FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. - A long journey, but a happy ending was the result for the 2019 NETCOM Civilian of the Year and Jr. Civilian of the Year winners, as the final award presentation was made to Mark Owens, a Logistics Management Specialist with the 2d Signal brigade, Wiesbaden Germany, July 20th.
Barbara Flynn, Telecommunications Specialist, 59th Signal Battalion, 516th Signal Brigade, Fort Shafter, Hawaii, won the 2019 Civilian of the Year, and Owens earned the 2019 Jr. Civilian of the Year.
The annual awards program had been scheduled to conclude in April with an awards ceremony. Then COVID-19 happened.
Once the command was confident it had addressed the pandemic and did all it could to protect the NETCOM team, focus was once again turned back to recognizing those who earned the title, Civilian and Jr. Civilian of the Year.
The nomination package stated Flynn [who already had a reputation of being one of the top performers in the 59th Signal Battalion] earned Civilian of the Year honors because of her remarkable coordination and contracting experience ensuring enduring Military Satellite Communications Systems (MILSATCOM) contract requirements were met. It was noted she had proven herself a champion of the MILSATCOM mission by identifying, soliciting for, and executing over $500,000 in support of the critical communication components, guaranteeing that three separate critical MILSATCOM programs remain online and viable for the missions in support of the defense of our Homeland.
In addition to providing outstanding support to the command, Flynn’s commitment to local community activities included managing the U.S. Department of Agriculture Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program, the Commodities Supplemental Food Program and the senior’s Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program.
“Your extraordinary dedication and commitment coupled with your remarkable coordination and project oversight capabilities have laid the foundation for this honorable selection,” said NETCOM Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett, when she congratulated Flynn on her selection. “You are the ‘best of the best’,” Barrett added.
But Flynn gives credit for her selection to the team. “The NETCOM Team allows me to work on a wide variety of different projects,” said Flynn. “I have been gaining knowledge in multiple areas encompassed in C4IM [Command, Control, Computers, Communication, and Information Management]. In addition, the people who support our missions around the globe have been extremely supportive and encouraging.
“A Career with NETCOM offers a diverse working knowledge of the elements required to achieve success,” said Flynn. “NETCOM challenges you to undertake the Team concept in order to recognize that not only one work center is responsible for a victory; it’s the contributions of others that make you what you are.”
However, when it comes to being a part of the team, Flynn said you need to be open with others. “I would say: build positive relationships with your co-workers, tenant units, and be open to learn from those around you.” said Flynn.
“Learn everything you can! If you take the time to pursue professional development, and learn more than just your part of the mission, you will be successful,” Flynn added.
When asked what is unique about a career with NETCOM, Flynn said, “Working with NETCOM allows an individual to build a career in the fastest growing industry in the world, IT and Cyber Security. When you take advantage of NETCOM’s on the job training experience, mentorship, and the wide variety of training opportunities offered, then you will achieve marketable skills that can be utilized by any organization.”
Flynn wasn’t done flying high on the honors earned by being the command’s Civilian of the Year. In June she found out she was selected and took a new position with the U.S. Air Force in Las Vegas, Nevada. Now, while we don’t know if it was her selection as NETCOM’s Civilian of the Year that got her the job with the Air Force, we do know they got a great hire.
Margarita Mendoza, Owens supervisor and the person, who submitted Owens’ nomination, said that Owens road to the honors was also marked by many achievements.
Owens greatly improved the tracking of Operational Atlantic Resolve and other property kept for rotational units by establishing correct business process for stay behind and theater behind equipment, said Mendoza. He also established historical statistics to maintain meticulous record keeping, which saved money and reduced unnecessary supply business processes while providing real time data. Owens controls 4,000 lines of critical Signal theater property worth over $28 million in the List of Material. In all, his efforts support the 1,458 customers in the 2d Signal Brigades area of responsibility, which includes 110 countries on two continents.
“The job satisfaction of being part of NETCOM and my duties as the Accountable Officer of such a unique warehouse that supports unit level supply operations, which is very critical due to COVID 19 and the sanitary items required to maintain a health host-nation, military, and civilian workforce,” said Owens. “I enjoy the opportunity to manage a warehouse with over $36 million of accountable property and being part of a brigade that thrives for excellence and recognizes those civilians that are big part of the ‘Brigade of Excellence’.”
“As the Accountable Officer I had the unique opportunity to oversee/work with an 11-person contractor work force that operated the daily logistics operations,” said Owens. “And, being a Logistics Management Specialist for NETCOM has been a great learning opportunity working directly with Project Managers on over 63 projects that covered U.S Army Europe, the Middle East, the Balkans and other sensitive sites.”
Owens summed it all up by saying the career and knowledge opportunities in NETCOM are numerous. “You are able to work with a local-national work force, DoD civilians and military leaders at all levels that are in multiple different career fields within the 2d Signal Brigade headquarters and other’s at sites remotely, as each entity requires different levels of logistical support,” Owens said.
“It allowed me to thrive to be better than the previous day, as a logistician processes change and we must stay connected to our networks to ensure we are able to be the institutional knowledge that set the standard when it comes to logistics and supporting the workforce.”
The final accolade came from the commanding general written in a star note to Owens. “Your selection is truly deserved as the best of our civilian workforce and highlights your personal dedication to continued education,” said Maj. Gen. Barrett. “Your superb expertise in managing processes and property, and excellent mentorship have greatly improved NETCOM’s ability to provide exceptional telecommunications service and support to our customers.”
For Owens, receiving the award in person was the final step needed to complete the process. His award, a globe with a plaque, arrived by mail in Germany in July and was presented to him July 20. “It was rewarding to have the award presented with the warehouse workforce gathered, because as a team, we all earned the award. We all felt extremely proud that the NETOCM Global Jr Civilian of the Year 2019 was awarded to a member of this team.”
The voting panel for the selection process consisted of several senior civilians selected from NETCOM’s global workforce. One panel member said they had a very tough decision in picking the top performers from a select group of outstanding Civilians in each category.
Other NETCOM Civilian of the Month winners that competed for the annual honor were: Valerie Baumer, NETCOM G-2, who serves as an Intelligence Analyst; Vava Richard Marcel, Aberdeen Regional Network Enterprise Center, 93rd Signal Brigade, 7th Signal Command (Theater), who serves as an Information Management Officer/IT Specialist; Angela Jacobs, Cyber Protection Brigade, who serves as the Brigade S4; Adelina Dos-Santos, 516th Signal Brigade, 311th Signal Command (Theater), who serves as a Security Assistant; Scott Schneeweis, NETCOM G-5, who serves as a Cyberspace Operations Planner; Ruben Gonzales, Joint Base San Antonio NEC, 106th Signal Bde, 7th Signal Command (Theater), who serves as an IT Specialist; Sandra R. Daniel, Cyber Protection Brigade, who serves as a Training Management Specialist; Glenn P. Villarmia, 311th Signal Command (Theater), G-4 Contracting, who serves as an Contract Specialist; and Steven J. Royster, 41st Signal Battalion, 1st Signal Brigade, 311th Signal Command (Theater), who serves as an Information Technology Specialist.