Pam Collman of Bethalto was shocked to discover she was one of six in her region recognized with the highest honorary award given by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bronze Medal Award.
“I had no idea I was nominated for it,” Collman said.
The Bronze Medal Award is given for superior federal services, and recognizes achievements in more effective and efficient management systems, demonstrations of unusual initiative or creative abilities in development and improvement of methods and procedures. Team members who receive this award also are recognized for their outstanding contributions and enabling the census to meet its mission of serving as the leading source of quality data regarding the nation’s people and economy.
Collman, a senior field representative, has been with the bureau since 1997, mainly visiting Madison, Jersey and Bond counties.
“One of the biggest we do, and probably the most people have heard of, is the American Community Survey, a component of the decennial census,” she said. “It is what they turn the long form of the census into.
“I enjoy this job a lot. I go into people’s homes, sometimes the same household five times a year, and you become attached to people. Dealing with the public day after day, answering their questions, being invited into their homes all requires work to build trust, but it can be very rewarding, too.”
Collman, along with husband, Bill, flew to Washington, D.C., to receive her award on Feb. 17, but snowy weather caused the ceremony to be cancelled and the couple returned home, receiving the award later in the mail.
In addition to the Bronze Medal Award, she received the Award of Excellence by the Census Bureau in 2011 and is one of two people from the Chicago branch who has spent the last two years serving on the MCM committee.
Collman is assigned multiple surveys per month, including collecting data for the Centers for Disease Control, building permits and household expenditures.
“We look at patient records and they (Centers for Disease Control) use the information from patient visits at the doctors’ office to set up protocols for training medical professionals,” she said. “Some of that information may be used to determine if there are emerging protocols for treatment of a particular condition, all of which is confidential. “On another end of the spectrum, I do another survey every month where I contact building permit offices and take a look at the building permits issued from the previous month, and collect information about new home starts.
“All of these statistics come from somebody.”
For Collman, winning the award was validation.
“I was very honored, truly,” she said. “I work very hard at my job, and support other field representatives if they are unable to complete an assignment or have a reluctant respondent needing more convincing to participate.”
And Collman said she has no intentions on quitting any time soon.
“I’ve known a couple of people who have received this award and it tends to be a culmination of one’s career, but I’m not ready to quit,” Collman said.