U.S. Army employees were recognized at the Federal Executive Board's (FEB) 2016 Excellence in Federal Career Awards ceremony at Martin's West in Baltimore, May 5.
The award program honors outstanding federal employees who have performed exceptional and meritorious work and high standards of performance in the Federal government. Nominees were judged on their job competence, recognition and efforts towards self-development.
The one Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center team and seven individuals recognized were:
Outstanding Supervisor Award - Bronze award winner
Benjamin Foresta, CERDEC Space & Terrestrial Communications Directorate, or S&TCD, Tactical Radios Branch chief, was lauded for his leadership and excellence in cultivating a world-class team of engineers and scientists in his field of expertise. He and his team members provide capability insertion and feature enhancements to both fielded radio platforms and future Army waveforms. With his leadership and technical guidance, the Tactical Radios Branch supports the Army Program of Record radios including Handheld, Manpack & Small Form Fit, Mid-tier Networking Vehicular Radio, and Airborne, Maritime/Fixed Station.
Foresta is the key component in the close relationship the division enjoys internally, and externally with its customers, other government agencies, industry, and academia, said acting S&TCD Director Kim Ploskonka.
"His continued quest to deliver cutting edge military capabilities to support the U.S. Army inspired many he interfaces with to challenge themselves and embark on a unique and fulfilling career," Ploskonka added.
Outstanding Professional (Non-supervisory), Technical, Scientific and Program Support - Gold award winner
Paula Latorre, research chemical engineer in Command Power & Integration's Power Sources Branch, was recognized for her accomplishments in developing robust advanced lithium battery electrochemical systems that perform in harsh environments. Her use of various imaging technologies has developed techniques used to overcome barriers that have historically limited electrochemistry to low rate applications. Her work increased safety features, resulted in no loss of energy, met the Army goal for increased power and energy for man-portable electronic equipment, as well as resulted in two U.S. patent awards.
Latorre's extraordinary resourcefulness and ingenuity, from participating in the co-operative student program with the Power Division eight years ago, to her current status as a subject matter expert in the same division, her accomplishments have made a direct impact on the Army's goal to increase energy independence on the battlefield," said Corey Goetz, CP&I Power Division chief.
Outstanding Professional (Non-supervisory), Administrative, Management and Specialist - Bronze award winner
Michelle Fasulo, CP&I Resource Management Branch team lead, is currently responsible for all aspects of budget and contract management for the directorate, managing two resource management teams, consisting of 14 analysts and two contractor personnel combined, with an average yearly budget of about $123 million, providing continuous service to more than 300 personnel in outlying locations. Her deliberate planning throughout the year provided focused direction, oversight and guidance for the entire directorate, to include a revision of the Defense Travel System, as well as spearheading improved contract and financial execution reviews.
Fasulo's ability to lead, while managing complex budget and contract issues through the establishment of processes and procedures as executed by her teams, has ensured 100 percent obligations and disbursement accountability, said Michelle Maroney, CP&I Business Operations Division chief.
"Fasulo has built a sense of trust among her teams, leading by example, through caring and supporting them, thereby ensuring high-performance teamwork," Maroney added.
Outstanding Para-Professional (Non-supervisory), Technical, Scientific and Program Support - Bronze award winner
Glenn Huey, S&TCD telecommunications specialist, was recognized as a key person in several Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, also known as WIN-T, development and deployment projects, including a request from the 82nd Airborne Division to demonstrate new technologies through an Operation Need Statement. These technologies were demonstrated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, combining functions between the unit and the Cyber Battle Labs at Fort Gordon, Georgia. Working with other Program Manager WIN-T field engineers, Huey provided a successful demonstration, despite challenges including faulty equipment, to bring all systems on line.
Huey is sought by his leadership to provide senior level input to business functions, to include contract and budgetary actions, as well as personnel recruitment and placement, said George Brick, S&TCD Tactical Networking Branch chief.
"[Huey] is a critical link in the close relationship the Tactical Networks Branch enjoys with its customers," Brick said.
Outstanding Para-Professional (Non-supervisory), Technical, Scientific and Program Support Team - Bronze award winner
Independent Verification & Validation, or IV&V, Team Satellite Communications, or SATCOM Division. S&TCD team members Jeremy Buratt, Erik Dunn, Bruce Huggler, Tania Perciaccante and Mike Sleifer; Software Engineering Division team member Archie Kujawski; and Product Realization Directorate team member Steve Lenczuk, were recognized for leading critical initiatives for Wideband Control in support of the DOD, the Soldier, international partners and joint forces worldwide by providing various testing capabilities, engineering support, direct field support and technical knowledge to numerous real-world problems. Their thorough and detailed test reports identified critical concerns with current and future software initiatives, and directly resulted in numerous successful deployments to major software systems. The team interfaced with the end user in the field, on multiple occasions, to help resolve unforeseen complications that arose in sometimes chaotic operational environments.
The IV&V teams' efforts directly resulted in numerous successful deployments to subsystems within Wideband SATCOM Operations Center's operational environment, said Bebe Kovel, S&TCD SATCOM chief.
"Additionally, the team has been able to successfully engineer and test the Wideband SATCOM Operations Management System Net upgrade within a minimal timeframe, all while maintaining the currently taxed test schedule," Kovel said.
Outstanding Para-Professional (Non-supervisory), Administrative/Management Analyst - Bronze award winner
Michele Curry, S&TCD information technology specialist, was recognized for her initiative in working to anticipate workforce needs for computer assets after a potentially large classified information spillage, and prepare additional laptops and mobile phones to minimize downtime. She also served as an unofficial relationship manager during two simultaneous service provider support contract changes, consistently representing and voicing concerns and questions of not only CERDEC, but the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, or C4ISR, Campus. This support permitted the entire community to better understand the issues and impacts of software, hardware, patching and network issues, and permitted the community to respond with important recommendations of prioritization when necessary.
"[Curry] has shown a tremendous interest in advancing her leadership development by attending several leadership development series, [as well as] participated in CERDEC's Joint Leadership Program," said Michael Monteleone, S&TCD acting deputy director. "Her goal in these activities was to learn and employ different leadership views and identify and replicate how other leaders have achieved success."
Outstanding Administrative Assistant/Management Assistant - Bronze award winner
Karen Devins was nominated for her work in CP&I's front office as executive secretary, as well as throughout the entire directorate by using her personal initiative and determination in taking a leadership role regarding the coordination of Outside the Continental United States, or OCONUS, Temporary Duty packages. She demonstrated extraordinary resourcefulness, researching complex OCONUS policies and procedures, interacting with CERDEC Headquarters administrative personnel, and attending CERDEC/Deployment Manager training to then create a detailed training manual based upon a culmination of pertinent materials she had gathered and tailored to CP&I's needs.
Devins has the ability to quickly adapt to rapidly changing meeting priorities and situations, as well as a willingness to do whatever is necessary to get the job done, said CP&I deputy director John Soos.
"[Devins'] eagerness to personally engage with senior-level managers, employees and customers continues to inspire others, and supports a cooperative culture within CP&I," Soos added.
Rookie Employee of the Year Awards, Technical Scientific and Program Support - Silver award winner and Gold award finalist
CP&I electronics engineer John Tangradi was recognized for his work in preparing for and executing antenna testing during a GPS-denied testing event at Stallion Range at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico to support Product Director Position, Navigation and Timing, or PD PNT, requirements. Tangradi assisted the team in the PNT Division laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, testing under controlled conditions, to assess power requirements, and to perform a dry-run test that required extensive planning, preparation and coordination with various stakeholders.
Charles Miller, chief, Positioning, Navigation and Timing Division, noted that Tangradi also serves as a Delaware Air National Guard member as an avionics technician, as an E-5.
"Due in large part to his military service, Tangradi has displayed a level of confidence and maturity that is expected of senior engineers at this stage," said Miller.
This program is for permanent, career civilian employees (GS, WG & SES) of the Federal government. Non-appropriated fund and contractor personnel are not eligible. Military personnel may also be considered, except for Category 9, Distinguished Public Service Career, and Category 10a, b and c Rookie awards. Those nominated must be employed by a FEB member agency or installation in Maryland. Award winners (gold, silver or bronze) from the previous four years may not be re-nominated for the same award.