ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Secretary of the Army Pete Geren presented awards to eight U.S. Army Materiel Command senior professionals in a special recognition ceremony held at the Women's Memorial at Arlington Cemetery, July 29.

"It's a privilege to be with you to congratulate our extraordinary public servants," said Geren.

One of the award winners received the Distinguished Executive Rank Award, six received the Meritorious Executive Rank Award and one received the Meritorious Senior Professional Rank Award.

Awardees are nominated by the Secretary of the Army, evaluated by boards of private citizens, and approved by the President. The evaluation criteria focus on the executive's leadership in producing results. The Presidential Rank Award is the most prestigious recognition afforded to career executives and senior professionals, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The 2008 AMC award winners include:

Distinguished Executive Rank

Edward C. Thomas
Deputy to the Commander
U.S. Army CECOM Life Cycle Management Command

Edward Thomas provides outstanding leadership to a global, high-tech workforce of nearly 15,000 civilians, military personnel and contractors located throughout the United States and at forward deployed locations worldwide. He has transformed the way the command engages in its business of developing, delivering and supporting command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems and capabilities, and has been a pivotal player in increasing Army/Joint combat power.

Meritorious Executive Rank

Gary W. Blohm
Director, Space and Terrestrial Communications
U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center
U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command

When the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan required Soldiers to operate over distances and terrains and exceeded the capabilities of their existing communications systems, Gary Blohm led a team of engineers in leveraging commercial satellite communications capabilities to design and build a solution for deployment with the Stryker Brigade Combat Teams. This capability, along with an internet protocol-based communications system developed by his organization, was adopted and fielded across more than 60 percent of the Army and is the backbone communications system for all battle command systems.

Dr. Grace M. Bochenek
U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center
U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command

Dr. Grace Bochenek manages program funding of more than $480 million, a workforce of more than 1,200 employees, and full life cycle engineering of all ground combat and tactical vehicles. She has transformed decades-old business practices to meet 21st century expectations while at war and has developed new plans and processes to ensure rapid and responsive delivery of products vital to Soldiers in the field.

Teresa W. Gerton
Deputy Chief of Staff for Resource Management, G-8
Headquarters, U.S. Army Materiel Command

Teresa Gerton is the principal advisor to the Commander on all resource-related matters and oversees an annual budget of more than $12 billion in direct appropriations and $44 billion in Army Working Capital Fun activity. In FY 2007, she executed more than 80 percent of the Army's $7.8B Operation and Maintenance, Army rest funds, and was instrumental in obtaining new resources to capitalize AMC's industrial facilities.

Gary P. Martin
Technical Director
U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center
U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command

Mr. Gary Martin is the Technical Director, U.S. Army Communications-Electronic Research, Development, and Engineering Center, a complex, diverse, high technology organization engaged in the research, development, engineering, acquisition, and sustainment of state-of-the-art communications, command, control, computer, intelligence, electronic warfare, and sensor systems for the Army and Joint Service users.

Jeffrey P. Parsons
Executive Director
U.S. Army Contracting Command

Mr. Jeffrey Parsons is the executive director of the U.S. Army Contracting Command, AMC's newest two-star level command. The creation of ACC places the majority of the Army's contracting capabilities into one Army command that provides a full range of contracting services for deployed units and installation-level services, supplies and common-use information technology hardware and software. Parsons directs more than 4,600 military and civilian employees at more than 115 locations worldwide and oversees awards to more than 246,000 contracts each year valued at more than $104 billion.

Mark A. Sagan
Chief Counsel
U.S. Army CECOM Life Cycle Management Command

Mark Sagan serves as the final authority on all legal matters pertaining to the Command and its satellite activities. He has compiled an unsurpassed record of accomplishments and is recognized as one of the best, most innovative and customer-focused attorneys within the Department of the Army.

Meritorious Senior Professional Rank

Dr. Claire C. Gordon
Senior Research Scientist
Natick Soldier Center
U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command

Dr. Claire Gordon is a world leader in biological anthropology applied to product and system development. Her research provides valid, reliable data for the effective design of military and civilian equipment and systems. She was the first to recognize the critical importance of anthropometric variability along demographic lines thereby ensuring that women and minority groups are appropriately and accurately represented.