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NIGMS' Hodgkins Retires After 32 Years of Budget Service

By Susan Athey

G. Earl Hodgkins, NIGMS' long-time budget officer, recently retired after 32 years of government service, all of which were spent at the institute. He joined NIGMS right out of college in 1971. He quickly rose through the ranks from budget and fiscal clerk to budget analyst, and was named budget officer in 1979.

"I am proud to say that I chose Earl Hodgkins as the budget officer for NIGMS," said Dr. Ruth Kirschstein, senior advisor to the NIH director, who directed NIGMS from 1974 to 1993. "Over the years, he has proven to be among the most flexible, creative and effective 'budgeters' at NIH," she added, noting that Hodgkins was an "integral and splendid part of the NIGMS staff."

G. Earl Hodgkins
Martha Pine, NIGMS associate director for administration and operations, echoed Kirschstein's praise of Hodgkins: "Earl has been remarkable not only for being able to 'work magic' with the budget — ensuring that it has always been in perfect synch with the scientific activities and initiatives of NIGMS — but also for his exemplary contributions to the broader budget community. He always set an example as an enthusiastic mentor for junior staff and an active and committed participant in community efforts such as enhancing Data Warehouse; recruiting new budget staff; raising trans-NIH budget issues; and developing budget tools, models, and guidance that are broadly useful."

Hodgkins represented NIGMS as a member of numerous committees aimed at streamlining NIH's budget and grant reporting mechanisms. He was a member of the NIH data warehouse steering committee, the eRA project management team and the QVR steering committee. In addition, Hodgkins served on the administrative training committee, which is responsible for overseeing and running NIH's Presidential Management Intern (PMI) and Management Intern programs. For the past 10 years, Hodgkins has made it a point to host one intern a year in the NIGMS Budget Office.

Melissa Moore, a management analyst in the Clinical Center finance office, spent 4 months at NIGMS during her rotations as a PMI. She credits Hodgkins with solidifying her decision to pursue a career in budget.

"Earl's enthusiasm for the nuances of budget was contagious. He has the ability to make the numbers come alive by tying minute financial decisions to large programmatic outcomes. This passion and openness transcended the walls of the NIGMS budget office to the many relationships Earl has forged throughout the budget community and across the NIH campus. These qualities are what make Earl such an incredible leader, mentor and friend," Moore said.

Because of Hodgkins' extensive knowledge of federal budget operations, he was often tapped to lend his expertise to other NIH components. In 1989, he served as an advisor to the Office of Human Genome Research (now the National Human Genome Research Institute), and more recently he assisted in developing the first budget for the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

Among Hodgkins' honors are an NIH Merit Award and two NIH Director's Awards.

Hodgkins acknowledged that by spending his entire federal career at NIH, he was provided "many exciting opportunities and long-lasting friendships" — all of which will undoubtedly continue as he resumes working for NIH the day after his retirement is official. He will then become a consultant to the Center for Information Technology, where he will "work his magic" on enhancements to the NIH Data Warehouse and further development of the system's planned successor, nVision.

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