Government Leadership at its Best: Meet the 2021 Teddy Award Winners

From introducing autonomous vehicles in the national parks to defending space, these leaders exemplify excellence.

Earlier this week, Government Executive unveiled the 2021 class of inductees into the Government Hall of Fame, Today, we announce the winners of the annual Theodore Roosevelt Government Leadership Awards. They are an all-star team of top federal performers in five categories: Visionaries, Directors, Pathfinders, Defenders and Partners.

The Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at a virtual gala broadcast on Oct. 21. A series of broadcasts highlighting the Teddy winners will follow starting Oct. 25. Sign up now to get updates on the proceedings. 

Register for the Hall of Fame broadcast

In the meantime, meet the winners of the 2021 Teddy Awards:


Winners in this category have a proven ability to generate new ideas and new approaches to addressing critical issues. They’re genuinely creative in their approach, and eagerly take on big problems. At the same time, they’re adept at working within government constraints to achieve lasting success.

Steven Suder

National Alternative Transportation/Multi-modal Program Lead, National Park Service

Suzanne Shirley

Director of Community Engagement and Fellowship, Veterans Health Administration Innovation Ecosystem, Veterans Affairs Department


This category’s honorees have earned the support and enthusiasm of their teams and leveraged it to achieve demonstrable results. These leaders put a premium on employee engagement, goal-setting and program management. In short, they are the people who make things work for current and future employees and don’t shy away from a challenge.

Pauline Nunez

Project Coordinator, Denver Region, U.S. Census Bureau, Commerce Department

Carolyn Vines Sapla

Acting EEO Officer/Supervisory Attorney, Bureau of Prisons


These winners bring the best information technology solutions available into the federal sphere. For some, that involves exploring the application of leading-edge technologies to government. For others, it means implementing currently commercially available products and services to solve specific problems. In both cases, the end result is driving down cost and increasing the efficiency of government operations.

Sylviane Haldiman

Associate Deputy Commissioner, Office of Systems, Social Security Administration

Kanitra Tyler

Supply Chain Risk Management Service Owner, Office of the Chief Information Officer, NASA


This category honors those individuals who have stood out in the effort to protect the United States. Winners have demonstrated sustained achievement in advancing the country’s security interests at home and abroad. These range from managing a critical military program to transforming the tools our soldiers and intelligence community leaders use to do their jobs.

Scott Weidie

Branch Chief, Security Cooperation and Multinational Exercises, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Defense Department

Derek Tournear

Director, Space Development Agency, Defense Department


Government can’t solve the pressing national challenges of the 21st century on its own. Agencies require the expertise and partnership of non-government partners and private-sector companies that have tailored their products and services for the federal market. This category recognizes significant, lasting achievements by government’s cross-sector partners in helping federal officials meet mission goals.

Gilman Louie

Chief Executive Officer, LookingGlass Cyber Solutions

Gina Adams

Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, FedEx