By Carrie David Campbell (SMDC/ARSTRAT)December 19, 2018
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama - The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command announced its 2018 Civilians of the Year during a town hall at the Von Braun III auditorium Dec. 10.
Harriet Clark, senior program analyst, Future Warfare Center, was named the Civilian of the Year, Professional/Technical category, and Erica Ignont, G-8 Execution Division chief, was named the Civilian of the Year, Management category.
"I was excited. I couldn't stop smiling," Ignont said. "When I found out about the incredible honor of being named the SMDC Civilian Manager of the Year, I was excited and couldn't wait to share the news with my family. I also felt honored that someone thought enough of my contributions to the SMDC mission to nominate me for the award and the panel saw fit to select me."
Ignont said she feels like she needs to work even harder, a trait she learned from her mother.
"My mother, Gloria Lain Smith, was a first class business woman and my role model. I know she would have been proud. I wish she was still here to share this moment with me and my family."
Ignont was nominated by her supervisor, Col. Mac Tonsmeire, the deputy chief of staff, G-8, for her role leading the command's work ensuring precision funds execution.
"She made certain the command put quality obligations on the books and met Headquarters Department of the Army execution goals. Her work ensured that the command lost no funds during the fiscal year 2018 mid-year review as many other Army commands did," Tonsmeire said. "Erica is all about the team. She built the best G-8 team, one marked by exceptional competence, morale and dedication to customer support through competitive hiring, candid counseling and a commitment to each person's personal development."
As the command's Civilians of the Year, Ignont and Clark will also be the nominees for Association of the U.S. Army Redstone-Huntsville Chapter's Department of the Army Civilian of the Year Award.
"It is an amazing honor, and I hope to represent the command well," Ignont said. "I know that with this recognition comes the expectation that my team and I will continue SMDC's commitment to successfully executing its worldwide mission. To that end, I plan to be the role model for capable leadership and mentor my colleagues in line with the leadership I've received from command leaders. The mutual benefit that derives from that unique effort and synergy is the hallmark of success."
Clark said she found out she was selected when she was asked to participate in the command's town hall.
"I was not only surprised, but overwhelmed with joy and humility at my organization's support and belief in me," Clark said. "My nomination for such a prestigious award caught me completely off guard. This is a significant honor and I am delighted to represent SMDC and the Department of the Army. It is an honor to represent not only what we do, but the excellence in the work that is performed in support of our nation."
Clark was nominated by her supervisor, Phil Patterson, chief, Capability Planning Integration Division, for her accomplishments in the area of financial management and for managing the Future Warfare Center's overall fiscal year 2018 financial program, totaling more than $155 million at year mid-point.
"Ms. Clark developed an internal standard operating procedure which facilitated and ensured successful execution of financial management business within the Future Warfare Center," Patterson said. "The processes were standardized across the Future Warfare Center and the workload evenly distributed, which increased efficiency, cooperation and information exchange between the financial analysts resulting in reducing timelines to complete actions and errors."
Clark personally led, defined, trained, managed and mentored the Future Warfare Center financial team through all phases of the financial process to successfully oversee funds execution and ensure program and mission success.
"I have such an appreciation for the support and trust that I have received from leadership. It has freed me to pursue my passion of teambuilding, mentoring, building relationships, leading and serving others across the command and the Army," Clark said. "I feel deep gratitude to God for the opportunities he has given me to serve the warfighter and to support my fellow civilians."
Both women are active in the community. Clark chairs several Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority committees and several Coalition of 100 Black Women committees, ranging from elderly outreach and health promotions to school mentoring events. She also serves in First Missionary Baptist Church's Children's Church ministry as a leader and musician.
Ignont is also an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha. In 2018, she chaired the sorority's scholarship and mentoring program aimed at girls in fourth through eighth grades.