FORT LEE, Va. (June 14, 2012) -- A noncommissioned officer from the Petroleum and Water Department here earned the Army's first award from the National Petroleum Management Association.

Staff Sgt. Ricardo Hamlin, PWD Laboratory Training Division team chief, earned the Outstanding Quality Manager Award from the national association during the Army's first year of being part of it.

"I didn't know I was even nominated," Hamlin said. "When I received the award, I was really humbled. I didn't think I deserved it. I was happy the Army received the recognition."

Hamlin's boss, Jose A. Hernandez, PWD Laboratory Training Division chief, said he was selected because his efforts as the Petroleum Training Facility Quality Manager were worthy of recognition.

"Staff Sgt. Hamlin is a true subject matter expert," Hernandez said. "His expertise is demonstrated daily. True professional, selfless service, subject matter expert, and an ever-present zest for quality made him the right choice. The qualities he embodies are hard to find."

Recently, Hamlin went out as part of a mobile training team to Afghanistan to support the new fielding of forward deployed laboratories. Hernandez said his knowledge was instrumental in the introduction and training of the Petroleum Quality Analysis System -- Enhanced, which is an automated system that is now a subject of training for PWD students as well.

Fort Lee keeps a reserve of fuel on the installation to be prepared if there's ever a reason a nearby location needs fuel -- such as bad fuel at another organization or a national disaster -- and it's part of Hamlin's job to continually test the fuel for quality.

"I also test every fuel truck that comes in or out," he said. "I need to make sure our fuel stays on specification and doesn't get contaminated -- that we are ready for every situation.

"We have to be ready to provide fuel to other organizations at a moment's notice -- and we don't have time to start testing it when they say they need it,' he continued. "We have to continually test the fuel to be sure it's ready for any situation."

Although he started out as a personnel specialist, Hamlin said he's passionate about his current MOS.

"I really do believe in quality, and I've seen what happens if quality isn't met," he said. "This is a behind-the-scenes job, and most don't understand this type of work. When you go on an aircraft, the passenger shouldn't have to worry about the fuel."

Hamlin said the NPMA is an association that was developed by fuel handlers to recognize achievement and build camaraderie and networking.

"It's a great organization to belong to because it gets the Army recognized throughout the petroleum world," he said.

Becoming part of this organization opens the door for credentialing opportunities for several quartermaster military occupational specialties, said Hernandez.

"The recently announced presidential initiative to prepare veterans for civilian re-integration and to aid with certifications that will lead to civilian sector employment led the QM School-PWD leadership to NPMA," he said. "NPMA is a nationally recognized association. It has a strong credentialing program, and it provides a credentialing conduit for 92F and 92L personnel."