Every year the Secretary of the Interior recognizes special achievements by employees of federal, state, tribal and local preservation programs that have made contributions to the preservation of historic places. Unlike other awards, this program focuses on the accomplishments of individual employees while also recognizing the contributions of public servants at all levels of the federal historic preservation partnership.
This year’s awardees are:
Federal Preservation Office Category
Dr. Robin B. Hawks, Federal Preservation Officer, Bureau of Land Management
Dr. Robin Hawks serves as the federal preservation officer for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), an agency that manages more than 252 million acres of federal property. Hawks has demonstrated substantial leadership in the success of the BLM historic preservation program, completing four major projects during 2012, including the revised Programmatic Agreement for compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
State Historic Preservation Office Category
Dan Elswick, South Carolina State Historic Preservation Office
For more than a quarter century Dan Elswick’s architectural expertise has significantly advanced South Carolina’s ability to carry out the goals of the National Historic Preservation Act. Dan has reviewed thousands of preservation projects in the local, state, and federal tax credit programs, Section 106 and state-related review programs, and federal and state grants. He has contributed to the stewardship of many of the most significant historic properties in South Carolina.
The South Carolina State Historic Preservation Office is a long-time member of Preservation Leadership Forum.
Tribal Historic Preservation Office Category
Bill Helmer, The Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley, California
Since 2004, Bill Helmer has served at the tribal historic preservation officer (THPO) for the Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley. Helmer helped develop and now implements the Big Pine Paiute Historical Preservation Ordinance, which recognizes that “Preserving and caring for historic resources will provide cultural, educational, aesthetic, inspirational, spiritual and economic benefits for present and future generations.” The Tribe’s vast ancestral territory means that Mr. Helmer must work tirelessly to coordinate with all the federal agencies, as well as with the state historic preservation office, to identify and protect resources that are of high importance to the Tribe throughout the region.
Certified Local Government Category
Michelle L. Pierce, Lake City, Colorado
Michelle Pierce has served all of the citizens of Lake City (population 425) for more than a quarter century. In that position she cultivated a mature, award-winning Certified Local Government Program. Michelle was fundamental in the certification of the Lake City government in 1986, and since that time she has successfully overseen a number of CLG grant-funded projects that have helped the community identify and recognize its diverse heritage. She wrote and administered four Colorado State Historic Fund grants that provided support for survey, nomination, and rehabilitation projects.