REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Two Army Contracting Command attorneys have been honored by the U.S. Army Materiel Command.

Katie MacKenzie received the 2018 Frank J. Buckley Award for Managerial Excellence and Erika McPherson collected the 2018 Kathryn T. Szymanski AMC Editor's Award. The awards were presented by Brian E. Toland, the AMC command counsel.

MacKenzie is the chief of ACC's business law branch. According to her nomination, the branch reached "its highest level of performance in ACC history, consistently providing second-to-none legal advice to commanders and staff on legal issues involving all aspects of contract law, fiscal law and procurement fraud."

McPherson is the focal point for the preventative law program with an emphasis on government ethics and federal labor and employment issues.

McPherson said she was "pleasantly surprised" when her name was announced because she knew the competition was steep. She has always been interested in preventative law--getting things correct legally and helping people understand the legal process.

"The legal process can be stressful for people so the more we can teach them, the more they understand," she said. "The more people understand, the less stress they feel."

MacKenzie credits her success on lessons learned from "some outstanding leaders." She said she is fortunate to work with a team that is willing to give her constructive feedback.

"We spend more time with the people we work with than we do our own families so I am always trying to create an environment where people want to work--including me," MacKenzie said. "I try to encourage a collaborative environment where employees challenge each other to come up with the best solutions for the client."

She encourages feedback and said that feedback has been invaluable in making her a better manager.

"It allows me to get to the heart of any miscommunication issues early and provides me with a better understanding of what my employees value," she added.

Nat Causey, ACC chief counsel, said he was happy MacKenzie and McPherson were recognized as outstanding attorneys throughout the AMC legal community.

He said MacKenzie's leadership and managerial skills are "among the very best I have ever known in over 33 years of military and civilian service." He said MacKenzie's excellence as a legal leader led to her selection for the Army's Senior Enterprise Talent Management Program.

Causey said McPherson has produced numerous high-quality labor and employment law newsletters as part of the command's preventive law program.

"These written products are among the very best I have ever seen," he added, "and they are well read by attorneys and employees throughout the AMC enterprise."