By Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A man from western Pennsylvania won a national contest – and the prize was meeting President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.

Matthew Ritsko, a financial manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, was one of four finalists among 20,000 entries in a contest among federal workers to propose ways to save tax dollars.

In an online conference call last fall, Ritsko, a 28-year-old Penn State graduate from near Brownsville, told the President his idea to create a tool library for space projects so NASA wouldn’t have to buy the same tools over again.

“It’s like using a tool shed,” he said. “Everyone has one at their house, and everyone has a tool box. When you need a hammer, you go, you use your hammer, and you bring it back.”

“It’s a great idea,” Obama said. “I don’t know why we didn’t think of it before.”

It was such a good idea that the public voted online to make Ritsko the winner of the 2011 SAVE award which led to his face-to-face with the President on Monday.

Ritsko hopes it will save $2 million to $3 million tax dollars.

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