News | March 10, 2022

Teams, individuals honored in 54th Annual Employee Awards Ceremony

By Beth Reece

The use of data science to support the nuclear enterprise and continued assistance to federal agencies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are among the contributions highlighted in the Defense Logistics Agency's 

" target="_blank">54th Annual Employee Awards Ceremony. The event was prerecorded at DLA Headquarters and includes footage from dozens of Zoom meetings with award recipients since Omicron halted plans for a traditional ceremony at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

Over three dozen employees and teams representing DLA Headquarters directorates and all major subordinate commands were recognized in over 10 categories. DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Michelle Skubic said choosing winners was a challenge because all nominees did impactful work that improved DLA’s support to troops and the nation.

“They stood out for any number reasons, whether by providing extraordinary customer service, finding a solution to a tough problem, improving efficiency or saving money for the taxpayer,” she said. 

The director added that she’s especially proud of employees’ support during the pandemic. The agency has provided over $6 billion worth of medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and other supplies. 

“I know it hasn’t been easy for you either personally or professionally,” she said, thanking employees for their contributions in a critical time in U.S. history.  

Among those recognized for pandemic support were DLA Distribution’s Jennifer Ruiz, who was named one of DLA’s 10 Top Outstanding DLA Personnel of the Year for ensuring on-site workers had cleaning and sanitizing supplies as they packed and shipped material.

The small, medium and large team awards also went to groups with roles in pandemic support. Despite manpower shortages, the COVID-19 Pandemic Action Response Team at DLA Distribution Norfolk, Virginia, processed over 1,600 containers of medical items like masks and thermometers for overseas customers in just six weeks. A DLA Distribution team in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, was awarded for processing over 90 COVID-19-related line items, and the enterprise-wide DLA COVID-19 Coordination Team created guidance for workplace operations amid continued closures, vaccinations and changes in mask policies. 

Officers and enlisted members were also awarded for efforts ranging from U.S. Space Force and exercise support to the drawdown of supplies in the Middle East. 

“Even though DLA is largely a civilian agency, supporting the military is at the heart of what we do. We couldn’t do it without our own assigned military members,” DLA Joint Reserve Force Director Navy Rear Adm. Doug Noble said.

Other recognition focused on police, fire and emergency services workers who work 24/7 to keep DLA employees and facilities safe. DLA police at San Joaquin, California, were praised for conducting over 275,000 functions such as vehicle searches and alarm response, and the fire department at Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, completed a $1.2 million station renovation. 

DLA Acquisition Director Matthew Beebe praised acquisition professionals throughout the agency for awarding 3.7 million contracts valued at over $38 billion in fiscal 2021.

“The scope and scale of DLA’s acquisition community is unique within the federal government, and the foundation of that capability is the dedicated and innovative DLA acquisition workforce,” he said.

Shivane Patel from DLA Land and Maritime received the Excellence in Acquisition Award for sharing her expertise in cybersecurity procurement policy inside and outside the agency. 

The agency’s first employee awards ceremony was held in 1967 when the Defense Supply Agency’s third director, Air Force Lt. Gen. Earl Hedlund, said he wanted to recognize employees who were “willing to do more than their job descriptions called for and who were doing their jobs in a superlative fashion.”

A complete list of awards follows. 

10 Outstanding DLA Personnel from 2021:

  • Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Brennan Pedraza, DLA Acquisition
  • Carrie Readnour, DLA Land and Maritime
  • Jennifer Ruiz, DLA Distribution
  • William Kennedy, DLA Energy
  • Elijah Loughridge, DLA Land and Maritime
  • Christine Sineath, DLA Logistics Operations
  • Army Col. Brian Kuhn, DLA Logistics Operations
  • Adrianne Moore, DLA Installation Management
  • Sherri Potts, DLA Troop Support
  • Timothy Stark, DLA Acquisition

Leaders of the Year:

  • Level 1 Non-Supervisory Employees – Shawn Fuentes, DLA Distribution
  • Level 2 Team Leaders and Project Leaders – Claude “Will” Bailey III, DLA Logistics Operations
  • Level 3 New Civilian Supervisor – Sloane Struse, DLA Energy
  • Level 4 Experienced Leaders, Managers and Supervisors – John Trunzo, DLA Troop Support

Annual DLA Employees of the Quarter: 

  • Civilian Grades 1-6 – Heather Gunn, DLA Aviation
  • Civilian Grades 7-12 – Jaron Tyner, DLA Energy
  • Civilian Grades 13-15 – Jason Cox, DLA Troop Support

Team Performance Awards: 

  • Small Team – COVID-19 Pandemic Action Response Team, DLA Distribution Norfolk
  • Medium Team – COVID-19 Support Team, DLA Distribution Susquehanna
  • Large Team – DLA COVID-19 Coordination Team, enterprise-wide

Military Service Members of the Year:

  • Field Grade Officer of the Year – Air Force Maj. Charles Morton III, DLA Energy
  • Company Grade Officer of the Year – Air Force Capt. Zachery Teague, DLA Logistics Operations 
  • Joint Reserve Force Field Grade Officer of the Year – Marine Corps Maj. Gregory T. Zerr, DLA Land and Maritime
  • Joint Reserve Force Company Grade Officer of the Year – Navy Lt. Ryan S. Schewe, DLA Disposition Services
  • Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year – Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Titus Serrell, DLA Distribution
  • Junior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year – Air Master Sgt. Christopher Farris, DLA Aviation
  • Joint Reserve Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year – Navy Senior Chief Michael Ruputz, DLA Distribution
  • Joint Reserve Force Junior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year – Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Amber M. Scott, DLA Troop Support.

Equal Employment Opportunity Awards:

  • Outstanding Employee with a Disability – Aaron Wessman, DLA Aviation
  • Award for Achievement in EEO by an Employee – Mindy Cook, DLA Land and Maritime
  • Award for Achievement in EEO by a Supervisor or Manager – Joanne Anello, DLA Troop Support
  • Award for Achievement in EEO by an Organization – DLA Troop Support

Award for Family and Morale and Welfare Facility and Program Excellence:

  • Susquehanna Child and Youth Program

Police Activity and Fire Department of the Year:

  • Outstanding Police Activity of the Year – DLA Installation Management, San Joaquin
  • Fire Department of the Year – DLA Defense Supply Center Richmond

Safety and Security Professionals of the Year: 

  • Safety Professional of the Year – Ernesto Chee-Chong, DLA Logistics Operations
  • Junior Security Professional of the Year – Marcus Palamara, DLA Distribution

Award for Excellence in Acquisition:

  • Shivane Patel, DLA Land and Maritime

Information Technology Person of the Year Award:

  • Teresa W. Smith, DLA Information Operations