "They have built important bonds with the people of their sector and are viewed like rock stars when they are out on the beat."
 
 

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