NOAA 2001-R482
Contact: Stephanie Balian


President George W. Bush has recently awarded the Meritorious Executive Award to David Kennedy of the Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for his unique record of sustained outstanding accomplishments.

Kennedy, the director of the National Ocean Service's Office of Response and Restoration, was presented the Meritorious Executive Award by President Bush in a ceremony at the White House Oct. 15. Each year, the White House recognizes and celebrates a small group of career senior executives with this prestigious award. Winners have demonstrated their ability to lead a government that delivers great service and fosters public/private partnerships to achieve results.

Kennedy was recognized for his leadership and exemplary accomplishments including the development of OR&R. Under Kennedy's leadership, the office has become the leader in environmental pollution response and assessment, and is both nationally and internationally recognized for leadership, technical expertise and oil-spill response capabilities.

"We are truly fortunate to have David on our staff," said Margaret Davidson, acting director of the ocean service. "It is because of his hard work and dedication, that the Office of Response and Restoration now sets the standard for the world in the application of quality science and technology to oil spill response."

Kennedy is also directly responsible for utilizing the capabilities of his agency's skilled experts during coastal disaster-response efforts led by other federal or state agencies. Under his leadership, the National Ocean Service Incident Response Plan was developed, and quickly became a model for the rest of NOAA.

In recent years, NOAA has been involved in rapid-response task forces, called out to disasters such as the Egypt Air Flight 990 and Alaska Airlines Flight 261 crashes, as well as Hurricanes Mitch, Dennis and Floyd. Through Kennedy's aggressive outreach, NOAA made its mark on these response efforts, and became a fixture in Federal disaster planning and response team efforts.

His results-driven approach is demonstrated further by his skill in improving the clean up process of the Pribilof Islands in Alaska, where he increased the efficiency of the environmental remediation activity. Additionally, he transformed a minimally funded coral program into a $26 million restoration mission.

"I am greatly honored to receive such a high award from President Bush at the White House," said Kennedy. " I am proud to be instrumental to NOAA's achievements and am fortunate to work with highly motivated professionals."

From 1989 to 1991, he managed HAZMAT's Scientific Coordination Branch in Seattle, Wash. From 1976 to 1989, Kennedy served as scientific support coordinator for the U.S. Coast Guard during major oil and chemical spills.

A graduate of the University of Northern Colorado, Kennedy currently lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife Gini.

NOAA's National Ocean Service is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving, and restoring the nation's coasts and oceans. The ocean service balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards.

To learn more about NOAA's Ocean Service, please visit