REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (Aug. 17, 2021) – Since the Revolutionary War, Army civilians have been essential in the success of the branch of service - and the nation.
The U.S. Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center was well-represented at the Association of the U.S. Army Redstone-Huntsville Chapter’s 2021 DA Civilian of the Year Awards Dinner, with one of their four nominees, Dr. Stephanie Reitmeier, associate director for Propulsion and Structures in the Technology Development Directorate, named as overall Civilian of the Year. The annual awards event recognizes the contributions of Team Redstone civilians nominated by their commands.
In addition to Reitmeier, DEVCOM AvMC’s Dan Bailey, deputy director for the Future Vertical Lift Cross-Functional Team, and Katherine Olson, Additive Manufacturing lead, were recognized in the Technical/Technical Management category. Bailey was also nominated in 2020 for the same category, while he was program manager for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft Prototype Program. Additionally, AvMC team member Steve Chisgar, who is matrixed to the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office as the Production Engineering Lead for the Army's Hypersonic Project Office, was also recognized in the category.
“You’ve been recognized by the senior leaders who nominated you,” said Army Contracting Command Executive Director Joseph Giunta, Jr., keynote speaker for the dinner. “You’ve been recognized by your peers and subordinates who have worked alongside you. You’ve been recognized by the partners that work with you every day. And most importantly, you’ve been recognized by the larger community. The safety of our nation has depended on you each and every day.”
Reitmeier paid tribute to the mentors and leaders of DEVCOM AvMC in her acceptance speech, many of whom were in the audience.
“As I stand here tonight, what makes this the most special to me is that it is AUSA, which is representing the team of the best of the best. It is the civilians and Soldiers and industry partners working together to do what we need to do to keep Soldiers safe and our country free.”
Reitmeier drew on a running analogy for her career success – saying that while her career might be one of a sprinter, her team were the marathon runners and she would accept the award on behalf of them. In her conclusion, she had a request for the audience.
“What I want to ask you – because I will probably never have a chance in my entire career to talk to this many senior leaders at once – if I could ask for one thing, is when you are walking the halls of the best engineering organization – DEVCOM AvMC – serving the best Army, is to give a high-five or a handshake or a socially-distanced wave to the guys mixing the propellant, the gals checking that fast Fourier transform by hand for the fifth time because the missile has to work the first time, every time. Because those guys and gals are not necessarily running the fast career race like me, they are running the slow race, the long race, and they are the reason we are crossing the finish line.
“And they are the reason that we are getting the job done.”
The DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the Army’s research and development focal point for advanced technology in aviation and missile systems. It is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command. AvMC is responsible for delivering collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions, as required by the Army’s strategic priorities and support to its Cross-Functional Teams.