Photo Credit: Kenneth Kesner, The Huntsville Times
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Lars Ericsson, a 14-year veteran of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Project Office on Redstone Arsenal, has been named the 2011 Department of the Army Civilian of the Year by the Redstone-Huntsville Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army. He will represent the local chapter in contention for AUSA's Third Region Civilian of the Year title and, possibly, the national award. Ericsson said that as he was on stage at the Von Braun Center Tuesday night to receive the honor, he noticed there was an Appomattox 1865 battle ribbon on the Army flag behind the podium. "Battle ribbons are still being put on that flag in the United States Army," he said. "We have the privilege to work for a great organization that gives us the opportunity to take on this great mission, to try to do great things for those young men and women who choose to wear that uniform. ... "Any day that we have the opportunity to provide them with new gear, or improved gear so they can do what they do and they can come home to their families, we're doing great work," Ericsson said. Sixteen men and women were nominated by colleagues in their commands or agencies for the 2010 Civilian of the Year awards in three categories, said Jerry Hamilton, AUSA event coordinator. About 350 colleagues, friends and family were at the Von Braun Center Tuesday night for the banquet and ceremony. Ericsson, the chief technologist and lead architect in the UAS Project Office, Program Executive Office, Aviation, was also the honoree in the Executive/Management category. He leads a team of about 30 scientists and engineers with current financial responsibility of more than $100 million, according to the information sent with his nomination. "Mr. Ericsson has an innate ability to create an environment for success, and guides his programs with a steady hand," according to the nomination letter. In the Professional/Technical category, the DA Civilian of the Year honoree is Dana Osborne, chief, UAS Resource Center, program integrator and acting chief, Operations Branch, also in the UAS Project Office. In fact, according to her nomination, she holds three positions and three different sets of responsibilities in the UAS Project Office. "People are usually more easily led than driven. This is simply not the case for Ms. Dana Osborne, who for the past 19 years of her Department of the Army Civilian career has earned the recognition of her leaders, peers and subordinates for her endless drive ..." reads part of her nomination. In the Support/Staff category, Elizabeth Blackmon, a protocol specialist in the Protocol Office of the Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command, is the honoree. "Ms. Blackmon's dedication to duty and eagerness to go the extra mile are greatly responsible for the success and stability of operations during the planning and execution of very important events," according to her nomination.
Photo taken by Bob Gathany, The Huntsville Times.