Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Recipients of the 2019 Excellence in Leadership Award

Eric M. Martinez
Eleanour Snow and Annie Scott

In recognition of their outstanding acts, services, and achievements that exemplify and support the USGS leadership goals throughout the Bureau.

Honor awards will be presented at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Honor Awards Ceremony in Reston.

Read the citations for the selectees below:

Excellence in Leadership Award

Eric M. Martinez - Excellence in Leadership

Mr. Eric Martinez, Computer Scientist, is nominated for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Excellence in Leadership Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to advancing science, while positioning the USGS as a leading agency in information technology systems design and software development.

Mr. Martinez joined the USGS the Geologic Hazards Science Center (GHSC) as a student web developer in 2006 and has grown into a position as a senior developer within the Center. Throughout his career he has consistently demonstrated the USGS Guiding Principles by taking on numerous self-driven initiatives in the interest of improving the efficiency, transparency, and robustness of USGS software development and computing resources. Despite his heavy workload, he is always generous with his time by supporting colleagues through individual communications and group presentations. These contributions have not only led to advances in science but have established the USGS as a technical leader within the federal government. Eric takes on challenges not for his own benefit or recognition, but to build frameworks and establish best practices that can be used by broader communities. These practices benefit our teams and employees, and ultimately the user community that relies on the USGS for timely and accurate natural hazard information.

Mr. Martinez has led or co-led the design and implementation of several flagship applications such as the USGS earthquake event pages and near-real time map and list of global earthquakes. These applications are amongst the most accessed sites in the federal government, especially following a significant earthquake. For example, the two California Ridgecrest earthquakes in 2019 generated over 10 million-page views on the USGS earthquake web applications.

Mr. Martinez demonstrates technical competence beyond application development and uses his expertise to implement the infrastructure to support the unpredictable and significant traffic that comes to the USGS systems following a significant, widely-felt earthquake. Since 2017, there have been multiple events which generated over 1 million-page views on the web applications. The challenge of a massive traffic surge that can happen any time without warning is unique to our discipline of natural hazards, therefore he had to apply creative problem solving to build solutions that are unparalleled in the industry.

Mr. Martinez continues to lead the evolution of USGS computing systems and information technology by partnering with the USGS Cloud Hosting Solutions (CHS) group to design and build a cloud-based infrastructure to support the needs of the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program. Again, Eric’s solution is not only architected to fit our needs but is thoughtfully designed to scale to meet the broader needs of cross-discipline USGS groups. The work he has done in applications and computer systems aligns with the technology vision for the federal government outlined in the US Digital Services Playbook and will pave the way for other groups and agencies to capitalize on modern resources.

Mr. Martinez is not only a champion for USGS employees and teams, he also advocates for the needs of our diverse set of users of hazards information. Throughout his USGS career, he has been at the forefront of the movement to make USGS data open, discoverable, and machine readable. This practice allows external users to access USGS data and develop their own innovative products and solutions. He has done extensive research into usability and accessibility practices and the web applications reflect designs that enable users to get the most from our products.

Finally, Mr. Martinez has established systems and procedures to share open source software for the GHSC which have been adopted across the Bureau. He not only established the procedures but uses his own time to perform oversight and review, and to answer questions from across the USGS. He has given many presentations and demonstrations to various groups across USGS including the Community for Data Integration, CHS, and the Office of Enterprise Information (OEI) and software working groups. His excellent presentation skills and natural teaching ability is consistently recognized and appreciated by his audiences. OEI leadership seeks out his input on software policy issues, which he provides without hesitation or self-interest.

Throughout his career Mr. Martinez has exemplified the core values of the USGS while creating transformational change. For these reasons we are pleased to nominate Eric Martinez for the Excellence in Leadership Award in recognition for his service.

Supported by:
Lynda Lastowka, Supervisory Geophysicist, Geologic Hazards Science Center
Jill McCarthy, Director, Geologic Hazards Science Center



Excellence in Leadership Award

Eleanour Snow and Annie Scott - Early Career Excellence in Leadership

It is my great pleasure to nominate two extraordinary employees, Ms. Eleanour Snow and Ms. Annie Scott, for the 2019 Early Career Excellence in Leadership Award in recognition of their exemplary work re-creating the Powell Expedition in summer 2019. We can think of no better leadership examples embodying the full breadth of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Guiding Principles by two people who each have served less than five years at the USGS.

In 1869, John Wesley Powell, the second USGS Director and his team journeyed down the Green and Colorado Rivers and through the Grand Canyon, creating some of the earliest maps, measurements, and records in the “Arid region of the United States”. Through extraordinary effort and leadership, Ms. Snow and Ms. Scott worked with partners to capture the imagination of the next generation of USGS scientists and engineers through a modern-day recreation of the Powell Expedition on its 150th Anniversary.

Ms. Snow and Ms. Scott made sure that the USGS Director and more than two dozen scientists, engineers and technicians from all over the USGS returned to the Colorado River to retrace Powell’s journey. Their leadership and vision for the 150th anniversary created the opportunity to showcase USGS’s rich history both within and outside of our Bureau and to take stock of how dramatically our science has advanced in the last 150 years.

They put together a remarkable portfolio of communication products that extended from informing Department of the Interior leadership to allowing kids to listen to bird and bat sounds from along the river. They coordinated blogs from the USGS Director about his time on the river. They established a broad web and social media presence, with the help of the Office of Communications and Publishing, that allowed citizens to track the modern-day expedition on their 1,000-mile journey and to better understand the unique geology, hydrology, and ecology of the Colorado River. Children could participate by coloring and taking a “Paper Powell” along with them on their adventures.

This year’s Powell Expedition was a collaboration and cooperative working relationship between the University of Wyoming and USGS. Ms. Snow and Ms. Scott were completely responsible for USGS’s participation. Through their work, in addition to USGS sending staff on the river, USGS scientists ran experiments. For example, every night in camp, aquatic insect traps were placed in the river by citizen scientists and USGS staff who counted and identified the insects after capture. Water and other samples were also collected, some in the same places sampled by Powell’s team.

Ms. Snow and Ms. Scott displayed remarkable leadership throughout the process of planning and executing the expedition and, because of their leadership, the Powell Expedition was a success for participants and for the public. The leadership qualities that they best displayed were Interpersonal Skills, Technical Competence, and Continual Learning.

Ms. Snow and Ms. Scott each come from different backgrounds and for this reason, each brought diverse perspectives to the project. Ms. Snow has experience as a geoscience educator and a background in outreach programs. She exhibited superb technical competence in planning USGS involvement with the expedition and developing outreach strategies and materials to expand public awareness of the expedition and of USGS as a cutting-edge science agency that is rooted in history. Ms. Scott became a tremendous leader of this project through continual learning and leveraging off of her technical competence. She is a geoscience technician interested in energy sources but also highly experienced in field work and outdoor explorations. Clearly, both stepped well beyond their typical duties to take on the challenges and problem solving associated with setting up a 70-day excursion occurring over 2,000 miles away. They also did so on a limited budget where financial, people, and technology resources were greatly restrained.

In conclusion, we offer our strongest recommendation for their receipt of this award. Not only was the 150th Powell Expedition a win for USGS, unlike the original expedition where only 6 of 10 people and half of the boats completed the journey, through their leadership, this time everyone and all the boats arrived safely. The data from the expedition and the resulting lessons being developed for use by school children across the Nation will be a lasting result from their efforts.

Supported by:
Christopher Johnson, Deputy AD for Science Quality & Integrity
Craig Robinson, AD for Science Quality & Integrity



« Return to USGS Excellence in Leadership Award