April 2, 2023 —
Coast Guard Head of the Contracting Activity, Keith J. O’Neill (at left), presented the awards at the sixth contracting and procurement recognition event held March 14, 2023, at Coast Guard Headquarters. Receiving recognition for outstanding performance during fiscal year 2022 are, from left: Allen Tillman of the Office of Contract Operations and Ebone Newbon of the C5I Office of Contracting and Procurement, who were each recognized as Outstanding Contracting Professional of the Year; Bahar Cabrera of the Director of Operational Logistics – Office of Procurement and Contracting (DOL-9), Rising Star of the Year; Jeffrey Center of DOL-9, Outstanding Procurement Professional of the Year; Chris Stine of the Office of Procurement Policy and Oversight, a member of the Innovative Contracting Team of the Year; Adam Birkland and Gabe Perez of Shore Infrastructure Logistics Center, members of the Outstanding Contracting Team of the Year; Ryan Suchy accepting for Christopher Sibrel of DOL-9, Bridge Builder of the Year; Doug Sansone of the Office of Procurement Policy and Oversight, a member of the Innovative Contracting Team of the Year; and Susan Ferralli of the Office of Contract Operations, Supervisor of the Year. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ronald Hodges. BELOW (from left): Awardees who were not present at the event – Christopher Sibrel of DOL-9, Bridge Builder of the Year; Gina Sirianni and Wes Whisner of Shore Infrastructure Logistics Center, members of the Outstanding Contracting Team of the Year; and Annette Berg of the Office of Procurement Policy and Oversight, a member of the Innovative Contracting Team of the Year.
Six individuals and two teams from within the Coast Guard contracting and procurement (C&P) community were recognized for their exceptional performance in fiscal year 2022 during the annual Head of the Contracting Activity (HCA) Awards held March 14 at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Vice Adm. Paul Thomas, Coast Guard deputy commandant for mission support, thanked the contracting and procurement community for their work, calling C&P critical in “helping the Coast Guard stay operationally effective.” He encouraged them to continue their use of creative C&P strategies in line with the Coast Guard Mission Support watch words: responsive, integrated and innovative. He reminded the audience, “Every one of our missions begins with a contracting or procurement action.”
Guest speaker Nina Ferraro, deputy chief procurement officer for the Department of Homeland Security, said the accomplishments by the award winners and nominees made it obvious that Coast Guard C&P “is working day in and day out to meet the needs of the Coast Guard.” She said the work being done by the entire Coast Guard C&P community is vital in helping the DHS Office of the Chief Procurement Officer meet its four strategic priorities to empower, collaborate, innovate and procure. “Your efforts are helping improve the entire procurement experience, for the customer, for operators, for industry and for the C&P community.”
HCA Keith J. O’Neill stressed how competitive the awards were this year. There were 37 nominations out of an approximate 1,200-member workforce for only seven categories. And the work was done on top of challenges created by the Coast Guard’s move to a new financial/contract writing system and efforts to improve the C&P environment, now in an extensive information-gathering phase. On top of that, the C&P workforce must work through the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I congratulate all nominees and I congratulate all Coast Guard contracting. I thank all 1,200 of us a thousand times over for what we did last year,” he said.
Fiscal Year 2022 winners:
Outstanding Contracting Professional of the Year (multiple awardees) – Allen Tillman, Office of Contract Operations, and Ebone Newbon, C5I Office of Contracting and Procurement
Tillman was recognized for awarding critical Coast Guard-wide contracts and agreements including the fifth generation over the horizon cutter boat and the dry suit blanket purchase agreement, with combined values exceeding $120 million. He also tracked over 66 procurement actions with values over $240 million and developed a procurement request package intake process for quality assurance.
Newbon was recognized for her work on the Infrastructure Managed Services blanket purchase agreement award, a $969 million information technology contract she helped guide from concept through award.
Outstanding Procurement Professional of the Year – Jeffrey Center, Director of Operational Logistics – Office of Procurement and Contracting (DOL-9)
Center was recognized for volunteering to lead a virtual team of procurement professionals, customer stakeholders and financial partners from across the Coast Guard enterprise to execute small purchases during multiple contingency operations. For example, through collaboration across the Regional Support Teams, he assisted in the tracking and execution of more than 201 procurement requests (PRs) totaling more than $519,000 in support of Operation Vigilant Shield and more than 154 PRs totaling more than $407,000 in support of Hurricane Ian.
Supervisor of the Year – Susan Ferralli, Office of Contract Operations
Ferralli was recognized for leading change by empowering her branch chiefs to innovate. Her guidance and support resulted in a successful streamlined acquisition for the Mission Support Integration Office Program Management Support valued at $85 million that touches all Coast Guard Headquarters programmatic support. Additionally, she provided key guidance for the highly visible Independent Verification & Validation $90 million action in support of the Assistant Commandant for Resources.
Rising Star of the Year – Bahar Cabrera, DOL-9
Cabrera was recognized for working as a newly assigned purchasing agent in an office that was experiencing a 30% vacancy rate of qualified acquisition professionals. In recognition of the personnel shortages, she volunteered to assume additional work and was assigned to support the Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA) mission; most notably, Cabrera processed a mission-critical weapons training contract that ensured PATSFORSWA personnel were able to maintain the qualifications needed to conduct search and seizure exchanges without interruption of operations.
Bridge Builder of the Year – Christopher Sibrel, DOL-9 Sibrel was recognized for providing leadership over all facilities engineering and management activities at the Coast Guard's largest base spanning 27,500 acres, while also serving as primary contracting officer’s representative (COR) for the Base Operations and Support Services (BOSS) contract for U.S. Coast Guard Base Kodiak – one of the most complex service contracts in the Coast Guard. His mentorship of 14 CORs and partnering among the entire BOSS contract team attained the highest performance levels yet seen from the five-year contract, reflected by a 15% increase in preventive maintenance completion rates.
Outstanding Contracting Team of the Year – Adam Birkland, Gina Sirianni, Gabe Perez and Wes Whisner, Shore Infrastructure Logistics Center
The team was recognized for successfully awarding the $30.69 million task order to support construction of a future fast response cutter homeport in Astoria, Oregon, on July 6, 2022. This project will provide facilities to accommodate the homeporting of two cutters.
Innovative Contracting Team of the Year – Chris Stine, Annette Berg and Doug Sansone, Office of Procurement Policy and Oversight
The team was recognized for establishing a creative data migration plan to identify, track and create new awards in the new financial and contract writing system, the Financial Systems Modernization Solution.