Retirement ceremony for CBP leader held at CBP Headquarters
U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection leaders past and present came together Wednesday to celebrate the remarkable career of former CBP Acting Commissioner Thomas S. Winkowski upon his retirement after nearly 40 years of dedicated government service.
DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson presided over the ceremony held at CBP Headquarters in the Ronald Reagan Building, Washington, D.C. Also attending were DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, CBP Deputy Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan; Former CBP Commissioners Carol Hallet, W. Ralph Basham and Alan D. Bersin, and Former CBP Acting Commissioner David V. Aguilar. Mr. Winkowski’s wife, Teresa and their son, Alex, also attended.
“Today, we celebrate a remarkable leader and the remarkable career of a dedicated public servant,” said CBP Commissioner Kerlikowske during his remarks. “Along the way, he made a powerful impression on so many colleagues – his superiors as well as those he supervised. His contributions during his years of executive leadership and his vision helped CBP achieve its status today as one of the world’s premier law enforcement agencies.”
Mr. Winkowski, joined the U.S. Customs Service in 1975 as a cooperative education student. Upon graduating from Boston's Northeastern University in 1978, he was assigned to Los Angeles where he became a customs patrol officer and a customs inspector.
Mr. Winkowski served as the Director of Field Operations in Miami from 2002 to 2007, as well as Port Director in Miami and the Los Angeles International Airport.
As Acting Commissioner, Mr. Winkowski oversaw the daily operations of CBP's 60,000-employee workforce. He also served as Assistant Commissioner in CBP's Office of Field Operations where he managed the agency’s largest division. Mr. Winkowski’s service has been recognized by multiple presidents and administrations, receiving the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award from President George W. Bush in 2004 and the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award from President Barack Obama in 2009,
In his remarks, Mr. Winkowski said it was CBP’s employees that he will miss the most.
“I will think about CBP and the great people that work here every day,” he said. “It’s in my blood.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.