Dining With the Real Stars

Quiz time!

1) Which well-known event has the most beautiful people (beautiful as is wow, va-va voom, dreamy) being honored and in the audience? Is it:

  • The Nobel prize ceremony in Stockholm (and Oslo),
  • The Academy Awards in Hollywood.
  • The SEA Banquet in Washington.
  • Huh!

2) Which well known-event has the demonstrably largest number of very, very smart people in the audience? Is it:

  • The Nobels.
  • The Oscars.
  • The SEA awards.

In the first category, the Academy Awards is the easy winner in the beauty category. Considering the amount of money spent on lifts, implants, hairpieces, tans, tucks and fake teeth it ought to be. But there are people in audience, and on stage, who sans wardrobe, makeup and lighting look no better, and often worse, than the average GS 11 at the Environmental Protection Agency.

The answer to the second group may fool you. Most people would probably guess the Nobel awards. After all, those people are being honored (and given something like a million bucks) for thinking of things most of us never thought of, or for solving problems most of us didn’t know were a problem. That’s fine, but…

Try to wrangle a ticket next year to the State Department banquet sponsored by the Senior Executives Association. You will be wowed and, if you are a fed, a friend or family member, you will be very proud. The SEA sponsors the event each year to honor career government executives who win their government’s top civilian honor, the Presidential Distinguished Rank Awards. The things they won for range from innovations that have or will save billions of dollars, and make life better and healthier for millions of people. Some of the people honored in the past have won Nobel prizes, so they’ve been there and done that before they get to banquet.

The most recent was last night. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke and dozens of agency heads came to honor the career people who work for them. I’ve been to a dozen, maybe more, and I was just as impressed last night as at my first one. The view of DC’s monuments from the terrace of the State Department is stunning. So are the accomplishments of the award winners. Nothing has changed except my tux has shrunk.

So even you weren’t there and don’t know one of the winners, you are entitled to be very proud. For them, you, your agency, all of us. This is a very, very big deal. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at last year’s banquet which even she, having been to a few important events, said was a big deal.

To see the complete list of more than 60 Presidential Distinguished Rank Awardees representing over 30 departments and agencies, click here.

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com

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