By Rachel Ponder, APG NewsJune 26, 2014
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Aberdeen Proving Ground Soldiers and civilians enhanced the installation's reputation as a center of excellence in technical as well as non-technical arenas during the annual Excellence in Federal Career awards presentations held in Baltimore in May.
Hosted by the Baltimore Federal Executive Board (FEB), the annual event, held during national Public Service Recognition Week, highlights extraordinary contributions made by service members and government civilians during the past year. Supervisors from federal agencies around the region submit nominations weeks in advance and a Blue Ribbon Panel of judges determine if the nominee's actions warrant bronze, silver or gold awards.
Of 228 total nominations, 100 APG personnel from 17 organizations brought home awards in 18 categories, garnering 54 bronze, 38 silver and 8 gold awards.
For more information about the Baltimore Federal Executive Board Excellence in Federal Career Awards, visit the Baltimore FEB website at http://www.baltimorefeb.us/.
FEB gold awardees
Gold awardees from APG included Andrew S. Kramer, Program Executive Office, Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (PEO IEW&S); James T. Lawson Jr., U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command's Army Evaluation Center (AEC); Craig B. Oppel, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense (MRICD); The Protective Under Garment/Protective Outer Garment Blast Test Team, ATEC's Aberdeen Test Center (ATC); Claudia J. Coleman, U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL); Kelly F. Keck, ATEC; Gary Gilde, ARL; and Dr. Juliana Ivancik, ATC.
Category 1A-Outstanding Supervisor GS13 and above
Andrew S. Kramer PEO IEW&S
As a supervisor, Kramer leads a cross-functional team of program/budget/cost analysts, acquisition management and operations specialists, security specialists, and human resource administrators to support a project management electronic warfare capability portfolio that spans across five product manager offices and executed a budget in excess of $150 million.
Kramer took the lead in quarterly reviews with higher headquarters and continuously synthesized budgetary data from the product offices in order to tell the cohesive story which allowed leadership insight into success and program challenges so that the right focus could be applied where necessary. He worked with headquarters staff and his team to identify a replacement process for an unmanageable organizational-wide contract action spreadsheet tracking system and identified a simple solution utilizing a database program that allows multiple organizations simultaneous access to meet the reporting needs of all interested stakeholders and the higher leadership chain. Kramer said he is honored to receive this award. He thanked his team for their dedication and efficiency.
"They are the very best team that any supervisor could ever desire," he said.
Kramer added that job satisfaction derives from knowing that he is helping to keep Soldiers safe.
"I feel my most important work is supporting the Army acquisition process [by] building and fielding Army electronic warfare and cyber weapon systems that are used by the outstanding men and women serving our Army, keeping our great nation free," he said.
Category 2A-Outstanding Professional (Non-Supervisory) Technical, Scientific and Program Support
James T. Lawson, Jr., AEC
Lawson is an electrical engineer from AEC, responsible for the evaluation of Army mission command and intelligence materiel throughout the acquisition process, including rapid initiative programs.
He expertly delivered the complex and challenging Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Electronic Warfare and Cyber Security Evaluations and worked closely with the program manager to ensure that a mitigation plan was developed for remaining vulnerabilities, and that follow-up testing was scheduled to test the effectiveness of the mitigations and to ensure new vulnerabilities were not introduced to the system. His commendable efforts with AEC's System Team and Integrated Product Team stakeholders has improved the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical capabilities.
(Lawson was unavailable for comment)
Category 3A Outstanding Paraprofessional (Non-Supervisory) Technical, Scientific and Program Support
Craig B. Oppel, MRICD
Oppel is a biological science laboratory technician for MRICD. Oppel's contributions have been remarkable in part due to his skill as a research technician, and have been distinguished beyond his equivalent-grade peers by his level of effort and commitment. He provided his team with innovative ideas which have transformed the way certain experiments are performed, and allowed higher quality data in conjunction with saving thousands of research dollars.
Oppel said he was very surprised and honored to receive a Gold FEB Award. He said there are several people he would like to thank.
"I have the privilege and honor to work with an extremely talented and dedicated group of fine individuals," Oppel said. "First, I need to thank Dr. John McDonough and Dr. Stephanie Miller-Smith for the opportunity to work on their team. Captain Jeffery Havens has worked long and hard to make people on our team receive the recognition they deserve. Mr. Joe McMonagle has my utmost respect for his behind the scene efforts, without which none of us would be able to conduct the business of science."
Oppel also thanked laboratory technicians Emily McFarland, Katelyn Black, Wafae Driwech, Kristen Winter and Jordan Lakin.
Category 3B-Outstanding Paraprofesional (Non-Supervisory) Technical, Scientific, and Program Support-Team
Protective Under Garment Team, ATC
The ATC Protective Under Garment/Protective Outer Garment Blast Test Team conducts blast overpressure and shock wave testing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to provide the Army with critical information to assure Soldiers are protected from harm. In addition to free field blast testing, the team conducts simulated blast waves through use of a shock tube. The shock tube provides one way to simulate blast waves in a more controlled and consistent environment. Blast overpressure is a significant concern for Army leaders as it is thought to be a contributor to Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). The six members of the PUG/POG blast team include Kathryn Francia, Mark McCormick, Daniel Cook, Brandon Hepner, George Zahn and Bryan Small.
Small said the team was honored to be recognized for their work.
"It was nice to see our hard work appreciated, but we always keep in mind the ultimate reward of knowing we directly supported servicemen and women," he said.
"All of the team members are highly motivated and driven individuals [and] everyone's dedication to teamwork and mission success has helped us accomplish difficult tasks in stringent timelines."
Category 4A-Outstanding Administrative Assistance/Management Assistant
Claudia J. Coleman, ARL
As an administrative officer for ARL's Weapons and Materials Research Directorate (WMRD), Coleman has demonstrated a high level of competence, mastering division administrative and operations functions that require interfacing across the organization.
Coleman readily accepted additional responsibilities associated with laboratory facilities and administrative space encompassing over 400,000 feet, performed organizational outreach, and fostered a cohesive administrative work team. She has distinguished herself as one of WMRD's "go-to" administrative officers for a myriad of administrative related issues and is often relied on by scientists and engineers because of her "can do" attitude and perseverance on tasks.
Coleman has a demonstrated history of successful office management, while providing innovative and efficient administrative solutions, customer service, and leadership to a team of administrative assistants and administrative support specialists. Coleman said she was surprised to receive the award.
"There were many outstanding nominees for this award and I was humbled to
have been selected from among them," she said.
She thanked her division management team for their continued support.
"[They provide] an environment that allows me to make forward progress to achieve my long term goals within the organization," she said.
Category 6-Workforce Diversity/Equal Employment Opportunity Service
Kelly F. Keck, ATEC
Kelly F. Keck, an Equal Employment Opportunity specialist from ATEC, received the FEB Gold Award posthumously.
Keck passed away March 13. His wife Oxana and father, Jack Keck accepted the award on his behalf.
Keck was the first Wounded Warrior intern to serve as an Equal Employment Opportunity specialist for ATEC. Originally hired under a provisional appointment in June 2010, he was later converted to career conditional in July 2010.
Keck was the victim advocate for Sexual Harassment/ Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) reporting throughout ATEC, successfully handling both informal and formal complaints.
ATEC EEO Director Dr. Victoria Dixon, who nominated Keck, said he always thought about others. She noted that he consistently went the extra mile by carefully reviewing complaints and providing people with expert advice and guidance.
"His efforts in this area saved the command countless resources since he strived to obtain resolution at the lowest possible level," Dixon said.
She added that Keck excelled in his profession because he cared about others.
"He never failed me when it came to helping others," Dixon said.
Category 9-Distinguished Public Service Career
Gary Gilde, ARL
Gilde served as a premier ceramic process engineer in the Army for over two decades. During his career at ARL, Gilde spearheaded efforts to improve and scale up the synthesis and processing of spinel-based ceramic powder and resulting ceramic armor components. He is recognized for his exceptional management skills as demonstrated by his key programmatic leadership of an Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Industrial Base Innovation Fund (IBIF) manufacturing development program to economically polish very large curved transparent spinel ceramics for armor windows.
Throughout his career, Gilde worked tirelessly to mentor numerous students from multiple universities and colleges. His dedication and thirst for knowledge always exceeded the normal job expectations.
(Gilde was unavailable for comment)
Category 10B-Rookie Employee of the Year Technical Scientific and Program Support
Dr. Juliana Ivancik, ATC
Ivancik is a materials engineer at ATEC's Aberdeen Test Center. Since starting at ATC in January 2013, Ivancik has performed ballistic testing and evaluation of different types of Soldier body armor to include helmets, hard armor plates and soft armor. Her current research emphasis is to perform a comprehensive assessment of the Roma Plastilina #1 clay currently being used to simulate the human body for ballistic testing purposes and to develop alternative simulant clay for future body armor testing.
"The best thing about my job is knowing that my efforts will help ensure that only the finest body armor are available to our Soldiers in the field," Ivancik said.
She thanked coworkers Gerhard Grimm, Dan Terek, Richard Delgado and Louise Spangler for their support.