COLUMBUS, Ohio –
Eight Columbus employees and two teams garnered top honors in the 53rd Annual Employee Recognition Awards announced by the Defense Logistics Agency. Due to current health guidelines, employees received recognition via a virtual ceremony that is scheduled to be released later this month. As part of that recognition, DLA Land and Maritime is highlighting several Columbus recipients each week. The second group includes two emergency professionals and the Defense Supply Center Columbus’ fire department.
DLA Fire Department of the Year: DLA Columbus
Defense Supply Center Columbus’ Fire and Emergency Services was named the Defense Logistics Agency Fire Department of the Year for its role in responding to more than 750 emergency calls including 18 working structure fires while also exceeding its response time goals. More than 535 calls – about 71% – were to assist the neighboring City of Whitehall as part of the fire department’s mutual aid agreement with the city. Among other accomplishments cited in its nomination, the department combatted a mission critical fire inside a maintenance facility and was able to preserve and protect millions of dollars in valuable government assets. In a separate incident, Fire and Emergency Services was able to quickly mitigate a water main break and protect critical government property by preventing flood waters from entering a nearby facility.
The department was selected for re-accreditation by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International for sustained excellence, and is a recipient of DLA’s 2018, 2019 and 2020 DLA Fire Officer of the Year honors. The department also secured six advanced tactical operations medical specialist certifications and more than 1,680 hours of intense specialized training facilitated through a partnership with the Ohio Fire Academy.
Among the department’s outreach and education efforts, it’s credited with piloting a successful regional Emergency Vehicle Operations Course involving multiple mutual aid agencies, hosting a multi-day regional hazmat recognition training course and marshalling a DLA active assailant exercise with DLA Police external stakeholders.
The department’s nomination listed several innovative accomplishments including the creation of an advanced indoor fire/rescue training area, implementation of firefighter decontamination kits and management of more than 100 Automated External Defibrillators strategically placed on the installation for emergency use.
DLA Fire Officer of the Year: Capt. Ryan Bardar
Ryan Bardar recently received Defense Logistics Agency Fire Officer of the Year honors for his role as a station captain at the Defense Supply Center Columbus Fire Department. His nomination notes his superior performance directing more than 750 fire and emergency medical service calls and his efforts with local mutual aid partners in responding to a working house fire.
Bardar is credited with modernizing the department’s strategic plan for the organization’s future. Among his recent accomplishments, Bardar redesigned shift schedules to spread paramedic and emergency medical technicians’ workloads, provided more than 500 hours of peer-knowledge instruction for all personnel, partnered with a local salvage yard to conduct extrication training and was instrumental in developing response packs specializing in mass casualty and active shooter scenarios more evenly. Bardar also structured a training program to provide advanced training for Fire and Emergency Services personnel alongside the FBI, local law enforcement and other fire departments.
Bardar’s initiative led to the design of a forcible entry training area that will allow the installation’s Fire and Emergency Services to perform year-round training. His efforts in community outreach led to the acquisition of two residential houses for training with mutual aid partners. This training emphasizes firefighter safety and life-saving self-rescue operations. He also led an initiative to update the department’s standard of coverage in anticipation of future growth and crafted several emergency mass casualty incident action plans for various installation responses.
“[Bardar] demonstrates exceptional leadership, overseeing all training and firefighter’s safety during emergency operations,” his nominator stated. “He leads with strong leadership and work ethic.”
Bardar holds a bachelor’s in Fire and Emergency Management and has completed Chief Fire Officer Leadership courses 3 and 4 in addition to graduating from an advanced tactics command and control course through the National Fire Academy.
DLA Emergency Communications Operator of the Year: Mark Pennington
Mark Pennington is the lead night shift dispatcher for the Defense Supply Center Columbus. In this role, Pennington is responsible for dispatching and documenting calls for DSCC’s police and fire departments. For his efforts Pennington was awarded DLA’s Emergency Communication Operator of the Year Award.
Pennington’s knowledge of systems, procedures and equipment increased operational excellence and capability, and his nominators credited his abilities with the emergency notification system to alert multiple agencies of changing conditions. His nomination noted Pennington exemplified professionalism in his response to more than 2,440 calls and “kept panicked callers calm, which provided swift, accurate lifesaving assistance.”
Pennington is known for his initiative. In 2020, Pennington volunteered to work overtime in the DSCC Dispatch Center and donated more than 100 hours of personal leave to the Leave Donation Program to help others. His resourcefulness led to development of a scheduled update process for emergency repair points of contact for after-hours maintenance. He also designed and regularly contributes to an information book to assist dispatchers with policies, contacts and other important information.
“Mark’s tact, coordination and ability to get to the heart of any problem increased our operational and administrative efficiency and effectiveness,” his nomination stated.