2015 Awards

2015 USD(AT&L) Defense Acquisition Workforce Achievement and Development Award Winners

The Defense Acquisition Workforce Individual Achievement and Workforce Development Awards highlight premiere examples of individual excellence and outstanding organizational workforce quality initiatives. Photos and accomplishments of the winners will be on display for one year in the Pentagon Defense Acquisition Workforce Wall of Recognition display.

2015 Photo Gallery

Individual Awards

Rowdy Yates Portrait

Major Rowdy Yates
U.S. Air Force

Major Rowdy Yates, Foreign Military Sales Section Chief, Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, equipped the Afghan National Security Forces with mission-critical systems through the programming, acquisition, delivery and management of 1.6 billion dollars in defense equipment, services, and training in support of 315,000 Afghan Forces. His actions resulted in a 5-fold increase in Afghan Forces’ readiness. He also led the USAF 2.9 billion dollars Global Positioning System Block IIF satellite program, delivering 5 spacecraft to operations in only 13 months, modernizing the 31-satellite constellation accuracy and reliability for expeditionary forces with over 2 billion users worldwide. Major Yates accomplishments reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Air Force.

Peter Herman Portrait

Mr. Peter Herman
Defense Contract
Audit Agency

The 2015 Defense Acquisition Workforce Individual Achievement Award is awarded to Mr. Peter Herman, Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) Technical Specialist, Defense Contract Audit Agency, was instrumental in the evaluation of CAS compliance for a multi-billion dollar business unit that was spun-off as a stand-alone company. He was also the key DCAA focal point in supporting the Corporate Administrative Contracting Officer and DCMA legal counsel on similar CAS issues resulting in the recovery of over 16.9 million dollars through audit efforts and negotiation support to settle outstanding CAS issues. Mr. Herman continues to do what is necessary to accomplish the mission and protect the taxpayer’s interest.

Ryan Connell Portrait

Mr. Ryan Connell
Defense Contract
Management Agency

Mr. Ryan Connell’s work personified highly exemplary and inspirational performance. His contribution to the Acquisition mission cannot be overstated. He is the epitome of the Defense Contract Management Agency’s core values: integrity, service, and excellence. As an Integrated Cost Analysis Team Pricing Lead, Mr. Connell, led 8 pricers in over 140 pricing actions in support of 27 major buying commands and customers on 46 major acquisition programs. He also led proposal reviews totaling 2.6 billion dollars and provided sustained savings of 231 million dollars; an 8.8% reduction.

James Kirsch Portrait

Dr. James C. Kirsch
U.S. Army

Dr. James C. Kirsch provided outstanding support to the U.S. Army’s Joint Attack Munitions Systems, specifically the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile. As the Chief Engineer, Dr. Kirsch demonstrated expertise and leadership in successfully managing the technical efforts of the 4.6 billion dollar Acquisition Category ID program. His tireless support of the program and ability to identify and implement technology insertions achieved significant savings that led to extraordinary cost and schedule efficiencies as he shepherded the program through a lengthy and tumultuous Technology Development phase and postured it for a highly successful Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase.

First Lieutenant Rodríguezpeña Portrait

First Lieutenant

U.S. Air Force

First Lieutenant Rodríguezpeña distinguished himself by providing outstanding support as a Facilities Engineer, 4th Space Launch Squadron, 30th Space Wing, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Lieutenant Rodríguezpeña led 49 maintenance actions across 11 facilities supporting the Warfighter mission by successfully securing 3 National Security Space assets valued at 6 million dollars. He led an 8-month, 2.2 million dollar power upgrade to the Western Range Remote Launch Control Center, cutting 59 thousand dollars per year in maintenance costs and boosting system reliability by 60%. Additionally, he modernized the environmental control system saving an additional 29 thousand dollars in power consumption cost.

John Carlson Portrait

Mr. John R. Carlson
U.S. Air Force

Mr. John R. Carlson, Chief, Program Control Division, Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Systems Directorate, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Air Force Materiel Command, shepherded the organization through massive institutional change focused on financial requirements generation, execution, data driven decision support, risk-based resource allocation, and innovative Will/Should Cost approaches that have avoided unnecessary costs and saved the Air Force billions of dollars. Mr. Carlson’s work resulted in 7,000 hours in manpower savings, perfect execution of 1 billion dollars in annual funding, receipt of 145 billion dollars in year-end funding, 1.19 billion dollars in realized Should Cost savings and establishment of decision support tools now benchmarked throughout the AF community.

Rodney Felder Portrait

Mr. Rodney D. Felder
Missile Defense Agency

Mr. Rodney D. Felder, Chief, Central Property Office for the Missile Defense Agency is accountable for 170,000 assets valued at 14 billion dollars. Mr. Felder’s leadership, professionalism and unparalleled technical excellence in the challenging field of defense property management were the driving forces behind the Missile Defense Agency successfully resolving identified weakness in the areas of property accountability. Mr. Felder directly manages a team of 27 government and contractor employees and oversees 120 other personnel across 15 programs. Mr. Felder spearheaded the department of intra-Agency training programs, and was able to develop a highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce who has achieved extraordinary results.

Ryan Atkinson Portrait

Captain Ryan Atkinson
U.S. Air Force

Captain Atkinson, Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Nuclear Command, Control Communications Program Manager, expertly defined requirements, secured funding and awarded multiple contracts valued over 12 million dollars ensuring the continued operational availability of Strategic Automated Command Control System, the secure, terrestrial Nuclear Command, Control and Communication system linking the National Command Authority with Air Force nuclear forces. He also tackled the organization’s complex operations and sustainment structure by energizing robust communication forums between his Material Leader and multiple Squadron Commanders, Major Commands, and Headquarters Air Force.

Everett Smith Portrait

Mr. Everett F. Smith
U.S. Army

Mr. Everett F. Smith, Logistics Management Specialist for the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Project Office, was instrumental in providing logistical, technical, and operational support to the Army Special Forces Command. Mr. Smith ensured operational readiness rates in excess of 95% and was instrumental in assisting deployed commanders in unmanned aircraft systems retrograde planning. During the time of downsizing and redeployment operations that impacted the Army’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Office, Mr. Smith provided key input that helped leadership understand employment and support considerations while helping to transform supply chair operations and logistical support, leading to “End of Mission” operations in theater.

Marsha Barron Portrait

Ms. Marsha Barron
Defense Logistics Agency

Marsha Barron’s hard work and many achievements have far reaching impacts for DLA and military customers. As a Supervisory Quality Assurance Specialist at Defense Logistics Agency she ensured that all military customers receive quality parts from only approved sources, and that non-compliant material is promptly reviewed and disposed of properly and efficiently to keep DLA’s pipeline free of defective/fraudulent material. Her proven expertise and ability to act decisively when problems arrive have saved DLA customers countless hours of productivity and countless dollars that would have been lost to fraudulent or non-compliant material.

Laura Price Portrait

Ms. Laura Price
U.S. Air Force

Ms. Laura M. Price distinguished herself in program management as the Security Assistance Program Manager for Light Air Support, U.S. Air Force. She skillfully executed the 1 billion dollar Light Air Support program, an important component to the President of United States’ Afghanistan exit strategy. Her creative thinking guided Light Air Support through the airworthiness process, achieving the first ever Military Type Certification for a non-US Air Force aircraft. Ms. Price overcame numerous challenges to posture the program to meet its critical initial operating capability in Afghanistan. Ms. Price is an extraordinary leader, bringing coherence to a multi-lingual and multi-cultural team.

Scott Wilson Portrait

Commander Scott Wilson
U.S. Navy

Commander Scott Wilson, Aviation Strike Weapons Section Head to the Director, Air Warfare Division of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, was the central force in identifying and managing risk across 52 acquisition programs. His dynamic leadership and professional acumen in developing requirements supporting a Long Range Anti-Ship Missile capability were instrumental in developing a materiel solution to address U.S. Pacific Command’s number one capability gap in the maritime domain. Commander Wilson was responsible for shepherding multiple Joint/Naval Aviation weapons programs through the requirements review processes. Specifically, he achieved validation from the Joint Requirements Oversight Council of the 1.5 billion dollar Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare Increment 1 program, a critical Joint/Navy solution to a long-standing identified Fleet capability gap.

David Hone Portrait

Dr. David M. Hone
Defense Threat
Reduction Agency

Dr. David M. Hone, Chief, Pretreatments Branch, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, demonstrated exceptional foresight and resolve to identify and advance a countermeasure to fight a biological threat agent in response to an Executive Branch call for an Ebola virus vaccine culminating in early availability of a safe investigational vaccine for administration to healthcare workers in West Africa. Dr. Hone’s branch identified “BPSC1001” vaccine as an Ebola medical countermeasure and championed increased investments as the lead candidate. BPSC1001 is now on course to becoming the world’s first effective vaccine against Ebola. Dr. Hone’s coordination of developmental testing, regulatory requirements, and funding to advance the development of the vaccine were nothing short of heroic.

Emilio Varcarcel Portrait

Mr. Emilio Varcarcel
U.S. Air Force

Mr. Emilio Varacarcel, Chief Engineering, Professional, and Administrative Support Services Program Office, led a large customer base including 9 diverse PEO portfolios, through implementation of a novel 5 billion dollar Advisory and Acquisition Support Services acquisition strategy geared to support the entire AFLCMC Enterprise. Mr. Varcarcel also led a comprehensive business case analysis resulting in a projected 12.5 million dollars in contract development cost savings and reduced the overall program implementation timeline by over a year. Though his leadership he negotiated an extraordinary 0.1% contract access fee with GSA leadership, down from the historic fee of 2-10%. This negotiation equated to over 1 million dollars in annual savings.

Douglas Packard Portrait

Mr. Douglas Packard
Defense Information
Systems Agency

Mr. Packard, Procurement Services Executive, Defense Information Systems Agency, led a team of 450 contracting professionals in awarding 1.67 billion dollars to small businesses, achieving a remarkable 33.38% small business rate, 12% above the DoD goal. He built a culture strongly advocating small businesses and increased awards by 300 million dollars and participation by 2% above the prior year. Mr. Packard provided tools and advice to requirements managers and contracting staff alike, building confidence in small business capabilities and plotting out executable strategies. Mr. Packard led his team to achieve 6 all-time Agency small business records. His hard work continues to pay off with a trajectory for even better performance in FY16.

Anastasia Dimitriu Portrait

Ms. Anastasia Dimitriu
U.S. Navy

Ms. Anastasia Dimitriu’s superior leadership and technical expertise have significantly progressed the acquisition development cycle of 2 highly-visible, critical to the Navy, ACAT IA MAIS programs, the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services and Distributed Common Ground System. Ms. Dimitriu overcame numerous technical, schedule and facilitation challenges to lead the successful completion of test objectives that provided key data on system technical maturity in support of critical fielding and acquisition decisions by the Milestone Decision authorities. As Lead Test and Evaluation Engineer, she ensured T&E rigor and best practices were incorporated into the development of the test procedures and execution of the overall tests, resulting in a comprehensive, historical testing strategy.

Group Awards

Gold Winner - Large Organization Category

Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Pacific

San Diego, California - The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Pacific (SSC Pacific) has made exemplary progress in the development of their workforce. SSC Pacific has demonstrated commitment to conducting community outreach that establishes and maintains relationships across diverse local area communities by participating in career fairs, science and math nights, Lego League robotics tournaments, and robotics mentoring. In addition to outreach, SSC Pacific continues to expand its New Professionals Program hiring 60 to 100 new professionals to build technical expertise and support future Science and Technology capabilities. Through a multitude of programs, processes, and focused integrated process teams, SPAWAR, Pacific demonstrates an active commitment to workforce development.

Gold Small - Large Organization Category

United States Special Operations Command Special Operations Forces, Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics

MacDill Air Force Base, Florida - Special Operations Forces Acquisition, Technology, Logistics (SOF-AT&L), United States Special Operations Command, has demonstrated outstanding commitment, innovation, and results to develop and support the success of its workforce. SOF-AT&L utilizes various opportunities to recruit high-caliber individuals from a number of resources into civil service careers. This practice enables SOF-AT&L to hire and train interns and journeyman to replace anticipated vacancies within SOF-AT&L’s acquisition workforce due to natural attrition. SOF AT&L rotates interns on a pre-planned basis to ensure a wide breadth of training, experience, and exposure. SOF-AT&L continuously meets needs of our SOF by expeditiously delivering the right capability to enable them to successfully execute their critical, often time-sensitive, missions worldwide.

Silver Winner - Large Organization Category

Missile Defense Agency

Fort Belvoir, Virginia - The Missile Defense Agency engaged approximately 8,321 students, parents, and adults through Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) outreach events and conducted face-to-face recruitment activities at 16 targeted higher education institutions across the United States. Over the past year, MDA implemented new initiatives in its Career Development Program that focus on knowledge sharing, continuous improvement, learning, and retention. MDA also implemented a peer-to-peer mentoring program, pairing new employees with recent graduates from the program to exchange information, offer guidance, and share experiences. MDA also partnered with the Defense Acquisition University and Naval Post Graduate School to build a long-term training program focused on key leadership development and strengthening organic engineering competencies.

Silver Winner - Small Organization Category

Air Force Sustainment Center - Engineering and Technical Management

Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma - Air Force Engineering and Technical Management Directorate (AFSC/EN) focused on recruiting and developing and retaining their scientific and engineering workforce to meet current and future challenges. AFSC/EN established standards and objectives to attract and hire highly qualified personnel, developing a standardized recruitment incentive placing emphasis on STEM. AFSC/EN implemented processes to increase job satisfaction and effectively manage resources by developing a mentoring program and paying close attention to resignation/retention information. AFSC/EN strives to develop a workforce who has the knowledge and experience to carry them successfully into the future by developing competency management taxonomy, implementing resource boards focusing on key positions and succession planning, ensuring the workforce is certified, and providing critical functional training.

Bronze Winner - Small Organization Category

Program Executive Office, Enterprise Information Systems Sea Warrior Program

Arlington, Virginia - The Sea Warrior Program (PMW 240) demonstrated inspirational leadership in professional development of acquisition workforce members. The program cultivated a culture of open communication, empowerment, and innovation. PMW 240 has made tremendous investments in their workforce by way of professional development, training, and recognition that is directly linked to extensive program success and delivering products on time and frequently at significant cost savings. PMW 240 exemplifies Navy’s Total Force Vision for the 21st Century by developing and honing the skills of its workforce allowing the program to continuously identify, evaluate and link critical knowledge, skills, and abilities to meet current and future mission requirements.