Country case manager develops relationships
July 16, 2012
NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. -- As the "Army's Face to the World," the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command's work force is the Army's single-most consistent contact with 145 nations around the world. Security assistance and foreign military sales are used to build partner capacity, but they are also about building relationships.
Beth Donato, country case manager for Macedonia, under USASAC's EUCOM Regional Directorate at New Cumberland, Pa., has received a certificate of appreciation from Macedonia.
She said she finds satisfaction in providing each customer the capabilities it needs and "making the customer happy."
"Each country is unique," Donato said. That means expectations, both business and cultural, have to be adjusted for each FMS case. As a country case manager, Donato's responsibilities include executing the Letter of Offer and Acceptance by managing requisitions, monitoring funds and transportation of materiel for the sale.
"FMS cases can consist of different types of funding (State Department, Section 1206 Train and Equip authority, Foreign Military Financing, or FMF), some are open for many years, and others need to be closed by certain fiscal years," Donato said.
Col. Todd Brown, U.S. Army defense attaché for Macedonia, recognized Donato for "outstanding support to the preparation and execution of the Case Management Review held in the Republic of Macedonia." She was also thanked for "increasing the knowledge of security assistance processes and directly contributing to the more effective use of resources."
Donato is a 20-year government employee who came to USASAC in 2003 and took over as CCM for Macedonia in 2010. In the world of FMS, Donato is a relative newcomer, who quickly picked up the workload and the relationship grew as Macedonia worked to improve its interoperability with NATO and allied forces.
However, "this was the first CMR ever done for Macedonia, and I think they did not realize how much they could benefit from the information," Donato said.
Much of the CMR focused on transportation and funding issues, to include what types of transportation could save the most money and how much excess funds remained on each case that Macedonia currently have open.
Donato credits USASAC country program manager Brian Steinberg, who was also recognized by Macedonia, and her team members Lourdes Jarin, a supply specialist, and Brad Nagy, a supply technician, for making the CMR and the relationship with Macedonia a success. But she is also quick to praise her contacts in Macedonia for creating the kind of two-way communication that security assistance and FMS is intended to promote.
"Lt. Col. Michael Tarquinto, security cooperation officer, and Katerina Tanovska, assistant, from the Office of Defense Cooperation-Macedonia, are great to work with and getting to meet them in person was another benefit of the CMR," Donato said.
Donato does cite the logistics of traveling to Macedonia as a challenge to having a CMR on-site there, but because the trip was part of CMRs for neighboring countries Kosovo and Montenegro, the visits allowed full one-day meetings with each country.
Donato's supervisor, Phyllis Pritchett, EUCOM branch chief A, attributes much of Donato's success with Macedonia to the fact that "she's a people person." Pritchett also cites that Donato can "juggle lots of things," which is a characteristic that is needed for handling not only Macedonia, but her other countries which include Greece, France and Bulgaria.
"But the best thing about Ms. Donato is that if she doesn't know something, she is not afraid to ask," Pritchett said. And with every country having unique needs, that can make a world of difference in developing relationships.