Power technicians recognized at conference
From left, Sgt. Donald Davidson, Staff Sgt. Don Grainger, Staff Sgt. Michael Dubowski, Mrs. Jennifer Burbage, Staff Sgt. Kirk Carlson, and Ms. Aurora Heathcoate, accepting awards at the 2nd annual PM MEP User Conference.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- For the first time, the Department of Defense Project Manager (PM) Mobile Electric Power (MEP) presented awards to military power technicians from each military branch to recognize the hard work and efforts of Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines using or maintaining power generation equipment on the battlefield.

The awards were presented at the second annual PM MEP Users' Conference, which was held from 22-23 April at Shades of Green, in Orlando, Fla. The conference was attended by military power technicians, government personnel and contractors, who are subject matter experts within the power community.

One goal of the conference was to inform service members on current technologies, development programs and production efforts providing equipment to power the battlefield. Another goal, was to obtain input from the power technicians based on their experience using the equipment in the field as a way to influence and shape future capabilities and programs PM MEP is developing to improve the DoD's power capability on the tactical battlefield.

The conference opened with an address from Maj. Gen. Nick Justice, the Program Executive Officer for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T).

"I would like to congratulate the award winners," said Justice. "Each and every one of you is absolutely required on the battlefield. You are required to keep those Warfighters ready to go any time, day or night - anyplace around the world. So, I congratulate you on the achievements that you made."

Project Manager (PM) Mobile Electric Power (MEP) supplies rugged small, medium and large tactical electric power sources for all Department of Defense component services. Generator sizes range from two kilowatts (kW) to 840 kW. PM MEP also provides its customers with operator and maintainer training, sustainment support, and power distribution systems for its power systems. In addition, they supply Environmental Control Units (ECUs), or rugged air conditioners for the Army, which range in size from nine thousand British Thermal Units per Hour (BTUH) to 60 thousand BTUH.

The awards were the result of PM MEP's desire to recognize the hard workers and power professionals in the field, said Mike Padden, the project manager for MEP. "I take pride in it," he said. "It's an honor and a privilege for me, to recognize the service's power professionals."

Staff Sgt. Don Grainger was chosen by PM MEP as the U.S. Army Power Technician and Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) of the Year for 2009. Grainger is a senior generator mechanic with C Battery, 2nd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery (ADA), 11th ADA Brigade. Among his accomplishments are implementing a generator maintenance plan to ensure 21 tactical 5 kilowatt (kW) to 15 kW generators remained operational during a recent deployment in Kuwait. His efforts to optimize the organization's power grid greatly enhanced the battalion's ability to accomplish its mission.

"This is really a great honor and a privilege to be the first one chosen," Grainger said. "Honestly, I couldn't be here without all the great Soldiers I had to work with. They helped me get through everything. Even the guys that weren't necessarily generator mechanics, they've been there to help out. So, I have to thank the whole team; it's not just me."

The United States Air Force selected Staff Sgt. Michael Dubowski of the 3rd Combat Communications Group as their Power Technician of the Year for 2009. His achievements include completing 33 Time Compliance Technical Order actions on PM MEP 806B and MEP 805B generators and ensuring all on-hand generators were upgraded with the proper auxiliary fuel modifications. Additionally, he discovered and remedied fuel sending unit malfunctions on eight MEP 806B generators
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"It's nice to be awarded the first PM MEP award," he said. "There's a little shock behind it. I'm just grateful for the fact that I was acknowledged. I appreciate the recognition for just doing my job."

Staff Sgt. Michael Burbage of the United States Marine Corps was chosen as its Power Technician of the Year. Currently forward deployed in support of his fellow Marines, he could not attend the award ceremony. Burbage helped develop, plan and establish the utilities support architecture for nine Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), encompassing 16,000 square miles from the ground up.

Sgt. Donald Davidson of the 43rd Sustainment Brigade was chosen as the U.S. Army Power Technician of 2009. Davidson was hailed as a quick study who has developed incredible knowledge of generator direct support maintenance, troubleshooting and repair, said Paul Richard, deputy project manager for MEP. As a result, Davidson was placed in charge of the unit's power generation shop, where he has overall responsibility for the readiness of the unit's equipment, as well as training users.

Petty Officer Juan Aragon, who is currently deployed, was selected as the U.S. Navy Prime Power Technician of the Year for 2009. He spearheaded the installation of a $5.89 million, 10.5 megawatt power plant supporting the USS George Washington and leading six technicians in the electrical modifications to two substations, ensuring their operational readiness prior to installation in a location Outside the Continental United States (OCONUS).

Staff Sgt Kirk Carlson of the 249th Engineer Battalion in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, was named the U.S. Army Prime Power Technician of the Year 2009. He is a prime power protection specialist for the Deployable Power Generation Distribution System (DPDGS). He was recognized for his outstanding prime power generation skills and knowledge, according to Richard.

Carlson said that winning this award will help him support his fellow Soldiers. "I have a better chance of mentoring my Soldiers and in helping develop them in their careers," he said.

Lt. Col. Gordon Wallace, PM MEP's Product Manager for Medium Power Sources, said being nominated was a good morale booster for a Soldier, regardless of whether they won.

"The Soldiers were recognized by their chain of command as being real go-getters, real top-notch guys and even the ones that didn't win the award were recognized, as well," he said. "I think it makes them work harder and makes their peers work harder. They see that recognition and you can't go wrong--it's a great opportunity."

Page last updated Wed July 1st, 2009 at 16:06