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News | May 11, 2021

Troop Support team members earn Employee, Team, Supervisor of the Year Awards

By Mikia Muhammad DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

As the COVID-19 pandemic increased the nation’s demand for personal protective equipment, Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support’s Medical PPE team rapidly sourced and distributed quality products to meet the Department of Defense’s most pressing needs at fair and reasonable prices.

The team’s hard work throughout 2020 earned them DLA Troop Support’s Team of the Year Award. DLA Troop Support employees Linnette De La Cruz and John Trunzo also earned Employee and Supervisor of the Year Awards, respectively, for their 2020 mission support.

All awardees were formally recognized at a virtual town hall event May 10, hosted by DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence.

“Your can-do attitude during these unique times has been nothing short of inspiring,” Lawrence said. “I am humbled to work alongside such a dedicated team and appreciate every effort you continue to make toward our shared mission, vision and goals. My continued gratitude to each and every one of you.”   


Team of the Year

No peacetime contingency has tested the mettle of a DOD supply team as the COVID-19 pandemic has tested that of the Medical PPE team, said Daniel Keefe, Medical Director of Supplier Operations.

“Within weeks, the pandemic drove up the demand for critical medical and other COVID-19 related material a thousand-fold while world-wide supply remained constant,” Keefe said.

With reputable manufacturers immediately imposing worldwide restrictions on their available stocks and production capacities and less creditable actors flooding the market with over-priced, counterfeit, inferior or nonexistent products to capitalize on the shortages, panic and confusion quickly ensued, Keefe said. 

“This situation left the Medical PPE team with the herculean task of navigating through the logistical clutter and fog of the pandemic to meet DOD's most critical and immediate needs with quality medical materiel,” Keefe said.

The team also simultaneously acquired additional stocks to meet future government needs and remain postured to rapidly pivot to support other DOD contingencies, Keefe said.

Within months, the Medical PPE team acquired 600 million exam gloves, 54.8 million masks, 60.1 million N95 Respirators, 30.7 million gowns and a host of other COVID-19 related materiel to meet the nation's most pressing needs.   

“The team is honored to be recognized and are proud that they could provide safe & reliable personal protective products to the men and women who were on the frontline battling COVID-19 daily,” said Patrick Quigley, chief of Medical’s Readiness Division- Strategic Materiel Sourcing Group.         


Medical PPE team members include:

Daniel Keefe

Nora Steigerwalt

Patrick Quigley

Steve Bollendorf

Eileen Motta

Brian Schott

Maryann Bickel

Yvonne Poplawski

William Woltjen

Abin Mathai

Kevin Echelberger

Charles Reimer

Lt. Shawn Dean, USN

Thomas Heleniak

Christina Izzi

Mario Buonanoce

Amanda Doherty

Brian Bunce

Lucas Huerta

Sean Kelly

Trang Phan

Stephanie Nguyen

LeighAnn Bauer

Seth Tootell

Ryan Guarnere

Greta Collier

Rose Marie Adams

Mark Bernacki

Thomas Drew

Mike Medora


Employee of the Year

De La Cruz is the lead contracting officer for the Construction and Equipment directorate’s Maintenance, Repairs and Operations Division.

“During the year 2020, I participated in various complex acquisition efforts, one of these being the largest acquisition effort in the history of the division,” De La Cruz said. “Every decision I make has the warfighter and taxpayer in mind. I always strive to work with a sense of urgency, attention to detail and a great sense of achievement.”

While working as the chairperson  for a group tasked with evaluating bids for the renewal of a $925 million contract representing the fourth generation of MRO support in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, she simultaneously served as the contracting officer for MRO’s tailored vendor logistics prime vendor renewal contract servicing the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii, a $22 billion acquisition.

“Enough cannot be said with regard to Ms. De La Cruz's command of acquisition regulation and policy, nor her steadfast commitment to the mission of both the warfighter and DLA,” said Matheu Wilson, C&E supervisory integrated support team chief. “Her integrity, commitment, resilience, and dedication to excellence are a profound example for any aspiring professional within the agency, as ‘above and beyond’ characterizes her work ethic and contributions at all times.”

De La Cruz said she was humbled and appreciative for being selected as DLA Troop Support’s Employee of the Year.

“When I relocated to the United States from Puerto Rico over 20 years ago, I searched for a work organization that would give me an opportunity to grow and prove my worth,” she said. “DLA took a chance on me, and I will never forget it.  This further proves that anyone can make a difference if given an opportunity.”


Supervisor of the Year

Trunzo, the J3/5 Operations Division chief, earned Supervisor of the Year for leading the Command and Control Center team within the COVID-19 operating environment.

Recognizing the need to expand customer support operations due to the high-volume message traffic associated with the COVID-19 response effort, Trunzo and his CCC team initiated an innovative split-shift cycle that provided an increase of more than 30% in direct support coverage across the duty day, said Navy Cmdr. Scott A. Long, J3/5 Operations and Plans Director.

“I am extremely proud to work with such an outstanding team at Troop Support,” Trunzo said. “We have world class leaders and teammates across our supply chains and offices, an outstanding workplace environment and culture, and an organizational commitment to DLA’s ‘Warfighter Always’ operating paradigm.” 

Troop Support processed 330 separate external customer requests for information in 2020, and Trunzo’s team was instrumental to the development and growth of business opportunities with partner agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and more.

“John has been critical to the mission success that Troop Support enjoyed over the 2020 calendar year,” Long said. “His supervision of our CCC team within the COVID operating environment has been superb.”