Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (May 6, 2008) – The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) awarded Quentin Forrest of the Science Services Administration the prestigious Employee of the Year Award. Forrest was recognized for the outstanding effort he put forth in the technical development of a new field GIS system and database.

“The employee of the year is recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty to serve Maryland and ensure that our environment and the safety of our citizens is protected,” said MDE Secretary Shari T. Wilson. “Mr. Forrest’s development of the use of GIS enhances the work of MDE to monitor the water quality in our beaches and shellfish harvesting areas.”

"I want to congratulate all of the Maryland Department of Environment employees nominated for Employee of the Year," said Governor O'Malley. "Their accomplishments and work in advancing technologies and programs ensure that Marylanders can continue to enjoy the health of our environment -- the land, the air, the water that all of us depend upon, not just for ourselves but for future generations."

This system developed by Mr. Forrest will be deployed statewide in both MDE’s Shellfish and Beaches Program, has been nationally recognized by the U.S. EPA as an integral tool to help identify potential impairments to recreational bathing areas. Moreover, MDE’s Shellfish Shoreline Survey Program will be greatly enhanced through direct data entry, eliminating all paper files generated in the past, and truly placing this program as a lead in pollution source assessments.

"The development of this system was truly a team effort,” said Mr. Forrest. “I am proud to be part of this project that will protect our citizens and our waterways.”

Mr. Forrest joined MDE in 1999 as a Toxicologist. He works in the Compliance Monitoring Program located in the Annapolis Field Office. Mr. Forrest lives in Calvert County.

MDE honored three other Employee of the Year Nominees. They are:

Duc Nguyen for his outstanding effort and insightful creativity in using Google Earth software to create 3-D animations visualizing Maryland’s unique air pollution problems. Mr. Nguyen has continued to refine and further evolve these techniques and is now incorporating voice-over narration, thereby making the animations even more self-explanatory and user friendly. His latest work is a very timely, detailed analysis of a highly anomalous ozone air pollution episode that occurred on June 8, 2007. This episode was unusual in that an isolated exceedance of the old 1-hour ozone standard was observed at the Aldino monitor in Harford County (instead of the expected location at the Edgewood monitor) in part due to an incursion of bay breeze circulation much further inland than is typically observed. Mr. Nguyen lives in Baltimore County.

John Grace for his dedication and tireless efforts in overseeing protection of the quality and quantity of Maryland’s water supply resources. As a division chief, Mr. Grace oversees over 14,000 appropriation permits for the withdraw of ground and surface water as well as completion of drinking water source assessments of more than 3,000 sources. Mr. Grace is often found working beyond normal hours and weekends to meet the needs of the permittees, MDE, and the public; however, he always finds time to thoughtfully help anyone requesting his assistance. Mr. Grace lives in Baltimore City.

Larry Short for his leadership and management of the Classification and Compensation Division in the Office of Human Resources. In his short tenure at MDE, Larry has decreased the backlog of reclassification requests, revised procedures to streamline the review process, implemented the new Geologist classification series and modified the Supplemental Standards for the Program Manager classifications series. His participation and technical advice on the Recruitment and Retention Survey Report and to the Environmental Health Liaison Committee has been invaluable. In addition to the above, he is being recognized for his extraordinary talents and diligence in leading the Environmental Engineer and Scientist Study, a major project with significant implications on the Department’s ability to recruit and retain highly technical and skilled professionals. Mr. Short lives in Baltimore City.