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Virgil Masayesva Tribal Air Programs Excellence Award Recipients
Frank Spurgeon: 2021 – Tribal Program Development
Frank Spurgeon has been advancing tribal air quality since he started working for the Pala tribe in 2003. After helping to develop and further Pala's air monitoring capabilities, Frank moved on to manage the La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians air monitoring program. In addition to assisting many Southern California tribal air quality programs through the Southern California Tribal Air Monitoring Collaborative, Frank also served on the TAMS Steering Committee from 2015-2018.
Franks commitment to his work is evidenced by his knowledge, willingness to help other tribal air professionals, and his tenure within the profession. Frank has always been willing to share his knowledge and expertise with other tribes. From example SOPs, to helping set-up monitoring stations, to trouble shooting data managmenet issues, Frank has been quick to offer his help to his fellow tribal environmental colleagues. These days Frank continues advancing tribal partnerships working with the Southern California Tribal Air Monitoring Collaborative and their PQAO efforts. He also provides assistance by swapping required monitoring audits with other tribal professionals, which saves money and more importantly, advances tribal sovereignty. His knowledge to do this is in part by his training as a certified field scientist for NPAP/PEP audits as well as his years of on the job learning, information again which Frank is happy to share.
As part of the TAMS SC, Frank has demonstrated leadership, assistance, and promoting tribal air programs. His contributions to the Technical Guidance for the Development of Tribal Air Monitoring Programs has been meaningful and thoughtful.
Frank has shared his insight, experience, and lessons learned by presenting at RTOCs and the National Tribal Forum on Air Quality on numerous topics as well as other webinars and other opportunties for others to learn. At La Jolla, Frank lead the effort in the Tribe applying for and being granted Treatment as a State for 3 Sections under the Clean Air Act. He has also been helpful to at least one tribe outside of California, in providing them his documentation and offering to assist them with their TAS pursuits.
Bill Thompson: 2020 – Air Policy Excellence
Bill Thompson is a Penobscot Nation Citizen who has served six consecutive terms as the Vice Chair for his Tribe while also running the Tribe's Air Quality Program AND chairing several national organizations. These include the NTAA Executive Committee (2008-2015), National Tribal Science Council (2010-2013), and the TAMS Steering Committee (2007-2012). In all of these appointments, Bill has made great strides in moving forward policies that assist Tribes in many aspects of air quality management. While on the TAMS SC, Bill led a workgroup on mercury issues and in NTAA he focused efforts around landfills. From 2016-2019 Bill worked at EPA HQ in Washington, DC in the Office of Radiation and Indoor Air, Tribal Indoor Environments Division (TIED). In this capacity, Bill was able to serve EPA as a firsthand source of information and context about Tribal needs and culture, and was in turn able to bring back information to Tribes on EPA programs. One of Bill's greatest achievements is his ability to reach out to people and let them know that their input is both wanted and valuable. He is a tireless voice for Tribes and sovereignty across the nation. He is a true gentleman and models inclusivity rather than division. Bill is supported by his wife of 29 years, Lisa; his stepson Gabe who is 34; and his daughter Jasmine who is 25.
Congratulations to Bill Thompson and Frank Spurgeon! And thank you for all your hard work advancing and supporting Tribal Air Programs throughout Indian Country.
About the Virgil Masayesva Environmental Excellence Award
Virgil Masayesva was a member of the Hopi tribe and the Director of the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals at Northern Arizona University from it's inception in 1992 until his passing in 2005. Virgil is commemorated for his leadership, dedication, innovation and commitment to the support of tribal air programs; their creation, development, advancement and ultimate success in promoting tribal sovereignty, tribal culture and tribal environmental protection. This award was developed to recognize and perpetuate continuing contributions to that legacy. To learn more about the Virgil Masayesva Environmental Excellence Award and previous awardees please visit: http://www7.nau.edu/itep/main/tams