REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama (Jan. 16, 2024) – Five Army Contracting Command professionals and one acquisition team were recognized during the 2023 Army Acquisition Executive’s Excellence in Leadership Award Ceremony Jan. 9 at the Pentagon.
The 2023 AAE Award winners from ACC are the late Bryan Samson who’s family accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award in Contracting; Kelly Gorman from ACC-New Jersey who received the Acquisition Career Support Professional of the Year Award; Michelle Talbot of ACC-Rock Island who was named the Contracting Professional of the Year; Thomas McKendry of ACC-Rock Island who received the Barbara C. Heard Deployed Contracting Civilian Award; and Stephanie Wilson from ACC-Rock Island who was named the Outstanding Grants or Agreements Professional of the Year. The Contracting Team of the Year went to the ACC-Redstone Arsenal Missiles and Space Directorate.
The Army’s Acquisition Executive’s Excellence in Leadership Awards recognizes the performance of individuals who have clearly demonstrated exceptional mission accomplishment, selfless service to the United States, extraordinary and uncompromising professionalism, and a true commitment to the personal and professional growth of others. Douglas Bush, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, hosted the event. Bush serves as the Army acquisition executive and is responsible for managing more than 43,000 professionals within the Army Acquisition Corps and the Army acquisition workforce.
The posthumous presentation of the Lifetime Achievement in Contracting Award went to Samson. His legacy, spanning over 30 years of service, continues to inspire the AAW community. His wife, Connie Samson, and their daughters received the award. As the deputy to the commanding general and senior civilian leader of ACC, Samson’s leadership was instrumental in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, establishing the Expeditionary Contracting Command and enhancing the Army’s contracting capabilities in expeditionary operations.
“Bryan R. Samson’s dedication and leadership have left an indelible mark on the Army contracting enterprise, showcasing the transformative power of steadfast commitment and innovation,” said Megan Dake, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for procurement. “His legacy tells a story of dedication, innovation and unwavering commitment to excellence. That spirit will live on forever in our acquisition community.”
Gorman, the associate director for emerging technologies and maneuver combat division at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, was the driving force behind developing an innovative approach to acquisition career field development to re-enforce workforce skillsets to achieve contracting excellence. She developed two training supplements – the mentor’s training supplement and the fellow’s training supplement – that assist mentors and supervisors in providing a consistent curriculum that builds and reinforces learning from formal Defense Acquisition University training, informal training, and on-the-job training for fellows. The supplements increase performance by reducing the amount of time individual mentors need to research topics and support sustainment strategic initiatives to ensure a high quality, agile, adaptive and professional acquisition workforce by addressing critical skill gaps that need reinforcement and provide direction in obtaining needed education.
Talbot, a contracting officer with ACC-Rock Island, played an integral role in the negotiation and definitization of the rebaselining for all option periods for the Iraq task order and the base period and option period for the Kuwait task order valued at over $2 billion. Her efforts on these actions were critical to sustaining operational capability for the warfighter and supporting U.S. and coalition forces through the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program’s base life and sustainment support, reinforcing military capability with contracted civilian support. Serving as the lead contracting officer in support of LOGCAP supporting U.S. Central Command area of responsibility for the past two years, Talbot demonstrated the highest levels of excellence and professionalism in developing acquisition strategies and sustaining operational capability that support the warfighter and protects the taxpayer.
McKendry, a lead contracting officer in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, was part of the ACC-Rock Island team supporting the Office of the Program Manager-Saudi Arabia National Guard. His perseverance, hard work and dedication to the mission resulted in the strengthened relationship between the U.S. Army Office of the Program Manager-Saudi Arabian National Guard and Ministry of National Guard. He supported the Office of the Program Manager-Saudi Arabia National Guard through contracts that provide aviation facilities, training and support services, custodial services, operations and supply services, all contract administration and other services and supplies. The contractor’s business systems were a primary focus during that time, and McKendry’s dedication to the review and strict compliance was instrumental to moving the contractor’s purchasing system to approved, reducing risk on the large cost reimbursement aviation training and support services contract.
Wilson serves as the primary agreements officer for DOD’s Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office, which is responsible for the acceleration of the DOD’s adoption of data, analytics, and Artificial Intelligence to generate decision advantage across, from the boardroom to the battlefield. She has been instrumental in the development and design of the Tradewind program, DOD’s gateway to AI/Machine Learning, Digital, and Data Analytics Innovation. She has been influential in evolving CDAO’s other transaction agreement pathways to swift acquisitions to acquire cutting-edge technology. As AI is quickly and vastly impacting our daily lives, Wilson forged significant focus on AI and digital capabilities in transforming and expanding our military advantage, thereby supporting, and protecting U.S. service members, safeguarding U.S. citizens, defending allies and partners, and improving the affordability, effectiveness, and speed of our contracting operations.
The ACC-Redstone Program Executive Office Missiles and Space Directorate Team demonstrated exceptional dedication, professionalism, and innovation in obligating over $5 billion worth of Ukraine support funding. This team’s efforts align with the Presidential Drawdown for much needed munitions, launchers, and radars to replenish the U.S. stockpiles that supports Ukraine. The team’s meticulous attention to detail, strategic thinking and collaborative approach contributed to 100% obligations supporting Ukraine’s military and security forces. The efforts of the ACC-Redstone contracting team directly contributed to the delivery and replenishment of critical expeditionary equipment to Ukraine, protecting Ukraine’s military against threats, including unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters, and cruise missiles.
The Contracting Team of the Year consisted of ACC-Redstone Arsenal members Tim Carlile, Roland Carter, Monica Clemmons, Katrese Darrington, Andrea Dixon, Glynis Draper, Jeffery Fussell, Lany Gonzales, Billy Gravitt, Veronica Hannahs, Deon Holman, Belen Hyman, Lillian Irby, John Kirkwood, Mary Konopatzke, Michael Lawson, Scott Leach, Lisa Ledbetter, Tom Mangum, Isaac McKenzie, Amy Miller, Najah Mohammad, Regina Neal, Tameka Parker, Matthew Redman, Mike Saramosing, Renee Turner, Martin Vann Patton, Katy Whiteneck, Demisha Williams, and Jazmyne Williams.
About Army Contracting Command
The Army Contracting Command is headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. From food and clothing to bullets and bombs; from tanks and trucks to boats and aircraft; from Soldiers' weapons to the installations where they work and live with their families, ACC ensures Soldiers have what they need to be successful. As the Army's principal buying agent, ACC supports Army readiness and modernization by using best practices and expert-level oversight to provide warfighters with premier contracting support. The command accomplishes its global operational missions with a professional workforce of Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians, foreign local nationals and contractors at more than 100 locations worldwide.