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Ernie Seneca Award for Excellence in Public Service



This award was created to honor Ernie Seneca, who spent many years working in North Carolina government public information and communications offices. His career included positions in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Department Environment and Natural Resources, the Governor’s Press Office, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Safety. Ernie also was an active and enthusiastic member of the NCAGIO for many years and served as the organization’s president in 1997. Ernie passed away on Nov. 9, 2012 after a two-year battle with cancer. 


Nominees should be current NCAGIO members who have gone above and beyond the call of duty while working in the communications profession for local or state government agencies. Nominations should be written in the “When and how was entry produced?” box on the entry form. The title for entries is “Ernie Seneca Award for Excellence in Public Service.” Nominations should highlight the positive ways in which the NCAGIO member has contributed to his or her agency / organization and colleagues (i.e. mentored new employees, interns or staff, started a new program or initiative, showed strong leadership) or contributed to the NCAGIO.

Past Recipients
Dr. Alecia Smith.jpg

2020 Dr. Alecia Smith

Durham County Public Health Department

For her excellence in serving the citizens of Durham County as the COVID-19

pandemic unfolded, the prestigious NCAGIO Ernie Seneca Award

for Excellence in Public Service was presented to Dr. Alecia Smith with the Durham
County Public Health Department


Dr. Smith demonstrated strong leadership, work ethic and problem solving as the

COVID-19 pandemic began to affect North Carolina. Using community outreach,

cross-department coordination and creative problem solving, she led Durham County’s Public Health Department in engaging, informative communication about the pandemic that likely saved lives.

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