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NIH Record vertical blue bar column separator Retirees graphic

NEI Budget Officer Fivozinsky Says Farewell

By Linda Huss

After 32 years of federal service, including 20 years at NIH, Carol Fivozinsky is retiring. For the past 11 years, she has been the NEI budget officer.

"I have always been proud to be an NIH employee because of its terrific mission — a place with a big heart," says Fivozinsky. "NIH looks out for not only the health of the American public, but also for the health of its employees. I've had a fulfilling career, and now it's time for me to enjoy the next chapter."

Budget officer at NEI since 1993, Fivozinsky applied her analytical and interpersonal skills to develop and execute the institute's budget. She developed, presented and managed NEI's appropriation each year that grew from $275 million in 1993 to over $650 million in 2004.

Carol Fivozinsky

"It was working with charts, spreadsheets and financial databases that I just loved," she says. She found them so absorbing she would lose track of time. Many nights, her husband would call her at 7 to find out when she was coming home. She often attributes her success to the "nicest and brightest" NEI staff. "Life on the 6th floor of Bldg. 31 has been appropriately compared to living in a village, complete with all the essential functions, and with neighbors that are always willing to help each other."

At Fivozinsky's retirement party, family, friends and co-workers gathered in her honor. NEI director Dr. Paul Sieving spoke about her energy and great contributions to NEI. Among his many tributes, he said, "Carol worked magic with the numbers; always staying within .01 percent of budget."

A native of Maryland, Fivozinsky earned her bachelor of arts degree in chemistry from Hood College in Frederick. Before graduating with convocation honors in 1972, she was offered a position as a chemist at NCI. Until 1975, she worked primarily in a containment laboratory studying enzyme markers in leukemia viruses.

In 1975, Fivozinsky made a career change. Her enthusiasm for numbers and her science background landed her a job as a budget analyst at the National Bureau of Standards, now the National Institute of Standards and Technology. During the next 4 years, Fivozinsky learned budget formulation and execution. The position made use of her science background to help justify spending money on the physical sciences.

For the next several years, Fivozinsky worked as a budget analyst at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Rockville and Washington, D.C., except for a 1-year detail assignment in 1984 to the Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget. In 1987, she returned to NIH to work in the central budget office in the Office of the Director.

About retiring, she said, "At times I feel I'm too young to do this, but more often like I'm at the 'casino of life.' I feel like I have won the jackpot when it comes to blessings like good health, a loving and wonderful family and a fulfilling career. It's time now to thank my lucky stars, and to take my 'winnings' and go home."

Fivozinsky says the next chapter will mean more time for her and more time with her family, including playing with the grandchildren. "It's time to enjoy my hobbies at a more leisurely pace," she says. Right after retirement, she will indulge in an Indian cooking class, sign up for a pottery class and get ready for a retirement celebration trip to Hawaii with her husband, Sherman. "My fantasy — just pack a bathing suit and flip flops." The two also will be taking their annual cross-country skiing trip in Montana, but this year it will include a few days in Yellowstone with a naturalist, observing wolves.

In addition, she plans to donate some time to the Children's Inn at NIH. "I've seen NIH from the bench, from the desk and now I want to be a part of how it helps the patient." Given how she likes to stay busy, Fivozinsky is considering part-time employment, but is cautious about not piling too much on her plate.

Among her honors are the NIH Director's Award in June 2000 and two NEI Director's Awards, in June 1998 and February 2004.

NEI Deputy Director Jack McLaughlin says, "Carol's energy, work ethic and commitment to public service have been an inspiration to our entire institute. What a dynamo!"

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