FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- A Mission and Installation Contracting Command contracting officer from Fort Sill, Okla., received the Department of the Army's Contracting Professional of the Year Award during an August ceremony at Washington, D.C."I really was surprised, I didn't know that my name was submitted prior to the submission," said Lisa Slagle, who also won at the U.S. Army Materiel Command level. "I was more surprised to see it went forward to the Army Small Business Program level."Criteria for her award included significant contributions to encourage and increase participation in acquisition programs or specific procurement actions; initiatives leading to increased opportunities or participation; and program management illustrating significant contracting contributions toward small business target and goal attainment or improvement.Even before completing a Defense Acquisition University course on small business contracting a few years ago, Slagle said she has always had an interest in small business."There are a lot of small businesses in my hometown community of Lawton (Okla.), and I've seen a lot of them go out of business," said Slagle, who has worked at Fort Sill for 23 years. "I've always watched out for small businesses where I live and work, and it's satisfying to know the Federal Acquisition Regulation requires me to set aside select contracts for small business."In fiscal 2011, Slagle worked hand-in-hand with the small business specialist at Fort Sill to be the first contracting officer to establish a woman-owned small business category set aside at MICC-Fort Sill after significant market research. Small business set-asides allow contracting officers to award or reserve certain acquisitions exclusively for small business.That set-aside resulted in an award to a woman-owned small business for $937,000 for a requirement that was previously awarded to large business for $1.186 million -- a savings of approximately $249,000. In addition to saving taxpayer dollars, it also assisted the MICC in meeting its woman-owned small business category goal. A second set-aside award by Slagle to a woman-owned small business allowed MICC-Fort Sill to achieve 17.2 percent toward its 10-percent goal in fiscal 2011."She has always advocated for set-asides for small businesses throughout her career, both as a contract specialist and as a contracting officer," said Annette Arkeketa-Rendon, the small business specialist at MICC-Fort Sill. "She readily volunteered to attend small business conferences and outreach venues prior to a full-time small business specialist being assigned."Arkeketa-Rendon added that Slagle's representation at these events strongly encouraged small business involvement in Fort Sill requirements and increased outreach that translated into improved market research, maximizing opportunities for all small business socio-economic categories."Her commitment to the Army Materiel Command Small Business Program is demonstrated by her significant number of small business awards, and the thorough market research she conducts to champion small business opportunities to the maximum extent," Arkeketa-Rendon said.The MICC is responsible for providing contracting support for the warfighter across Army commands, installations and activities located throughout the continental United States and Puerto Rico. In fiscal 2011, the command executed more than 63,000 contract actions worth almost $7 billion across the Army, including $2.8 billion to small businesses throughout the country.