You are here: American University School of Public Affairs Public Administration & Policy The Roger W. Jones Award for Executive Leadership

Now accepting nominations! Roger W. Jones Award for Executive Leadership

The 2023 Nomination Cycle is now open. Applications are due June 30, 2023.
Nomination Criteria

Since 1978, the Roger W. Jones Award has honored and recognized federal career executives for the Senior Executive Service who have demonstrated dedication to superior leadership in achieving their agency's mission and nurturing future managers.

Award recipients are not only committed to mission success, but also inspire those they lead, consistent with the career of the extraordinary public servant for whom the Award is named.

Roger Jones (February 3, 1908 - May 28, 1993) served seven U.S. presidents over four decades, including tours as Deputy Secretary of State, Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Chairman of the Civil Service Commission.

He extolled the importance of public administration and service, stressing the need to provide professional education for public managers.

Recipients of the Roger W. Jones Award will be honored in a ceremony hosted by American University during the Annual Key Executive Leadership Conference and receive a $2,500 cash award.


2022 Awardees

Sherri Berger

Chief of Staff
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Prevention (CDC)

Dietra Grant

Director of the Customer Account Services (CAS) Organization
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Alphonso Hughes

Executive Assistant Director
Administration - Office of the Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)

AnchorAnchorAnchorMeet the 2022 Roger W. Jones Awardees

Sherri Berger
Chief of Staff
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

Sherri A. Berger, MSPH, is the Chief of Staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In this role, she serves as the principal advisor to the CDC Director by providing strategic advice and ensuring proactive coordination of agency-wide priorities and policies in direct support of CDC’s public health mission. Berger convenes leadership for assessment, management, and resolution of issues and initiatives affecting CDC’s priorities and goals, provides strategic leadership in resolving cross-organizational issues, and serves as one of the Director’s primary liaisons with staff, partners, and other federal agencies.

From 2011-2021, Berger served as CDC’s Chief Operating Officer, where she provided executive leadership over financial resources, facilities, information technology, safety, and security operations and provided substantial strategic direction for CDC’s workforce and budget. [CDC1] [H(2] At the same time, she served as the agency’s first Chief Risk Officer, implementing an enterprise risk management strategy, and CDC’s Chief Strategy Officer, leading the development and deployment of CDC’s strategic framework and priorities. Berger has provided operational management during some of the greatest public health events of the 21st century, including H1N1, Ebola, Zika, and the COVID-19 pandemic. During CDC’s responses to these threats, she led resource planning and the execution of billions of dollars of supplemental funding and implemented procedures to increase efficiency and meet the increased demands of an emergency response. During her tenure, she also secured resources for major construction projects across CDC facilities including a new high-containment laboratory.

Berger began her federal career in 1996 as one of four graduate students selected nationwide to participate in the CDC/Association of Schools of Public Health Experiential Learning Program. She worked as an epidemiologist at the community level until moving to CDC headquarters in Atlanta to serve as a principal epidemiologic investigator. While leading the agency’s Congressional appropriations activities, she was nominated to participate in the Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program, where she expanded her career into business management.

She has extensive experience at both the program and senior leadership levels and has held several executive positions at CDC, including associate director for formulation, evaluation, and analysis in CDC’s Financial Management Office, deputy director of one of CDC’s national centers, and director of the agency’s Recovery Act Coordination Unit.

Berger received her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Florida and a Master of Science degree in public health with a concentration in epidemiology from the University of South Florida.

Dietra Grant
Director of the Customer Account Services (CAS) Organization
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Dietra Grant is the Director of the Customer Account Services (CAS) organization. W&I CAS is the largest single entity in IRS and serves as the cornerstone of IRS filing season operations, employing nearly 35,000 individuals in 25 locations nationwide during the peak filing season. CAS accomplishes its mission through four key operations — Submission Processing, Accounts Management, the Joint Operations Center, and Electronic Products and Services Support.

Prior to this assignment, Dietra was the Director of the Customer Assistance, Relationships and Education organization. In this role, she had oversight of the Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication, Media and Publications, and Field Assistance functions of IRS’s W&I Division. She was responsible for critical pre-filing services, including the development of forms, publications and notices that communicate tax requirements. Dietra oversaw the IRS’s volunteer efforts, providing assistance and support to approximately 90,000 volunteers in nearly 12,000 volunteer sites to educate and assist taxpayers with tax return filing. She was also responsible for providing face-to-face taxpayer assistance in 376 sites nationwide. Dietra met those obligations with the support of a workforce of 12 executives and over 2,600 employees.

Dietra was also the Director, Field Assistance in the W&I Division, where she was responsible for approximately 400 physical and virtual Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) nationwide. TACs are the taxpayers’ source for personal tax help when they want face-to-face assistance. The Field Assistance organization is comprised of more than 1,600 employees and managers who balance service and compliance responsibilities, primarily helping customers resolve tax account issues.

Dietra also served as the Director, Stakeholder Partnerships, Education & Communication in W&I, where she was responsible for the delivery of tax education, free return preparation services, and financial education to our nation’s low-income, elderly, disabled, Native American, non-English speaking, and rural taxpayers. Dietra has also served as the Director, Field Assistance, Area 1.

Dietra was a participant in the 2009 Executive Readiness Program. She joined the IRS in 1985 as a taxpayer service representative

Born in Buffalo, New York, Dietra earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Canisius College. Dietra is married to Clarence and has one daughter, Madesen.

Alphonso Hughes
Executive Assistant Director
Administration - Office of the Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)

Alphonso J. Hughes currently serves as the Executive Assistant Director (EAD) for Administration, at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, within the Office of Director overseeing the agency’s Administration Group consisting of the Financial And Budget offices, Information Technology offices, Financial Investigation Services, National Facilities Management, Science and Research Laboratories, Human Resources and Professional Development, as well as ATF National Academy operations for Special Agents and Industry Operation (IO) Investigators.

He previously served as the Assistant Director, Office of Enforcement Programs and Services (EPS) from May 11, 2020, to September 24, 2022, Deputy Assistant Director, Office of Professional Responsibility and Security Operations (OPRSO), and as the Bureau’s Deputy Chief Security Officer from September 2019 to May 2020 which was his first career appointment in the Senior Executive Service (SES).

Three prior EPS leadership roles included Chief, National Firearms Act (NFA) Division from April 2017 to September 2019; and separate stints as Deputy Chief, and Chief, Firearms and Explosives Services Division (FESD) from October 2012 to April 2017. He oversaw various federal firearms and explosives licensing programs and was a key leader in overseeing many of the firearm and explosives regulatory rulemaking efforts. Mr. Hughes also served as Director, Industry Operations, ATF Philadelphia Field Division; and Area Supervisor, ATF Harrisburg II Field Office where he oversaw field regulatory enforcement efforts over the regulated industries. He began his ATF career as an Inspector/IO Investigator in June 2000 in Philadelphia, PA.

Mr. Hughes’ federal civilian career spans approximately 30 years and, in addition to ATF, includes service with the Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He successfully completed the Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program through the U.S. Department of Commerce earning Office of Personnel Management (OPM) SES certification in November 2017.

Mr. Hughes served more than 20 years of military service in the U.S. Air Force (Active Duty and Air National Guard - now retired).

Meet the 2022 Awardees' Nominators

Debra Houry
Acting Principal Deputy Director
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

Nominated Sherri Berger

Debra Houry, MD, MPH, is currently serving as the acting principal deputy director of CDC. As the director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) Dr. Houry leads innovative research and science-based programs to prevent injuries, overdose, and violence and to reduce their consequences. She provides direction and leadership to staff across a range of injury and violence topics – addressing today’s public health crises while preventing tomorrow’s. During Dr. Houry’s tenure at CDC, NCIPC’s budget increased from $150.447 million in 2014 to $682.879 million in 2021.

For decades, Dr. Houry has dedicated her career to advancing public health. Before joining CDC in 2014, Dr. Houry served as vice chair for Research in Emergency Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and as Associate Professor at the Rollins School of Public Health. Dr. Houry also served as an emergency physician at Grady Memorial Hospital and as the director of Emory Center for Injury Control. She has continued her work as a physician while at CDC and volunteers at a clinic for people with opioid use disorder.

She is past president of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, the Society for Advancement of Violence and Injury Research, and Emory University Senate. Dr. Houry is an alum of Leadership Atlanta and the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine program. Dr. Houry has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and has received several national awards, including the Linda Saltzman Memorial Intimate Partner Violence Researcher Award from the Institute on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma and the Academy of Women in Academic Emergency Medicine’s Researcher Award. She was elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), which is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.

Dr. Houry received her Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health degrees from Tulane University and completed her residency training in emergency medicine at Denver Health Medical Center.

Kenneth Corbin
Commissioner, Wage & Investment Division
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Nominated Dietra Grant

Kenneth Corbin is currently serving as the Commissioner of the Wage and Investment Division (W&I) in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as well as the agency’s first Chief Taxpayer Experience Officer (CTXO). During his IRS career, Mr. Corbin Ken has held positions in numerous organizations, garnering a vast wealth of knowledge and experience, and has taken on progressively challenging positions, each with increasing responsibility. In the more than ten years Mr. Corbin has been an executive, he has positively impacted IRS programs and IRS employees throughout the Service. Additionally, he has fostered and nurtured relationships with external partners in other federal and state agencies; congressional staffs; tax professional organizations; tax software industry and a variety of others within the tax ecosystem. He is known both within and outside of the organization for his professional and ethical behavior, his understanding of internal and external politics, and his highly successful collaborative skills.

As the W&I Commissioner, Mr. Corbin effectively leads the largest single organization in the IRS with 34,000 employees in almost 400 locations nationwide who deliver customer service, including telephone and face-to-face assistance, forms and publications development, tax return processing for all of America's taxpayers, and compliance activities for W&I taxpayers. The W&I Division processes almost 200 million individual and business tax returns resulting in over 100 million individual refunds issued, totaling over $300 billion annually; answers over 50 million toll-free customer service calls; provides face-to-face customer service to over a million taxpayers; and coordinates free tax return preparation for over 2.5 million low income and elderly taxpayers through a network of over 80,000 volunteers in partner organizations. In addition, W&I compliance activities protect almost $2.5 billion in revenue by preventing fraudulent refunds, including those related to identity theft. The W&I Division operates with an annual budget of approximately $2.5 billion.

In addition to his duties as the W&I Commissioner, Mr. Corbin was named as the IRS’s first Chief Taxpayer Experience Officer (CTXO) in January 2021. The Taxpayer Experience Officer is the first senior leadership role created within the IRS under the Taxpayer First Act framework to set the strategic direction for improving the taxpayer experience and identifying opportunities to make continuous improvements in real time for taxpayers and the tax professional community.

Marvin Richardson
Deputy Director

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)

Nominated Alphonso Hughes

Marvin G. Richardson was appointed as Deputy Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) on October 29, 2019. In this position, he also serves as the Chief Operating Officer and is the second highest ranking official at ATF. Mr. Richardson is responsible for leading an agency of men and women charged with enforcing laws and regulations related to firearms, explosives, arson, and alcohol and tobacco trafficking.

He also served as the Acting Director under the Vacancies Act from June 2021 to April 2022. Mr. Richardson served as the Assistant Director, Enforcement Programs and Services (EPS), from December 3, 2014, to October 29, 2019, where he had ATF-wide responsibility for the development and delivery of programmatic policy, regulatory guidance, and technical support regarding firearms and explosives, and alcohol and tobacco diversion activities. In addition, he served as the Deputy Assistant Director, EPS, from 2012 through 2014.

Mr. Richardson’s career with ATF spans more than 33 years and includes service as the Special Agent in Charge of the Denver Field Division; Chair of the ATF Professional Review Board; Chief, National Center for Explosives Training and Research; and Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Division. He has worked in law enforcement for more than 38 years, including five years as a police officer at the University of North Texas Police Department in Denton, Texas, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant before leaving the department to join ATF.

Mr. Richardson began his career with ATF in 1989, as a Special Agent in the Dallas Field Division. Mr. Richardson is the recipient of numerous Special Act Awards for outstanding service, including the 2021 Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service, the Treasury Department’s Hostile Action Medal for service during the 1993 Branch Davidian conflict in Waco, Texas, as well as ATF’s Supervisory Employee of the Year Award in 2010 for outstanding leadership contributions.

Mr. Richardson holds a Master’s Degree in Human Relations and Business from Amberton University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of North Texas. In addition, he is a graduate of the FBI National Academy (Class #226). He is married with six children.


Roger W. Jones Award Selection Committee 

Dr. Patrick Malone
Director, Key Executive Leadership Programs; Roger W. Jones Award Committee Chair, School of Public Affairs, American University

David S. C. Chu
President, Institute for Defense Analyses; Co-Chairman, Transition 2017, National Academy of Public Administration

Ed Deseve
Co-Chairman, Transition 2017, National Academy of Public Administration; Executive in Residence, Brookings Executive Education; former Special Adviser to the President

Mortimer Downey
President, Mort Downey Consulting, LLC; National Academy of Public Administration Fellow; former Deputy Secretary of U.S. Department of Transportation

Terry Gerton
President and CEO, National Academy of Public Administration

Sallyanne Harper
Past President, Association of Federal Enterprise Risk Management; National Academy of Public Administration Fellow; Member Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board

David Mader
Civilian Sector Chief Strategy Officer, Deloitte

Bob Tobias
Distinguished Practitioner in Residence; Former Director, Key Executive Leadership Programs