HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- An Army Materiel Command staff leader and three AMC teams were recognized April 20 by the Tennessee Valley Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association at its annual awards dinner at the Jackson Center in Huntsville.
An NDIA leadership award honored AMC’s Col. Brett Ayvazian, deputy chief of staff, while NDIA technology awards recognized the AMC’s Executive Communications Team and Executive Information Technology Services Team as well as AMC Army Contracting Command’s G-2 Industrial Security Team. They were among 25 NDIA-TVC awards given to industry, government and government/industry teams in recognition of excellence in leadership, management and technology. In addition, the chapter awarded 15 college scholarships.
“It’s both humbling and gratifying to receive an award like this,” leadership awardee Ayvazian said. “I was completely surprised by the award. The Army has taught me a lot about the servant leader style. I hope, if anything, I’ve been able to help other people achieve their goals.”
Ayvazian has served as AMC’s deputy chief of staff for two years as part of a leadership team that was first led by Maj. Gen. Bob Harter and is now led by Maj. Gen. Walt Duzzny. During his time at AMC, Ayvazian has been part of an executive team supporting Gen. Gus Perna, Gen. Ed Daly and Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker.
“The exposure I’ve had at this strategic level has given me a whole new understanding and appreciation of the Army’s priorities and vision,” Ayvazian said. “I have had an opportunity to work with the Army’s best leaders and I’ve learned tremendously from them.”
In his role as deputy chief of staff, Ayvazian provides technical, logistical and administrative support to the AMC commander as it pertains to leading 10 major subordinate commands comprised of more than 160,000 military, civilian and contractor personnel worldwide and an annual budget in excess of $49 billion with $96 billion in contracts. He provides oversight of strategic planning, correspondence, staffing of actions and communications; coordinates actions at all levels of the Department of Defense; and coordinates with industry, congressional and local officials. Among his achievements at AMC is the establishment of the foundation for the Army Southern Command Housing Project to provide quality house for military families stationed in Miami, Fla.
Ayvazian’s prior assignments include serving as the Deputy Chief of Support Operations for the 8th Theater Sustainment Command, Fort Shafter, Hawaii; and with the 1st Theater Sustainment Command at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He has led logistics and support operations, and oversaw supply, maintenance, transportation, human resources, finance and postal services supporting more than 30,000 service members; and managed a $12 million non-combat operational budget with oversight for $475 million in capital equipment. He deployed in 2007-08 to Iraq with the 316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, and in 2012-13 as the Support Operations Officer for AMC’s forward element – the 401st Army Field Support Brigade – to Bagram, Afghanistan.
Ayvazian, whose nearly 30-year career can be defined through his commitment to the Army values, will leave AMC headquarters in June to take command of Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky. He will take the NDIA award with him along with his own leadership style.
“I see leadership as three hues – the hues of humility, humor and human,” he said.
“As a leader you have to be humble and put others before yourself. You also need to be able to find something to laugh about when the going gets tough and the hours are long and the work never ends, and you need to remember we are all human with our own aspirations and challenges. My hope is that through my leadership style I am able to inspire other people to always be their best.”
In the technology award category, the AMC Executive Communications Team, consisting of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Edwin Lopez-Zepeda and Sgt. First Class Bryan Reeves, and the AMC Executive Information Technology Services Team (93rd Signal Brigade), consisting of Jeffrey Nauta, Myles McCrary and Michael Chenault, were both recognized as members of a rapid action team for configuring, operating and maintaining a wide variety of communications instruments in support of AMC’s senior leaders. In achieving their mission, the two teams integrate AMC and other organizational networks to deliver connectivity for daily video conferences concerning mission critical requirements and involving the commanding general, deputy commanding general, executive deputy commanding general, command sergeant major, staff principals and special staff.
“This award means that all the hard work we've put in over these past few years at AMC has not gone unnoticed. It's important to be rewarded for good work ethic,” said team member McCrary. “This job requires lots of studying of the different communications instruments that we have to connect, multiple jobs dealing with customer service as well as information technology, and confidence to support a four-star command.”
A solid grasp of information technology plus input from the customer were important to ensuring a wide range of communication connectivity for senior leaders on a daily basis, agreed Reeves and Lopez.
"Experience, combined with research and implementation of new techniques, has greatly contributed to our success," said Reeves. "(AMC commanding general) Gen. (Ed) Daly's input also helps us to tailor our communication services to mission requirements."
Providing information technology support is often challenging due to connectivity challenges, Reeves said, but it is also rewarding to provide support that ensures the AMC mission is accomplished.
"It has been a great opportunity to work at the highest level of logistics in the United States Army, and it has gone a long way to gaining an understanding of how AMC's mission impacts our Army as a whole," Reeves said.
Also, in the technology category, the AMC Army Contracting Command’s G-2 Industrial Security Team was recognized for providing industrial security support to key Army modernization, supply chain risk management and security resilience efforts. Team members Christopher Lindberg and Thomas Taggert leveraged Army industrial security databases and associated documents to address critical security gaps in contractual documents, and provided contractual language modifications and additions to contracts that strengthened program protection.
“We had about 30 contracts that started as non-DOD contracts but that eventually drew in the DOD. With that, we have to ensure those contracts have the right protections included to ensure DOD security requirements are met,” Taggert said.
Ensuring security measures are built into contracts is a high priority for an organization that manages 80% of Army contracts, he said.
“This award recognizes the value of work that I really love doing. It means a lot to me to make sure we have contract security in our contracts and we aren’t losing data to foreign countries,” Taggert said.
Taggert and Lindberg also work to educate the ACC workforce on the importance of industrial security to protecting U.S. technology.
"All the time we've spent educating and improving the security for contracts has been worth it," Lindberg said. "We have started a process that will take continues work at the ACC, AMC and Army levels, but it means a lot to see a stronger emphasis on industrial security.
"The adversaries' ability to gather information on our emerging technology reduces our ability to stay ahead of our adversaries and costs the U.S. research funds. We hope the work we are doing improves the security of our contracting process and protects our emerging technologies."
The ACC nomination was submitted by AMC’s Katherine Coviello, special advisor for Materiel Enterprise Intelligence and Security.
“Recognizing the ACC G-2 team for their exceptional support to securing our industrial base demonstrates increased importance for our Army to work with the Defense Industrial Base in this period of Great Power Competition,” she said.
“The Army's Contracting Command – along with evolving policy from the Headquarters Department of the Army, DOD and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence – aids us in providing secure and mindful contracting strategies and mechanisms in light of growing threats. This ensures ACC and AMC’s ability to successfully contribute to advancing and safeguarding vital U.S. national interests.”