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FHWA Personnel Management Manual; Part 1: Personnel Systems & Procedures, Chapter 9 Awards and Employee Recognition, Section 1, Attachment: Chart 1
Classification Code Date
M3000.1C February 10, 2006  

Chart 1

Secretary's Honor Awards

Who is Eligible?

Purpose of Award

Type of Recognition


Nomination Procedures

Partnering for Excellence Award

Intermodal teams/groups

To recognize intermodal teams/groups that have used the Partnering for Excellence training to further ONE DOT activities in support of one or more DOT strategic goals.

Crystal Award

The teams’ or groups’ activities must support one of these Strategic Goals:

Safety: Promote the public health and safety by working toward the elimination of transportation-related deaths, injuries, and property damage.

Mobility: Shape America's future by ensuring a transportation system that is accessible, integrated, and efficient, and offers flexibility of choices.

Economic Growth and Trade: Advance America's economic growth and competitiveness domestically and internationally through efficient and flexible transportation.

Human and Natural Environment: Protect and enhance communities and the natural environment affected by transportation.

National Security: Advance the Nation's vital security interests in support of national strategies such as the National Security Strategy and National Drug Control Strategy by ensuring that the transportation system is secure and available for defense mobility and that our borders are safe from illegal intrusion.

Each spring the Office of Human Resources will issue a call for nominations for Secretary's Honor Awards.

The nomination should be prepared on white bond paper. The narrative supporting the nomination should be limited to one page per strategic goal. Attachments will not be considered.

Secretary’s Award for Meritorious Achievement

All employees

The Secretary is especially interested in recognizing employees who have significantly contributed to organizational goals and objectives by identifying and achieving cost savings and visibly supporting the reinvention efforts of DOT.

Crystal Award

Nominations for this award are based on meritorious contributions of unusual value to the DOT in meeting its strategic goals. Examples of such contributions include but are not limited to:

  1. a very valuable contribution to science or technology with national or international scope;

  2. accomplishment of assigned duties in such an outstanding manner as to be clearly exceptional among all those who have performed similar duties;

  3. development and improvement of methods and procedures which have accomplished extraordinary results for the DOT;

  4. eminent authorship;

  5. exceptionally outstanding leadership which resulted in the highly successful accomplishment of DOT missions, the major redirection of objectives or accomplishments to meet unique or emergency situations;

  6. contributions to the DOT's Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Program of an outstanding and distinctive nature;

  7. leadership, accomplishments, or actions that make a significant contribution to building a strategic ONE DOT;

  8. demonstrated an outstanding ability to manage diversity by creating an organizational environment that allows every employee to reach his or her full potential and fully contribute to the DOT's mission;

  9. excelled or embraced the spirit of the DOT's Managing Diversity Order (DOT Order 3200.1, dated January 21, 1998); or

  10. excellent customer service and improved customer satisfaction with transportation systems and Departmental services.

Each spring the Office of Human Resources will issue a call for nominations for the Secretary's Honor Awards.

The nomination should be prepared on DOT Form 3200.2 The narrative supporting the nomination should be limited to the space provided on the form. Attachments will not be considered.

Award for EEO/Affirmative Action

Any employee whose primary job is not in the EEO and Affirmative Action areas.

To demonstrate the value that top-level management places on efforts to actively and effectively enhance the DOT's efforts in the areas of EEO and Affirmative Action.


This award recognizes the DOT's highest level of honor and recognition to those employees who have excelled in promoting equal opportunity/affirmative action while serving in positions that are not primarily EEO related. Employees whose primary job responsibility is in the area of EEO and affirmative action are not eligible for this award. They should be considered for the Meritorious Achievement Award.

Same as above.

Award for Excellence Career employees in grades General Schedule (GS) -1 thru GS-14 and Wage Grade (WG) -1 thru WG-8 To honor high achieving employees in clerical, administrative, technical, and general support positions. Crystal Award Nominations must be based on outstanding achievement of all major duties. All aspects of performance must not only far exceed normal requirements but also deserve special commendation. In addition, an employee can be recognized, wholly or in part, for accomplishments or actions that contribute to a stronger ONE DOT. An employee need not have received an outstanding rating during the last rating period to be nominated providing he/she is performing at the level to earn such a rating at the time of the nomination. Same as above.

Award for Valor

All employees

To honor heroism


An employee must have demonstrated outstanding courage and voluntary risk of personal safety in the face of danger in an emergency while on or off duty.

Same as above.

The Award for Volunteer Service and the Community Service Award

All employees

The Volunteer Service Award recognizes employees who have made significant contributions through any of the volunteer programs for which the DOT provides support or sponsorship. The Community Service Award recognizes employees who have made significant contributions to their local community or the community at large.


The nomination should include length of volunteer or community service, number of hours per week, month or year; innovation or initiative in improving conditions of the organization being served; type of service rendered; and benefits to the community.

Same as above.

Team Award

Groups or teams

To recognize groups and teams both within FHWA and those that cross operating administrations (OAs) in recognition of meritorious contributions of high value to the DOT in meeting one or more of the Strategic Goals, and whose exceptional performance results in the improvement, reinvention, or reengineering of practices, operations, and customer services. Groups and teams include cross-functional teams, natural work groups, design project teams, and process/quality action teams that work together as a unit to achieve shared objectives or missions. In cases where the nomination is for an intermodal team, the award will not count against the nominating OA's allocation.

Crystal award obelisk

Nominations must specifically address each element included in the following:

Teamwork - Describe how the members of the team/group work together effectively either within FHWA or across OAs in coordinating and carrying out assignments to achieve common objectives. At least one example of an activity that displays cooperation, coordination, or group process skills is required.

Problem Solving - Describe how the members of the group or team effectively use problem solving methods, techniques, and tools (as appropriate) to achieve desired objectives and/or integrate objectives, procedures, etc., of participating OAs.

Customer Focus - Describe the link between the work of the team and the benefits derived by the customers; how customer input and feedback were obtained; and how they were used to make corrective actions or to improve services to the customers. Where appropriate, describe how using an intermodal approach enhanced customer service.

Creative and Innovative Techniques - Describe any innovative techniques used by the team to develop recommendations for improvements. The work of the team should reflect an awareness of evolving methods, procedures, and technologies. Where appropriate, highlight techniques that promote cooperation and collaboration among the OAs.

Results - Describe results accomplished by the team such as objectives met, solutions found, and process changed or improved.

Descriptions should be limited to one page per criterion/element, for a total of 5 pages, plus Form DOT 3200.2 as the coversheet. Attachments will not be considered in the evaluation process.

PMM, Part 1, Chapter 9, Section 1   |   Chart 2   | Chart 3   | Chart 4

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