By Ryan Mattox, Mission and Installation Contracting Command Public Affairs OfficeMarch 26, 2014
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (March 26, 2014) -- She began her career in 1974 as a clerk typist for the Army Corps of Engineers, but after more than 40 years on the job, one of the command's most experienced acquisition professionals retires April 3.
Deborah Ramirez has served as the Army Contracting Command and Mission and Installation Contracting Command liaison to Training and Doctrine Command for more than 10 years. Her steadfast work with TRADOC has been instrumental in improving TRADOC's contracting and contract management process, creating efficiencies and enhancing mission accomplishment.
Prior to joining the acquisition field, Ramirez worked in various clerical positions with the Missile Command and NASA until hired in a permanent position in 1976. After seeking higher education and professional development opportunities, Ramirez successfully transitioned from the clerical field into the 1102 career series after receiving a Bachelor of Business Administration and Accounting from the University of Alabama, Huntsville, through the Cooperative Education Program in 1984. Subsequently, she earned a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College in 2001, and graduated with honors with a Master of public administration in 2002. Ramirez is also a graduate of the Defense Leadership and Management Program and a member of the Army Acquisition Corps.
"She has established herself as an honest broker and maintains an open line of communications with the TRADOC senior leadership and requiring activities," said Sue Gonser, the MICC-Fort Eustis deputy director. "Building upon the positive relationships, Deborah has continually sought to synchronize the contracting mission and strengthen the partnership between the ACC, MICC and TRADOC headquarters staff and requiring activities."
Gonser points to the stand-up of the ACC Community of Practice for the five liaison/contract support element teams assigned to ACC and MICC as one of Ramirez's major contributions
The deputy director said it has been a pleasure knowing Ramirez personally and working with her professionally.
"Her retirement, while a joyous occasion for her, is a major loss to TRADOC and the Mission Installation Contracting Command," Gonser said.
Ramirez has previously served as a division chief with the Army Contracting Agency Information Technology, E-Commerce and Commercial Contracting Center, supporting the Program Executive Office-Enterprise Information Systems; managed the Mass Transportation Program outside the National Capitol Region for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management, Resource Analysis and Business Practices; was a procurement analyst and adviser to the Army G-4, Logistics Integration Agency; contract specialist for PEO Fire Support; and a cost and price analyst at the Army's Strategic Defense Command and Missile Command in Huntsville after entering the 1102 career field.
Of all the assignments Ramirez has served, her most memorable came when she was stationed at the Pentagon.
On the day the plane crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11, Ramirez had taken leave that day to work on a research paper at the Army War College library in Carlisle, Pa.
Even though she was not at the Pentagon that day, her plant, with a single stem about 8 to 9 inches tall, was there.
"When I returned to the building, it was drooping and pitiful looking," Ramirez said. "Fortunately, my office had no significant damage, only a heavy infusion of smoke. The plant has stayed with me and occupied my office ever since. The plant is special to me and serves as my reminder of the sacrifices made by so many and as a symbol of Army values."
The plant is a Sansevieria trifasciata, also called a mother-in-law's tongue. It is easy to grow, hard to kill and, it is said, that it helps to purify the air when grown indoors as a houseplant, according to Ramirez.
Ramirez admits she's ready to retire, but that she'll miss the opportunity of working with people.
"I will miss the opportunity to communicate, corroborate and collaborate with professionals - those people who come to work each day with a positive attitude, take responsibility for their actions, and who seek opportunities to make a difference," she said.
Short-term retirement plans include escaping the harsh winter conditions of the Northeast to warmer climes in the south with her husband, Mike. They are planning to travel and enjoy spending time with family and friends in retirement. They also have a 41-foot sailboat that they are renovating for cruising and adventuring down the Intracoastal Waterway.