January 13, 2020 Ripple Effect

January 10, 2020 | Dave & Buster’s |  Gaithersburg, MD


While there is great honor in receiving an Emmy, a Tony, or an Oscar, there’s nothing quite like receiving a Ripple Effect accolade at our annual Awards celebration. At this much-anticipated event, people from across all our work sites come together to celebrate project successes and personal achievements from the past year. Last Friday, we hosted our 4th annual awards celebration at Dave & Buster’s in Gaithersburg, Maryland, designed (fittingly) around an “arcade game” theme.

Who earned eternal greatness and took home the awards? Find out below!

The day started out with a song about the glory (and frustrations) of correctly filling out a timesheet, set to the tune of The Who’s “Pinball Wizard.” Check out a snippet below, and kudos to Kristin Ginnity, Margie Beaudry, Jessica Escobedo, and Kathy Williams, accompanied on guitar by Alex Haederle and Timothy La Rose!



After the performance, Ripple Effect CEO Amy Bielski and COO Jennifer Pohlhaus spoke to the growth we’ve experienced as a company since our start, and shared their vision for where we want to go in the upcoming year. Then, came everyone’s favorite time: Lunch. Fueled by that delicious break, it was time for this year’s award winners to be crowned!


Our Award Winners


Core Value Awards



Science Policy Project Director Anne Deschamps took home the Multi-Divisional Assist Award for her exceptional support to all of Ripple’s divisions and teams in 2019. Anne went above and beyond to help get every job done on time and with great results.

Portfolio Area Manager Katie Lipka was presented with the Tetris Award for her meticulous eye for detail! She provided excellent support to her portfolios, including managing a technology landscape-mapping process that greatly impacted MIDRP.



Senior Content Developer Alex Haederle won the Game of the Year Award for his initiative and commitment to our Corporate Communications and branding over the past year. His vision has significantly improved the way we speak about Ripple Effect to others, and as a result, the way potential partners, clients, and competitors hear about our company.



Graphic Designer Anna Crichton took home the PacMan Fever Award for being the silent hero behind countless video and graphic deliverables throughout the year (including the graphics on this page!) Anna is always ready and willing to jump in and make tremendous creative contributions to the Content Development team!

Science Officer Colleen LaVinka was given the Good Game Award for her constant communications with her Portfolio and Principal Investigator teams, and her desire to always keep learning and sharpening new skills to bring to the table.



Lead Portfolio Area Manager David Karaolis was presented with the 1-Up Award for leading the MIDRP team through a number of technological and process improvements, as well as fostering a collaborative and fun work environment during a high-stress year.

Science Officer Patrick Regan won the New Quest Award for the “do whatever it takes to get the job done right” attitude he brings to managing a very complex consortium, and to all of his other priorities, with calmness and organization.


Work Smarter. Perform Better. Awards



Science Policy Project Manager Ishita Das took home the Leveling Up Award for her commitment to mentoring junior staff, and helping others grow and learn “The Ripple Way” across multiple projects and divisions.


Peer To Peer Teamwork

Talent Acquisition and Partnerships Manager Jackie Helfer was given the Energy Boost Station Award for her collaborative spirit and commitment to building up fellow Ripplers. Jackie gave out more peer to peer microbonuses than anyone else in 2019, and it showed!


Experimentation and Failing Forward

Senior Healthcare Project Director Margie Beaudry was presented with the Experience Points Award for trying several new techniques to improve processes within the Research & Evaluation division’s Comment Processing team. These techniques included a new training and assessment program for healthcare analysts, one that resulted in fewer errors and better quality assurance for our projects!


Increasing Efficiency

Program Analysts Cassie Redden, Crystal Ferrell, Dason Brathwaite, Karuna Mupparapu, and Marlee Nelson took home the Mario Warp Pipe Award for remaining flexible amid changing priorities, developing standardized processes for the team to follow, and bringing excellent analytical skills to both individual and team tasks.


Prioritization and Dynamic Equilibrium

Senior Project Manager Amanda Crinks won the Game On! Award for her incredible initiative in proposal, contract, and corporate efforts, while successfully leading a new contract and integrating seamlessly with multiple teams.


Teamwork and Dynamic Equilibrium

Senior Communications Manager Kristin Ginnity and Junior Communications Specialists Andrea Arora, Melissa Blum, and Langston Payne were given the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) Award for acting as a unified force when tackling last year’s client conferences and workshops, and many incredible Ripple social events!


Overall Awards

Sarah Fontaine was recognized as Rippler of the Year for going above and beyond to find new ways to make an impact on her team, CDMRP, and on Ripple Effect as a whole. In 2019, on top of the duties laid out in her job description, she supported countless recruiting and business development efforts, always with enthusiasm and an eye on how to improve processes.

Our NIAID Evaluation team won Ripple Team of the Year for consistently receiving excellent feedback from the client and commendations for their ability to push through difficult and changing circumstances, which ultimately secured another 5-year contract in a re-compete year! This incredible team consists of Asher Beckwitt, Alex Stone, Esther Lau, Todd Smith, Autumn Jones, Denise Schneck, and Kristen Adams.



Thanks to everyone who came to our Annual Awards this year, and we can’t wait to celebrate a new batch of Ripplers next year!




Work Smarter. Perform Better.®

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Ripple Effect Communications, Inc.®

9600 Blackwell Rd., Suite 210,
Rockville, MD 20850