Army Acquisition Executive’s Excellence in Leadership Awards Ceremony

By Franz Holzer, ASA(ALT)January 19, 2024

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Army’s top acquisition officer lauded successes in developing and deploying advanced capabilities to the Army, the joint force, and allied and partner nations at a Pentagon ceremony Jan. 9. Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Douglas R. Bush presented members of the Army’s acquisition and contracting communities his 2023 Army Acquisition Executive’s Excellence in Leadership awards.

In his opening remarks for the ceremony, honoring more than 20 acquisition workforce stand-outs, Bush called on the community to “always focus on the Soldier.”

“Our job is to procure and deliver equipment for mission success and a safe return home of those who defend this great nation anytime and anywhere in the world,” Bush said. “The community last year fielded more than 76,500 items to support our men and women in uniform.”

Citing the United States as the world’s “arsenal of democracy,” Bush said, “A spotlight shines on Army acquisition.”

Referring to the support the U.S. provides to its allies and partners while continuing to equip and sustain America’s Army, Bush said, “It is you, our acquisition and contracting professionals who have used every creative measure available to ensure that this assistance has been delivered as efficiently as possible.”

This year’s awards introduced four new categories aligned with the Army’s commitment to transformation. They are Test and Evaluation Professional of the Year, Engineering and Technical Manager of the Year, Test Organization of the Year, and Digital Transformation Manager of the Year. These new awards recognize the strategic importance of these specializations in shaping the Army’s future force.

The annual awards ceremony also marked the 10th anniversary of the Maj. Gen. Harold “Harry” J. Greene Awards for Acquisition Writing, which showcases critical thinking and creativity that can help improve acquisition outcomes. Maj. Gen. Greene made the ultimate sacrifice in service to his country on Aug. 5, 2014, while on assignment as the Deputy Commanding General of the Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan.

A special presentation this year, the Lifetime Achievement in Contracting Award, went to the family of the late Bryan R. Samson, the former Deputy to the Commanding General, U.S. Army Contracting Command, whose legacy of service spanned more than 30 years and continues to inspire the Army acquisition workforce.

Bush concluded his remarks by saying, “We have an outstanding team, and we’re here to honor the community’s finest.”

The 2023 awards and recipients include:

Kelly Gorman of the Army Contracting Command (ACC), New Jersey, won the 2023 Acquisition Career Support Professional of the Year Award.

The Defense Exportability and Cooperation Professional of the Year was Rebecca Bowen, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation, a directorate of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology.

Ryan V. Lasecki, of the Program Executive Office (PEO) for Ground Combat Systems (GCS) earned the Business Operations Professional of the Year Award.

Chia “Jeff” Lee of Joint Program Executive Office (JPEO) Armaments and Ammunition (A&A) received the Logistician of the Year Award.

Product Management or Project Director Office Professional of the Year (O-5 Level) was Chad D. Young of PEO GCS.

Product Management or Project Director Office Professional of the Year (O-6 Level) was Michael D Sprang of PEO Combat Support and Combat Service Support (CS&CSS).

Michelle Talbot of ACC Rock Island received the Contracting Professional of the Year Award.

The 2023 Barbara C Heald Deployed Contracting Civilian of the Year award went to Thomas W. McKendry of ACC Rock Island.

Stephanie Wilson, also of ACC Rock Island, earned the Outstanding Grants or Agreements Professional of the Year Award.

Jeffrey Wyant, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, won the Construction Services Contracting professional of the Year honors.

The Test and Evaluation Professional of the Year was Jonathan Biffle, of PEO Missiles and Space (M&S).

Monica Griffin, from PEO Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (IEW&S) received the Engineering and Technical Management Professional of the Year Award.

The Digital Transformation Professional of the Year was Tilghman Turner, of Army Redstone Test Center, part of the Army Test and Evaluation Command.

The Innovation in Contracting Strategies Individual or Organization Award this year went to the Aviation & Missile Technology Consortium, Other Transaction Agreement Contracting Team.

The PEO GCS Foreign Military Sales, Poland Program Office earned the Product Management or Product Director Office Team of the Year (O-5 Level) Award.

The Project Director, Towed Artillery Systems, JPEO A&A, received the Project Management or Project Director Office Team of the Year (O-6 Level) Award.

Army Test and Evaluations Command’s Army Operational Test Command, Air Missile Defense Test Directorate won the Test Organization of the Year Award.

The Contracting Unit or Team of the Year was the ACC Redstone Arsenal Team, from the Missiles and Space Directorate.

For 2023, the Lifetime Achievement in Contracting Award was presented posthumously to the family of the late Bryan R. Samson, of Army Contracting Command.

The 2023 Major General Harold J. “Harry” Greene Writing Awards for Acquisition Writing completed the ceremony’s award presentations.

In the Acquisition Reform category, the winning composition is “Rethinking Acquisition from Left of Requirements: DEVCOM Chemical Biological Center’s Warfighter Innovation Leveraging Expertise and Experimentation (WILE-E) Pilot Project,” by authors Dr. Alan Samuels, Dr. Jennifer W. Sekowski, and Dr. Brian B. Feeney of Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. Joseph R. “Bo” Taylor III, of PEO M&S received Honorable Mention for “Cybersecurity in a Rapid Capabilities Environment.”

The Future Operations category winning article, authored by Lt. Col. Edwin L. Kolen of JPEO Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (CBRND), is entitled “Playing ‘Small Ball:’ How the Defense Department Will Win Against Future Known and Unknown Biological Hazards.” Caitlyn Hall of Army Aviation and Missile Command received Honorable Mention for “Army Facilities Components System—A new Standard for Contingency Bases in Future Operations.”

Doctors Christopher G. Earnhart and Lana A. Hopkins, from JPEO CBRND, submitted the winning composition in the Innovation category: “Technologically Advanced Response System to High Consequence Biological Threats.” Honorable Mention for “Shop ‘til You Drop: Introducing the Tradewinds Solutions Marketplace” went to Bonnie Evangelista, Office of the Secretary of Defense Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office.

Lt. Col. John M. Williams, II of PEO Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation (STRI) won the Lessons Learned category with “Operationalizing Discovery: Lessons Learned from a DEVCOM Science Advisor.” Robert H. Sullivan, Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, received Honorable Mention for Lessons Learned: The Need for Best Practices for Coding Diagnostics and Troubleshooting in Army Technical Publications.”

Members of the acquisition community also received special recognition for their support of the national COVID-19 response effort. The Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense and Army Contracting Command received the Army Superior Unit Award for their extraordinary work between March 1, 2020 and Jan. 31, 2021. Their efforts saved lives and demonstrated how the Army fights to protect our fellow citizens – on the battlefield and off.