NAGC Communicator of the Year
2018 Communicator of the Year
Lieutenant Donnie Brzuska
Lieutenant Donnie Brzuska
Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area
As Public Affairs Officer for the United States Coast Guard Pacific Area, Lt. Donnie Brzuska coordinated outreach initiatives that reached more than a billion people worldwide using traditional and social media to increase public awareness of the threat of transnational organized crime networks.
He also created a series of innovative national media events including media embeds to remote Arctic locations, and aboard polar icebreakers in both the Arctic and Antarctic.
His efforts resulted in significant international and national news coverage that solidified the need for year-round assured access to the Polar Regions and reinforced the Coast Guard’s role as a global leader in Polar operations.
Lt. Brzuska also led the deployment of more than two dozen communication professionals to regions affected by natural disasters to ensure those affected received important, and in some cases, lifesaving information. He also led an international delegation during the transfer of a former Coast Guard Cutter to Viet Nam.
Each year, NAGC asks for nominations of outstanding individuals whom you believe to be the most effective in delivering a government organization’s message within the last year. The award recipient will join a long list of past honorees, including:
- Chris Poynter, Chris is the Director of Communications for the Office of the Mayor of Louisville, Ky. In his nomination letter, Mayor Greg Fischer detailed the leadership and ingenuity Chris used to help the city and the world celebrate the life of the late Muhammad Ali.
- Bob Muir, Manager of the Press Office of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, for his responsiveness, subject matter expertise, and straight talk in communicating to media and with the public during the 2015 Southern California drought.
- Jessica Milcetich, Digital Media Strategist, U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), for her management of social media and outreach projects for USA.gov.
- Kerri Richardson, Director of Communications, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s Office, for her ability to communicate Kentucky’s decision to expand Medicaid and launch their own, state-based ACA Health Benefits Exchange.
- Carl A. Fillichio, Senior Advisor for Communications and Public Affairs, for improving the security of the print media “lock up” at the U.S. Department of Labor.
- Judy Gish, California Department of Transportation, for the successful communication of the I-405 freeway closure in Los Angeles, averting “Carmaggedon.”
- U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen (Ret.), National Incident Commander during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Linda Wilson, I-64 Community Relations Manager, Missouri Department of Transportation, for handling the closing down of a major interstate highway to 2.5 million residents of a metropolitan region to replace 10 miles of Interstate 64 in St. Louis.
- David Walker, former Comptroller General of the United States, for sounding the warning about government finances.
- Max Mayfield, Director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida.