REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- During a quarterly town hall recognizing numerous employees, the executive director of the Army Contracting Command-Redstone had nothing but praise for the commitment and dedication of the contracting center's employees.

"You are all winners," said ACC-Redstone's Rebecca Weirick at the Aug. 23 town hall at Redstone Arsenal's Bob Jones Auditorium. "You are all doing a great job and we want to recognize you. Your leadership really appreciates all you've done."

With her team going in the right direction with efficiencies and quickness built into the contracting process, Weirick addressed the intent behind the "Operationalizing Contracting" concept expressed by the Army Materiel Command's Gen. Gus Perna to AMC's major subordinate commands.

"This has been his drumbeat," Weirick said. "He wants to operationalize AMC, operationalize the Aviation and Missile Command and operationalize contracting."

Weirick explained that operationalizing ACC-Redstone involves connecting what each employee does to the warfighter.

"Why do we buy Black Hawks? So that we can move people in the Army. So we can medically evacuate people in emergencies," Weirick said.

"As contracting employees, we are not just sitting at a computer buying equipment. We are equipping warfighters. We are buying services and supplies to equip our Army."

What ACC-Redstone employees do is less about money and contracting actions, and more about "what we provide to the Soldiers every single day," she said. "We are buying things we can put in Soldiers hands that can defeat the enemy."

Reducing costs and increasing efficiencies to speed up the contracting process remain essential because "we can buy more success, we can put more equipment in our Soldiers hands if we can save money in negotiating," Weirick said.

ACC-Redstone leadership recognizes that increases in funding coupled with tight deadlines, particularly at the end of the fiscal year, can create a burden for contracting employees who must obligate those dollars quickly.

"We are spending these dollars to get equipment into our Soldiers' hands faster," she said.

Additional contracting employees will soon be added to the ACC-Redstone workforce, Weirick said. About 20 new ACC-Redstone intern employees are now involved in the Green Platoon, a program designed to quickly train new employees.

"It's about speed to experience in negotiating basics and then they will advance. We are providing world class training to our interns," Weirick said.

"My vision is three years to turn these interns into contracting officers. That is very aggressive."

Weirick also encouraged all employees to deliberately plan their own professional development.

"Develop the path to reach your goals," she said. "Whatever you want, you can reach your professional goals and we're going to help you with that. Your performance plans are about your goals and your careers, and how willing you are to reach those goals."

Employees who seek out assignments that provide them with experience, and that challenge them to expand their knowledge and skill will build a path toward promotion, she said.

As a young Air Force officer, Weirick aspired to climb the ranks to general officer, and she was on the track to reach that goal. But family considerations led her to change her goal. Eventually, she left the Air Force, became a government civilian and took on job responsibilities that have led to her current leadership role.

"Every October I sit down and think about where I want to go," she said. "I have a conversation with my husband, and we make plans. Here at ACC-Redstone, we are having conversations with supervisors so we as a center can help you reach your goals. Those goals may change over time, but that's okay."

Other matters discussed at the town hall included teleworking, performance awards, the establishment of the Employee Advisory Council, security and safety.

ACC-Redstone deputy executive director John Mayes reviewed recent reorganizations for the contracting center, saying the "realignments position ourselves as an organization to better support our customers."

The realignment shifts employees and resources to better respond to increases in the contracting workload and the focus on better service delivery.

In a presentation on "cool jobs" at ACC-Redstone, Neisha Mendiola of CAMO (Contracting and Acquisition Management Office) talked about the 18 contracts managed by the CAMO office in support of the Space and Missile Defense Command, and the hardware and software systems being developed through those contracts.

"No matter what you do, no matter how cool it is, what really matters are the people you do the work with and the people we have at CAMO do great things," Mendiola said.

Awards were presented to the following employees and employee teams:

Quarterly Awards -- Supervisor: Carol Pendergrass; Soldier: Capt. Jeffery Sullivan, Aviation; Intern: Kristine Mackey, CAMO; Support Person: Steven Taylor, Mission Support; Innovation Award: Kuwait Patriot Fire Unit Definitization Team (Janet Guyette, John Kirkwood, Carol Pendergrass, Aaron Runne and Christy Tallant); Contracting Officer: Emily Crittenden, Aviation; Contracting Specialist/Analyst: Joshua Flinn, Aviation; Team: Blackhawk Multi-Year IX Team (Jennifer Corley, Emily Crittenden, Joshua Flinn, Melanie Howard, James Owens and Jewan Sheehy).

Superior Civilian Service Award -- Angela Sims, Melissa Mitchell, Randy McGee and Emily Crittenden.
Commander's Award for Civilian Service -- Jennifer Coley, Diane Couch, Haleigh Dobbs, Joshua Flinn, Neisha Mendiola, James Owens and Queen Wilson.

Commander's Award for Civilian Service presented by the Fixed Wing Project Office -- Laquita Mox and Elaine Cameron.

Certificate of Achievement -- Netausha Stoudmire.

Letters of Appreciation -- PAC-3 Team: Rebecca Snyder, Emily Bowers, Bridget Stumbaugh, Derek Nabity, Geordelle Charles, Rebecca Guerin and Karen Rivera; Source Selection Center of Excellence: Carole Greene, Sarah Shaffer, Emeterio Hernandez, Deisy D'Ambrosio; Senior Service College Fellowship Program: Cheryl Hickman; CCAM-LTB Team: Colin Warman, Jarvis Mose, Jamelia Anderson, Johnnie Irby, Evelyn Harris and Gray Rider; CCAM--PA-A and CCAM-PR-A Teams: Chad Kuipers, Pat Beumer, Janet Guyette, John Kirkwood, Aaron Runne and Christy Tallant.
Service Awards �-- 40 Years: Clarence Daniels and Ronald Dugger; and 30 Years: Patricia Adams, Malissa Blake, Carole Green, Benetta Halbert, Julia Kidd and Steven Young.
Executive Director Coins -- Earl Adams and Angela Williams.