Marilyn J. Branham


Branham, Marilyn 795080

Office Supervisor
State of Michigan
Industry: Government/Public Service
Field: Public Services

Marilyn J. Branham longed for a career that would enable her to serve others. As an office supervisor for the state of Michigan, she serves as the primary contact for customers in the accounts receivable unit and makes it her first priority to ensure customer satisfaction. Although dealing with members of the public, especially those who are frustrated, can be trying, she strives to understand her client’s needs, thus leading her to assess the situation and resolve their issues. When helping those who are less fortunate, to her it is a moral and social responsibility, not just a job.

Growing up, Ms. Branham was greatly inspired by her parents, who made many sacrifices to educate her and her sister and instill strong values in them. Being a young single parent, she cultivated in herself the determination and drive to provide for her own son. She feels that her experiences in raising a child alone made her a stronger person than she would have been otherwise. In addition to her parents, she gives credit to three of her teachers who always provided encouragement and expected excellence.

A certified social work technician, Ms. Branham has been working for the state for more than 37 years. Her responsibilities include assisting with the collection of monies owed to the department of state, which can be taxing. However, her greatest career achievement and source of gratification was helping clients to become self-sufficient. In fact, a former client of hers was interviewed on television for her accomplishments in a sheltered workshop. Ms. Branham has been recognized as an outstanding individual in public service with several awards. She has been bestowed a certificate of merit for her part with the Grand Idea Program, and an award for 35 years of service, both from the state of Michigan, in addition to being a four-time recipient of a certificate of appreciation from the Michigan Department of State.

A freelance musician since 1969, Ms. Branham teaches private lessons and performs at several venues. She earned a bachelor’s degree in music in 1971 from Western Michigan University. In order to perfect her craft, she holds memberships with the Grand Rapids Federation of Musicians and the American Federation of Musicians. She also is a volunteer for Saint James Church. In the future, she intends to continue performing, teaching, and serving the public. Continue reading

David L. Bush


Bush, David 1418081

1) Director, IQCIA
2) Founder, Chairman of the Board, CSTRA
3) Chief Executive Officer, OSHA Plans, LLC
Industry: Government
Field: IDLH Confined Space Rescue and Aboveground Storage Tanks

David Bush has never lost a life on a rescue mission in 36 years, has logged more than five thousand lives saved, and over five million man hours in IDLH situations without a single first aid incident in his career. A Master Trainer and Level IV Incident Commander, he serves as a director of the Individual Qualification and Certification Institute of America (IQCIA), based in Washington, D.C., which provides the highest recognized  level of certifications for tank entry supervisors, IDLH confined space technical and rescue teams, confined space entry supervisors and safety professionals. Mr. Bush’s experience and expertise is utilized by many governments and state agencies, both domestic and foreign, to improve the standards in training, confined space operations, above ground tank regulations, IDLH confined space rescue and Incident Command.

As one of the directors at IQCIA, his responsibilities include the management and development of the stringent curriculum and quality of the individual qualification and certification programs and qualifying certification officers (instructors). He is the lead author in the IQCIA committee that is responsible for the development and production of the New IQCIA RG’s (recommended guidelines) for the petroleum, petro chemical, power generation, mines and rescue industries. Additionally, he is often called upon to lead highly trained rescue teams into above ground storage tanks, mines, power plants, refineries, and other IDLH confined space technical and rescue disasters wherever they occur.

Mr. Bush is the founder and chairman of the board of the Confined Space Technical Rescue Association based in Houston Texas (CSTRA). Its primary goal is to decrease the number of fatalities in confined spaces, mines, and above ground storage tanks by 50 percent each decade until the number is zero. The efforts of the association resulted in the first recommended guidelines for IDLH confined space rescue operations, above ground storage tanks, and mines that are regulated by MSHA. The CSTRA developed the most intense qualifying certification program and curriculum for Confined Space Rescue Teams.  NFPA clearly states that the quality and skills of the team is what makes a competent rescue team, not an individual’s certification. The team must train and qualify by successfully completing five evolutions (Tier I – Tier 5) within the time required. The rescue job book score must be at least 98 percent accurate.

Mr. Bush is the author of the STOP Accidents Safety Program. The program includes one of the first Injury Illness Prevention Programs used in California. He authored one of the first behavioral-based safety programs called S.O.S., which he later taught at the colligate level at several colleges and universities, including the University of California. He also serves as the chief executive officer of OSHA Plans, LLC, based in Glendale, California. The STOP Accidents Safety Program is utilized throughout the world by thousands of companies, U.S. government agencies and foreign governments. Mr. Bush was one of the three developers of the SMART Testing System (Statistically Measured Analyzed Retainability Testing), one of the most advanced tests that measures the individual’s ability to retain, comprehend and apply the information presented during any course. The system will identify any misinformation, and analyze what the student retains from entry to exit. The statistics provides the instructor with instant knowledge to evaluate the student’s progress and adapt the curriculum accordingly. Mr. Bush is an emergency management specialist through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. He is also a certified safety specialist through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor. Mr. Bush remains the leader in his field through his active affiliation as a board member in numerous organizations, federal and state governments, and various associations, such as The American Society of Safety Engineers and the National Fire Protection Association. He credits his successful career to his persistence and ability to stay focused on the projects and missions, sound safety practices, careful thorough job plans, and most important, hazard recognition and control. He and his crew members all share a common goal, which is to stop accidents through old fashioned training methods, great safe work and execution plans and sound safety programs. “Each person needs to believe that every accident is preventable, at work and home,” he says. “Only you can prevent accidents and save lives. If you can predict it… you can prevent it!” Continue reading

Agnes Kempker-Cloyd


Kempker-Cloyd, Aggie

Assistant U.S. Attorney
U.S. Department of Justice
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Industry: Government/Public Service
Field: Civil Litigation

“We don’t represent just anybody, we represent the United States,” says Agnes Kempker-Cloyd, assistant U.S. attorney for the U.S. Attorneys’ Office of the U.S. Department of Justice. “If you are going to govern, you have to govern fairly.” For the past 35 years, Ms. Kempker-Cloyd has held fast to this philosophy, always searching for a resolution that best meets the needs of both parties. When it comes to litigations and settlements, you should “try to build a bridge instead of creating more tension,” she says.

Throughout her career in law, Ms. Kempker-Cloyd has gained experience in many different areas of the field, including criminal law, which is where she spent her first decade, and cases regarding bankruptcy — she is one of only two or three individuals who have experience in this area in her office. Although she has more than three decades of experience and has become skilled in civil litigation, it was no easy task for her to go into the field of law. When she first entered law school, women were given a hard time because it was not a common field for them to pursue a career in. However, she was persistent in obtaining her law degree and graduated from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law with a JD.

A seasoned professional, Ms. Kempker-Cloyd understands that when working with her clients, it takes time, experience and maturity to be able to make a reasonable offer. “You have to try to remember that even though you may think that the case is small, to the person involved, it’s a big deal.” The most gratifying aspect of her career is when she is able to litigate a case successfully. In order to keep herself fresh, she is an avider reader of the Michigan Bar Journal. She also supports many charitable organizations, including Circle Theater, Home Repair Services, Senior Neighbors, the Fair Housing Center of Greater Grand Rapids, the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and Sierra Club.

Ms. Kempker-Cloyd originally wanted to pursue a career as a buyer and maintains her hobby of fashion design. When she needs a break, she is able to bring out her creative side, working as an independent fashion consultant for Jockey Person to Person. Continue reading

Dorothea E. de Zafra-Atwell, MPIA


de Zafra-Atwell, DorotheaDirector of Science Education, Senior Program Analyst (Retired)
United States Department of Health and Human Services
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Silver Spring, MD, USA
Industry: Government
Field: Policy and Program Development

Dorothea E. de Zafra-Atwell went into the federal government civil service in 1969 with a strong conviction to make a positive difference in the world. She chose to work with the United States Department of Health and Human Services, where she saw an opportunity to improve the nation’s quality of life. Although unable to view the direct impact her work had on people because it was several levels removed, she nevertheless felt that helping to shape federal policies and programs was really worthwhile. Furthermore, her involvement in a field that was traditionally considered to be male-dominated distinguished her as a pioneering female who capitalized on opportunities and excelled in her positions. Her ability to adapt to various environments was an invaluable asset as she progressed through the ranks of analytical and program management positions in health agencies and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.

In 1963 she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Non-Western Civilizations from the University of Rochester, which was followed by a Master of Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh in 1965 and a diploma from the Advanced Management Program in Information Resources from the National Defense University in 1994.

After four years in the field of international education, Ms. de Zafra-Atwell took the civil service entrance exam and came into the federal government in 1969 as a management intern. After subsequent positions in legislative and management analysis, she entered the then-new field of information law, holding policy and oversight positions as privacy act officer and information systems security program manager covering all agencies of the United States Public Health Service. Then, in her position as the director of science education for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism from 1995 to 2002, she managed all aspects of the contracting process for the development and field testing of science education curriculum supplements and publications for health professionals related to alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Concurrently, she serviced as senior program analyst there.

In addition to her work for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Ms. de Zafra-Atwell has contributed to the publication of several works as a project officer and editor of “Identification of At-Risk Drinking and Intervention with Women of Child-bearing Age: A Guide for Primary Care Providers,” “Identification and Care of Fetal Alcohol-Exposed Children: A Guide for Primary Care Providers,” and “Personal Steps to a Healthy Choice: A Woman’s Guide.” She also authored “A Management Model for the Implementation of Omnibus Legislation: A Case Study from the U.S. Public Health Service,” which was published in the American Society for Public Administration’s May/June 1978 issue of Public Administration Review.

Since her retirement in 2002, Ms. de Zafra-Atwell has married, taken on eldercare responsibilities, and been active in her church and graduate school alumni association. She is still very interested in her field and keeps up-to-date with current events via her membership in the Council of Former Federal Executives and Associates. She is currently an advocate for higher quality eldercare in the United States based on her personal caregiving experience and history as a former employee of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. In the near future, she would like to consult on a senior level with a nonprofit organization. Continue reading

Margaret “Betty” E. Turner


Turner, MargaretOffice Manager (Retired)
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Chesapeake, VA, USA
Industry: Government/Public Service
Field: Agricultural Operations Management

Ms. Margaret E. Turner, affectionately referred to by many as ‘Betty,’ is a retired office manager for the state of Virginia’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.  During her 34-year tenure with the department, Ms. Turner’s primary responsibilities included the management of office operations and inspection of export grain quality for certification purposes. As the first female licensed grain inspector in the United States, Ms. Turner was a pioneer in the agricultural industry. One of the most challenging points in her career occurred during the 1970s when a massive fraud scandal caused the federal government to audit all exporting businesses and request documents to verify honorable accounting practices.  Ms. Turner worked in conjunction with undercover agents to produce documents from the general accounting office, which maintained her department’s integrity and reputation. Following her retirement, Ms. Turner continued to work part-time with the department, assisting with advancements in grain packaging with containers and training new employees on inspection techniques.

With her background in secretarial and administrative work, Ms. Turner was dedicated to accuracy and efficiency, as can be seen in her motto “check and recheck.”  Her accounting knowledge and patience for a demanding job in a male-dominated industry distinguish Ms. Turner as a true pioneer and inspiration to those who wish to enter her field.

Currently, Ms. Turner dedicates her time to various community service efforts, particularly a local battered women and children’s homeless shelter through the Norview Ladies’ Alumni Association.  Though she recently underwent chemotherapy treatments, Ms. Turner is a survivor determined not to let cancer defeat her.  She previously served as a committee chairwoman for the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation and is a charter member of the Pilot Club of Chesapeake. Continue reading

Gerald E. Mines


Mines, Gerald

1) Former Captain, Commanding Officer, Operations Commander and Counterterrorism Trainer, New York City Police Department
2) Former Police Commissioner, City of Mount Vernon, New York Police Department
3) Current Police Expert Witness and Consultant, Equalizer Private Investigations, New York City
Industry: Government/Public Service
Field: Law Enforcement and Investigative Services

“People need to be treated with dignity and respect,” proclaims Gerald E. Mines, who has served the City of New York diligently for the past 43 years. He believes in exhibiting courtesy, professionalism and respect when doing his job, a value that has made him highly successful and respected. Mr. Mines is a former captain, commanding officer, operations commander and counterterrorism trainer for the New York City Police Department and a former police commissioner for the City of Mount Vernon, New York Police Department. He also gained experience serving with the military police. With a background in youth gang control and criminal and internal investigations of police misconduct, one of his many accomplishments was reducing violent youth gang crime in Brooklyn, N.Y., by 70 percent. In addition, he revamped the NYPD Civilian Complaint Review Board and streamlined the NYPD Medical Division, which encompassed his engineering and implementing a joint citywide medical, police and fire department emergency response plan. This has saved New York City more than $3 million annually.

Mr. Mines has gained exceptional skills over the years, which he applies to his most current position with Equalizer Private Investigations. Serving as a police expert witness and consultant, he investigates complaints from attorneys or individuals against municipalities, prepares documentation regarding his findings and recommendations, and provides court testimony to refute or confirm the legitimacy of the complaints. Mr. Mines is equipped with a wealth of knowledge, acquired not only through experience, but also through his academic pursuits. He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, graduating magna cum laude, and a master’s degree in criminal justice leadership and management from New England College School of Graduate and Professional Studies, graduating summa cum laude.

In appreciation for his many contributions to the City of New York, Mr. Mines  was recently inducted into Worldwide Who’s Who as a lifetime member and was given the Outstanding Professional of the Year Award in his field for 2012. In addition, he was given a number of honors by the NYPD and other law enforcement groups. They include the Police Exceptional Merit Award, Police Commendation Award, Police Community Service Commendation Award, two Meritorious Police Duty Awards, six Excellent Police Duty Awards, a Unit Citation Award, World Trade Center Service Award, Police Self-Support Group Humanitarian Award, Operation Sail Award, Centennial Award, and the Pistol and Rifle Expert Award.

Furthermore, Mr. Mines has been honored by the New York State Shields, of which he is a former president, with the Distinguished Service Award. He is also a former president of the NYPD Shomrim Society, and was given the New York City TLC Columbia Association Man of the Year Award.

Mr. Mines is a Major General and Commander of the 2nd Corps of the United States Disaster Relief Command and a member of several professional law enforcement organizations, including the American Academy of Professional Law Enforcement, International Association of Chiefs of Police, ASIS International, the Association of Legal/Medical and Investigative Experts, and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Alumni Association. He is a second vice president of the New York State Fraternal Order of Police Memorial Lodge 100 and a delegate for the NYPD Honor Legion, New York/New Jersey Crime Clinic, New York City Police Reserve Association, Nassau County Police Reserve Association and National Police Defense Foundation. Looking ahead, Mr. Mines hopes to advance to the position of police chief or become a police commissioner, police director, or police chief in another city. Continue reading

Barbara J. Stephens


Stephens, BarbaraRetired Chief Warrant Officer 4
United States Army
San Juan, TX, USA
Industry: Government/Public Service
Field: Military Finance

Throughout her 23 years of military experience, Barbara J. Stephens led by example. Her outstanding performance level, combined with ethical work habits set the standard high for others to emulate. “My subordinates followed my lead,” she says, “and most of them now hold high ranking positions.”

After graduating from Richland College at the age of 35 with an associate of arts in business, Ms. Stephens began working in the finance and personnel departments of the Arkansas National Guard. She also taught finance classes to military personnel at nearby Fort Benjamin Harrison. Ms. Stephens saw her teaching role as a valuable opportunity to encourage military personnel to take advantage of all of the educational benefits offered by the armed forces. “The schooling is what gets you promoted,” she points out, “so I always encouraged the women I worked with to try to study and get as much military education as they can.” She retired in 1998, holding the rank of Chief Warrant Officer.

Ms. Stephens was awarded the Legion of Merit Medal, twice awarded the Army Commendation Medal as well as a Meritorious Service Medal and an Armed Forces Reserve Medal. In 1996, she was named Federal Woman of the Year by the Federal Women’s Program. Continue reading