Distinguished Managerial Service Award

Recipients for 2011

Gary Durante, BSN

Department of Developmental Services

Gary has served for seven years as the Director of Health Services for the West Region of the Department of Developmental Services.  He is a seasoned clinician with an extensive direct care background, and has advanced to progressively more responsible positions throughout his 31-year career with the state.  Gary serves as a member, chair, or consultant to numerous committees that promote quality of care.  He has done tremendous outreach to the community, to foster understanding of individuals with developmental disabilities and to ensure timely, proper, and equitable services.  Gary continually strives for best practices from others and himself. His approach to staff is empathic, and he is respected as an exemplary leader and mentor.  Gary is the recipient of numerous awards for outstanding academic achievement, volunteer service to the community, and leadership within professional nursing organizations. 

David Howe, LCSW

Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services

David is the Director of Recovery and Consumer Affairs at Connecticut Valley Hospital within the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.  He manages patient advocacy, coordinates Recovery and Peer Support initiatives, and leads patient-staff collaborations and multiple community projects.  David is respected as a born leader and change agent who blends wonderful human values with prodigious intelligence and interpersonal effectiveness.  He was co-leader of an initiative to reduce the use of restraints and seclusion, and collaborated in developing a novel training modality to promote client-centered care of forensic patients.  David is an outstanding model for the respectful and empathic treatment of patients.  He has been instrumental in advancing dignity and restoring hope for CVH patients.  David is also an inspirational teacher who has motivated a cadre of university student volunteers who help patients transition to the community.   

Peggy Zabawar

Department of Administrative Services

Peggy is the Organizational Development Specialist for the Department of Administrative Services.  She oversees the DAS Learning Center, serving as both administrator and trainer.  Peggy was instrumental in developing the Aspiring Leaders program for seasoned managers.  She played a lead role in statewide Continuity of Operations Planning and coordinated the communication tools used by state agencies during emergency situations and during development of the 2010 statewide exercise.  Peggy assisted the Governor’s Office with administrative support for implementation of the Recovery Act including responding to public inquiries.  Peggy is tireless, thorough, enthusiastic, and highly intelligent.  She skillfully accomplishes whatever task is placed before her, and energizes others to achieve success.