SEMBACH, Germany – Accounting, budgeting, identifying resources for future missions, acquisitions, manpower – all of these money-oriented tasks fall into the world of military comptrollers. For Sam Barnes, Installation Management Command Europe assistant chief of staff, G8, receiving an Army comptroller award is just the culmination of 32 years of teamwork.
“It’s very humbling to be recognized for, what I consider, is really a team effort – a very large team,” Barnes said. It’s not just resource managers, it’s the Directorate of Public Works, it’s the operations teams, it’s commanders, it’s resources management specialists, it’s our headquarters. “It’s a whole bunch of people that resulted in one person being recognized, so it’s pretty humbling.”
Barnes will receive his Army Comptroller of the Year for below command level award from the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management and Comptroller at the beginning of June in front of his Department of Defense peers at an annual professional development institute in Atlanta. In his role at IMCOM-Europe, Barnes provides resource management leadership to seven garrisons including 94 kasernes and three forward operating sites across the European theater.
When Barnes graduated from James Madison University as a marketing major, he didn’t expect to head down the comptroller career path that led to his recognition. However, he took advantage of a summer hire program with Army Materiel Command and joined the Army Reserve after graduation, where he spent 21 years in the Transportation and Logistic corps before retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 2010.
Being in the Reserve and going through all the same training as his active duty counterparts, allowed Barnes to take the Soldier experiences he had and take them back to his civilian job supporting Soldiers. “It gave me a really good insight into the importance of what we do as civilians because I think sometimes that gets lost,” he said.
Throughout his career, Barnes has worked for Army organizations in Massachusetts and Virginia and across the resource management career field as a budget analyst, and in programming and manpower. His marketing background also helped out in securing resources. A bit of marketing is involved in justifying why a garrison or command needs a certain requirement, Barnes said. Part of his current position includes not only competing for resources across the Army and DoD, but also in advising and mentoring resources managers and commanders to understand the environment in which they are competing for resources.
In July, Barnes’ path will take him back to Fort Belvoir, Virginia, for his number one priority, his family. However, he said he’s unsure where exactly his career will take him in the future. As a big fan of history he would enjoy staying connected to Europe, as well as to the up and coming workforce that he enjoys mentoring.
And, according to his award citation, mentorship is a skill at which Barnes excels. “Sam is a true advocate and proponent for professional development and leadership across the European theater … He is constantly driven towards positive results that support his customers.”