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Chief Procurement Officer Excellence Awards recognize Coast Guard acquisition achievements

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Chief Warrant Officer Leigh Johannsen, contracting officer’s representative and assistant program manager for the response boat-small II acquisition program, was recognized as the Contracting Officer’s Representative of the Year for fiscal year 2019 as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Chief Procurement Officer Excellence Awards. U.S. Coast Guard photo.


Eleven members of the Coast Guard were recognized with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) Excellence Awards for their endeavors during fiscal year 2019.  The winners were announced July 15 by Soraya Correa, DHS CPO.

The CPO Excellence Awards recognize the exceptional accomplishments and contributions of the DHS procurement and acquisition communities in advancing the DHS mission. A total of 124 professionals from DHS components and headquarters were honored in both individual and team categories.

Chief Warrant Officer Leigh Johannsen, contracting officer’s representative (COR) and assistant program manager for the response boat-small II (RBS-II) acquisition program, was recognized as the Contracting Officer’s Representative of the Year. This award is given to a DHS COR who demonstrated outstanding achievements in support of their program office and in carrying out the activities delegated by the contracting officer to achieve mission delivery. Johannsen was recognized for superior leadership and strict oversight of the $140 million RB-S II contract, ensuring on-time, high-quality deliveries at a rate of one boat per week.

“I felt honored and very lucky to have a contracting officer (KO) and supervisors that took the time out of their very busy schedules to put me in for the award,” Johannsen said. “Someone asked me what I think was the key, and my response was having a very candid, open communication line with the KO. I also believe my operational background helped the KO and the original equipment manufacturer understand what the operators in the field need, which allowed us to work toward solutions that made sense. It all comes down to communication.”

An Excellence in Innovation Award was presented to the Coast Guard Workforce Management Auxiliary Management Information System (AUXDATA) procurement team. The innovation award recognizes success in improving DHS mission outcomes through the application of innovative techniques and approaches that improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the procurement process.

The AUXDATA team was recognized for utilizing innovative procurement techniques to replace a defunct workforce management system with a modern, cloud-hosted software-as-a-service solution in approximately four months. The information technology system allows Coast Guard personnel to coordinate assistance from members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary for mission-critical operations that directly affect the safety of all Americans.

AUXDATA team members honored were Lt. Nicholas M. Fredericksen of Coast Guard Cyber Command; Shandra J. Kotzun with the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber and Intelligence (C5I) Service Center; Brenda E. Oberholzer with the Office of C5I Contracting & Procurement; and Lt. Carl N. Stokes with the Mission Support Systems Branch of the Office of C5I Program Management.

The Special Purpose Craft-Shallow Water Strategic Sourcing Initiative team was awarded an Excellence in Strategic Sourcing and Category Management Award. The 11-person team leveraged Customs and Border Protection’s experience with shallow water environments and the Coast Guard’s experience purchasing small boats to establish a special purposed craft-shallow water boat contract. The model created for this contract will serve as a prototype for future acquisitions of aircraft, ships and specialized vehicles.

Coast Guard team members working on the project were Daniel Jackson, Sarah Marcheggiani and Jennifer Sokolower with the Office of Contract Operations; Andrew Jepson with the Large Contracting, Reimbursable and Special Appropriations Execution Division of the Director of Operations Resource Management;  and Lt. Daniel Murray and David Shepard with the Office of Boat Forces.

“It’s rewarding and exciting to be recognized for accomplishments that happen as a result of strong partnerships between our program offices and our contracting and procurement staff,” said Michael Derrios, head of contracting activity for the Coast Guard. “We deliver the best mission support through collaboration and innovation of everyone involved. That's what provides the greatest outcomes.”