2013 Causey Award Winner – Francis McDonough

McDonough was recognized for improving the labor-management working relationship at the Food and Nutrition Service.

Francis McDonough
Chief Human Capital Officer
Food and Nutrition Service
Department of Agriculture

McDonough was recognized for improving the labor-management working relationship during a highly sensitive reorganization of the Food and Nutrition Service’s real estate footprint.

Read what the nominator had to say about Francis McDonough.

Judges’ Comments:

  • He has moved them into the teleworking process, which has saved the USDA a tremendous amount of funds.
  • Francis appears to have achieved some significant reforms, including closing a large number of field offices and increasing telework.
  • He is the navigator!

Listen to our full interview with Francis McDonough on In Depth with Francis Rose.


Federal News Radio asked each Causey Award Winner to answer 10 questions about him or herself so that we could learn a little bit more about them. Here’s what Francis McDonough had to say:

  1. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

    “Be yourself in serving others.”

  2. What is the worst piece of advice you have ever received?

    “Ignore it.”

  3. Who has been your biggest role model, and why?

    There have been and are many, including John Haley Jr., former general manager of the MBTA; Andrew Natsios, former administrator of USAID and U.S. Envoy to Sudan; and FNS Administrators Julie Paradis and Audrey Rowe. The most influential, however, were my grandfather and my mother. My grandfather was a congressman from Massachusetts in the 1930s, the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the 1940s and half of the 1950s, and President Truman’s original designee as the United States representative on the International War Crimes Tribunal in Japan following World War II. He was universally respected, smart as a whip, insightful and compassionate. In addition, ushers let him park in front of Gate A at Fenway Park and never asked to see a ticket. His daughter inherited his strengths and attributes and, with her abiding interest in and care for the well-being of others, brightened many, many lives.

  4. If I could have one super power it would be …

    Reading others’ minds.

  5. In my opinion …

    The business of government should be honored, embraced, constantly refined and improved to efficiently serve all those who pay for it, create opportunities for those who can take advantage of them to help pay for it, and proudly deliver services for those who cannot do either.

  6. If you didn’t work for the federal government, what would be your dream job?

    This is a tough one. I’d love to say “play left field for the Red Sox, “but I’m going with something marginally more realistic: “stand-up comedian.”

  7. If resources were not an issue, I would motivate my staff with …

    … whatever each decided was appropriate and fair in light of their extra “go their extra ten mile” contributions.

    That response assumes that the incentives are legal, ethical and commensurate with the value added beyond that expected for salary and benefits received.

    Cash and time off are the default options but movie, theater or other event passes, gift cards, books, paid trips, baby-sitting or elder-sitting services scratch the surface of employee-specific tokens of appreciation for jobs unusually well done. Dog-walking might work for some as well. In that resources are always an issue, genuine appeals to the best in each employee in light of mission needs is a good start.

  8. The greatest federal HR challenge is …

    Doing everything well and on time, in light of ever escalating demands, including reports to customers, organizational leaders at multiple levels, stakeholders, external agencies and passers-by, on what has and has not been done well and/or on time.

  9. What is the last book you read?

    “What Makes a Hero?: The Surprising Science of Selflessness” by Elizabeth Svoboda.

  10. I’d rather be …

    Sharing this recognition with my many USDA and FNCS HR colleagues, including my friends in Billy Milton’s OHRM, the MAHRDs, our FNCS branch chiefs and all in our HR community.

    Then, I’d tune to 1500 on the AM band as I drove to New York to volunteer to work for former President Clinton’s foundation in any capacity, perhaps as its liaison to Major League Baseball.

Federal News Radio awarded five individuals with a 2013 Causey Award. Read more about each of the recipients.

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