NOAA 2003-R231
Contact: Marilu Trainor
NOAA News Releases 2003
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service (NOAA National Weather Service) conferred its highest honor, the Isaac M. Cline Award, to Michelle L. (Shelley) Heaps, the Equal Employment Opportunity Manager (EEO) at NOAA Weather Service’s Western Region headquarters in Salt Lake City. She was recognized for demonstrating excellent leadership and support for Western Region’s Diversity Program. NOAA is an agency of the Department of Commerce.

Each year the NOAA Weather Service recognizes employees for operational excellence in the delivery of products and services in support of the weather service mission. Heaps, a longtime resident of northern Utah, received the Cline Award in the Support Services category for her expertise in human resource issues.

“Shelley Heaps’ effort to improve our services for the American people is a testament to her selfless dedication,” said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Jack Kelly, director of the NOAA Weather Service.

“The NOAA Weather Service staff continues to benefit from Heaps’ work which included the revitalization of the region’s Diversity Action Committee through reorganizing its charter and enlisting employees interested in making a difference,” Kelly noted.

The practical implications of Heaps’ work are wide-ranging. She developed a recruitment and retention plan for women and minorities resulting in a continual increase in the number of under-represented employees in the workforce. She facilitates the hiring of student interns and often meets with minority-serving institutions and universities to gain greater understanding of their needs. She recently oversaw the region’s input into a NOAA-wide employee feedback survey about organizational effectiveness. She also works on a national team that is examining future recruitment of interns into the NOAA Weather Service.

“Shelley’s enthusiasm and positive attitude are contagious and she serves as a sounding board for many. She provides excellent support to the field staff in the areas of EEO, diversity, staffing, pay issues, and any other concerns from supervisors, employees, or potential recruits,” said Vickie Nadolski, NOAA Weather Service Western Region director. “Shelley is an all-around star employee whose work products incorporate technical proficiency, initiative, creativity, productivity, and team work.”

Before joining the NOAA Weather Service staff, Heaps was a personnel management specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service for more than ten years. Heaps said her experience in human resources helped her build the weather service programs in diversity, recruitment, and outreach.

"I was surprised and humbled by the nomination for the Cline Award. I receive great support from the NOAA Weather Service employees and managers, which makes my job fun and rewarding. I get a lot of help from our Regional Diversity Action Committee which has enabled us, as a team, to be successful and help more than 700 employees within our region."

The Cline Awards are highly competitive and recipients are first selected within the local weather forecast office and through subsequent regional and national competitions. Eight of the prestigious awards are presented each year in the following categories: meteorology; hydrometeorology; hydrology; support services; upper air observation; leadership; engineering, electronics, or facilities; and, program management and administration.

The award is named in honor of Isaac M. Cline, one of the most recognized employees in the weather service history. His heroic forecasts and hurricane warnings, are credited with saving thousands of lives during the Galveston, Texas, hurricane of September 8, 1900 when the seaport was struck by the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history. The death toll exceeded 8,000, but could have been much higher if not for Cline’s understanding of the weather and his initiative in warning the public.

Heaps, currently residing in Clinton, attended Clearfield High School in 1985 and earned a bachelor of science degree in management from Weber State University in 1991. She enjoys spending time with family and friends. Her parents are Linda and David Heaps of Eden, Utah.

The NOAA National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories and operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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