NOAA’s Dr. Paul DiGiacomo Wins GEO Individual Excellence Award
During the GEO Week 2019 Plenary and Ministerial Summit, Dr. Paul DiGiacomo was awarded the Individual Excellence Award before a global audience. This is the first year for this award, which is presented to individuals who have demonstrated exceptional personal commitment to the GEO Mission and whose work has had tangible impact. Paul was unable to attend the Plenary in person to receive his award, but Dr. Emily Smail accepted it on his behalf. Paul first held leadership roles in multiple GEO communities of practice and was instrumental in helping them transition to Initiatives. His NOAA role enabled him to introduce GEO to the NOAA efforts which advance these initiatives and introduces GEO to various audiences both within and beyond NOAA. Several examples of his tangible impact to personally advancing GEO’s Mission include funding positions for Blue Planet and AquaWatch – first establishing home offices for both secretariats which were critical to realizing sustained Initiative achievements. Paul truly ‘walks the talk’ of supporting GEO initiatives, literally years ahead of other collaborative institutions in providing Blue Planet and AquaWatch support. While providing financial support had huge impact, he has remained engaged in various leadership roles and invested in the Initiative outcomes, not simply for enriching his NOAA role, but also advancing GEO’s Mission. Paul always emphasizes the open source technology, interdisciplinary evidence-based collaborative approaches favored by GEO; and he continuously advocates for team geographic diversity and gender-parity – values which are demonstrated in the diverse management teams and Steering Committees both Initiatives display. Above all others, Paul’s impact to GEO through leadership of Blue Planet and AquaWatch and Steering Committee service to GEOGLOWS, exemplifies the Individual Excellence this award recognizes and there is no more worthy an individual to receive such an international honor. We congratulate Paul for this award and thank him for his dedication to international efforts!