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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Media Advisory - Seaway Employees Earn Prestigious Recognition

Friday, January 26, 2024


For Immediate Release


Telephone: (202) 366-4297


(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (GLS) proudly announced today that several of its outstanding employees have been honored at the 56th Annual U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary’s Awards Ceremony, held on Thursday, January 25, 2024, in Washington, D.C. The event, presided over by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, celebrated the exceptional contributions of individuals and teams across DOT who have demonstrated unparalleled dedication to the Department's strategic goals and mission.

Among the distinguished recipients were the interdepartmental team behind the transformative Green Shipping Corridor Network (GSCN), an ongoing initiative seeking to decarbonize shipping on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway. Comprising Peter Hirthe, LaToya James, Jazmine Jurkiewicz, Sylvonica Madlock, Chora Snyder, Rebecca Yackley, and other DOT employees including Elizabeth Fox.  This cadre of GLS professionals was awarded the prestigious Leadership in Sustainability and Climate Award for their exceptional leadership on both a regional and global scale.

The GLS Trade and Economic Development team, consisting of Rebecca Yackley, Peter Hirthe, and Jazmine Jurkiewicz, received the Secretary’s Partnering for Excellence Award for achievements in enhancing international cruise ship activity across the Great Lakes. Their collaborative efforts have not only bolstered regional economic development but have also positioned the GLS as a key player in fostering new international partnerships and cruise tourism via the St. Lawrence Seaway. Seven cruise lines designed itineraries for ten vessels on the Great Lakes in 2023, totaling almost 400 U.S. port calls for an estimated 100,000 cruise passengers.

Stephen McCargar, Operations Specialist based in Massena, was honored with the Transportation Safety Award for his significant contributions in advancing and implementing transformative measures in Seaway lock operations. Mr. McCargar’s dedication has had a profound impact on ensuring the well-being of Seaway personnel and the North Country community while also sustaining over 2,000 safe and secure vessel transits in the last year.

Chora Snyder, Contract Specialist based in the GLS’s Massena, N.Y. office, was presented with the Secretary’s Excellence Award, a testament to her outstanding performance and exceptional commitment in undertaking federal procurement activities responsibly and diligently. Ms. Snyder has contributed across the organization, proving instrumental by supporting multiple key GLS initiatives, including the Seaway Infrastructure Program (SIP) for capital asset renewal in Massena.

Sylvonica Madlock, Julie Kuenzler, and LaToya James are part of the DOT Equity Team which received the Diversity Award for progress in institutionalizing equity, inclusion and accessibility as core values and practice throughout DOT.  Their unwavering commitment has set a benchmark for promoting a diverse working environment within DOT has positively impacted the entire organizational culture.

In response to the accolades, GLS Administrator Adam Tindall-Schlicht expressed his gratitude, stating, “We are thrilled that the Department of Transportation has recognized the superior performance and exceptional accomplishments of these GLS employees and their DOT colleagues. GLS awardees demonstrate a commitment to excellence and innovation, setting a standard for a sustainable, equitable and collaborative future for shipping via the Great Lakes Seaway. Their achievements reflect the dedication and professionalism of the entire GLS workforce, and we couldn't be prouder of their contributions.”

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Media Advisory - Seaway Employees Earn Prestigious Recognition