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Coast Guard salutes outstanding contracting and procurement professionals with annual Head of the Contracting Activity Awards


The Coast Guard held its seventh annual Head of the Contracting Activity Awards March 12, 2024, at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. At the ceremony to accept awards are, from left: Front row – Petty Officer 2nd Class Marian Tauber, Yaisa O. Goodwin, Ann M. Leuters and Gloria P. Wright. Middle row – Head of the Contracting Activity Keith O’Neill, Ada Hoggard, Tobi E. Provenzano, Katherine M. Kearney, Ted Araya, Kate Ekstrom, Laura J. Lugo, Deanna King, Robert D. Boboc, Mei S. Chan, Yvett Garcia, Carol L. Burgess and Amanda L. Justice. Back row – Lt. Cmdr. Mark Sanchez, Chief Warrant Officer William T. Wall, Chief Warrant Officer Brandie Herring, Samuel Rhoades, Brianna R. Riffle, Kenneth S. Boyer, Marc A. Massey, Gregory J. Ducker II, Collin J. Hasenecz, Benyetta M. Jefferson, Carteralynn N. Ford, Cassandra Walbert, Linda A. Thompson, Walter A. Mack Jr., Megan L. Maday, Kehaulani C. Akanamiller, Courtney Baker-Williams and Bryan J. Butler. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Loretta Haring.

Eleven individuals and six teams from across the Coast Guard contracting and procurement (C&P) community were recognized for their exceptional performance in fiscal year 2023 during the annual Head of the Contracting Activity (HCA) Awards held March 12 at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. 

Rear Adm. Laura Dickey, Coast Guard deputy for materiel readiness, told attendees that the “breadth of experience and depth of knowledge” of those being recognized were a great benefit to the service since contracting is such a critical part of Coast Guard operations. She acknowledged that the work of the C&P community “often goes unheralded, but it really takes a village to get that fleet moving.” 

HCA Keith J. O’Neill said, “Fiscal year 2023 was a very proud year for all of us.” He said the competition for the awards was intense and showed how expertise and the use of innovative contracting methods is yielding the best results possible for the Coast Guard. 

Fiscal Year 2023 winners: 

Excellence in Customer Service 
Takira M. Floyd-Henry, Steven D. Powell, Chief Warrant Officer William T. Wall and Heather M. Wastella, CG-9121-1  

This team from CG-9121-1 met with their mission partner, Force Readiness Command (FORCECOM), more than 200 times last year to assist them in procurement request package development, resolve contractor performance issues and assist contracting officer’s representatives by sharing their screens to demonstrate the payment process in various systems to ensure timely payment of invoices. The team implemented customized solutions that align with the unique requirements of each mission partner under the FORCECOM umbrella. The team’s ability to anticipate and understand the needs of the mission partners has resulted in enhanced collaboration and efficiency. 

Excellence in Post Award Administration 
Kehaulani C. Akanamiller, Robert D. Boboc, Carol L. Burgess, Bryan J. Butler, Mei S. Chan, Linda A. Thompson and Gloria P. Wright, Operational Logistics Command (LOG-96) 

This team from LOG-96 is recognized for consistently demonstrating excellence in post-award contract administration through a commitment to meeting the HCA Metrics-that-Matter, serving as a role model for C&P professionals and providing support to the C&P community and mission partners through developing innovative new tools and training. 

Innovative Team of the Year 
Surface Forces Logistics Center (SFLC) Contract and Procurement Division (CPD) team of Stephanie R. Andrew, Taylor S. Cregan, Petal C. Donald, Yaisa O. Goodwin, Jennifer B. Lucas, Laura J. Lugo, Walter A. Mack Jr., Mia Alexis Mayers, Laura Ann Parry, Tobi E. Provenzano and Valerie S. Rivera Chase 

In response to languishing Contract Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS) reports and poor data quality reporting identified by DHS, the SFLC CPD established the CPARS Working Group consisting of geographically dispersed individuals from various specialty areas. Through superior performance and an innovative approach, the team dramatically improved CPARS compliance in fiscal year 2023 for both registration and evaluation of contractor past performance collection for SFLC. The team’s innovative efforts to improve the CPARS program resulted in reduced workload for operational staff, and recommendations to DHS created value across all agency stakeholders. At the end of fiscal year 2023, SFLC CPARS reflected 98.13% (22.08% improvement) for registration and 90.78% (22.27% improvement) for evaluation. SFLC’s dramatic metric improvement increased Coast Guard’s overall CPARS compliance. 

Integrated Project Team of the Year 
Team of Lt. Cmdr. Jon Benvenuto, Debra Chinn, Eric Hanson, Norman Malbon, Cmdr. Thomas Mansell, Lt. Cmdr. Troy Robison, Capt. Michael Roschel, Mark Snell, Nettie Straub, Kevin Suriano, Lt. Cmdr. Joe Trump and Cassandra Walbert  

The National Multiple Award Construction Contract III Unrestricted Pool spanned multiple offices and was integral in awarding this critical DHS Strategic Sourcing contracting vehicle by the end of fiscal year 2023. The multiple award indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract provides $4 billion of capacity over 10 years to support major shore construction efforts. The team effectively planned, engaged industry and evaluated over two phases, yielding this significant contract vehicle as well as award of the seed project, Recapitalization of Station Buffalo. 

Excellence in Negotiations
Deanna King, Office of Contract Operations (CG-912 Majors)

King is recognized for her extraordinary work in support of the national security cutter (NSC) program. Pulling from years of well-documented technical reports, she entered into written, telephone and in-person negotiations of post-award consideration for the delayed acceptance and delivery of NSC 10, resulting in $9 million in savings. That savings can now be re-invested by the NSC Project Resident Office for technical advancement through engineering change proposals. King’s efforts set the standard for successful post-award accomplishments, ensuring the contractor remains productive and accountable.

 Outstanding Simplified Acquisition Procedures (SAP) Team of the Year  
The CG-9142, Branch 2 SAP Team of Delton L. Brun, Brian J. Eichelberger, Amanda L. Justice, Ann M. Leuters, Megan L. Maday, Brianna R. Riffle and Mark A. Rushing  

The CG-9142, Branch 2 SAP Team maintained zero vacancies; achieved 100% certification, Electronic Contract Filing System usage and Federal Procurement Data System reporting rates; and had no protests or unauthorized commitments in fiscal year 2023. The SAP Team represented 40% of the total Coast Guard usage of the Unison DHS Marketplace tool and achieved a 6.7% savings from the estimated procurement cost. The team provides procurement request (PR) package review and outreach within three working days receipt and actively works with mission partners during requirements development to ensure the PR package is executable. 

Outstanding Contracting Team of the Year 
The CG-9143, Branch 1 Team of Ted Araya, Kenneth S. Boyer, Gregory J. Ducker II, Carteralynn N. Ford, Collin J. Hasenecz, Benyetta M. Jefferson, Katherine M. Kearney and Marc A. Massey  

The CG-9143, Branch 1 Team in Portsmouth, Virginia, consistently provides excellence in HCA Metrics-that-Matter and C&P customer service principles in all phases of the acquisition cycle. They improved efficiency and effectiveness by adding optional contract line items for critical Rescue 21 repairs using fallout funds at end of fiscal year. Their innovative negotiations resulted in a $15 million savings from contractor proposal to contract award. Their regular, detailed procurement planning conferences facilitated consistent and clear communications with their mission partner. 

Rising Star of the Year 
Samuel Rhoades, C5I Service Center (CG-9141) 

Rhoades streamlined routine processes by learning, implementing and providing training on the Office 365 tool suite, resulting in a more efficient CG-9141 organization. Rhoades was relied upon to ensure award of multiple late or unplanned requirements to close out fiscal year 2023. His efforts directly resulted in successful awards for three mission critical contracts valued at over $9 million along with all his other fiscal year 2023 requirements. He exceeded training expectations by completing all six of the Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting level II required courses for certification within his first year with the Coast Guard and completed the Mission Support Leadership Program. 

Petty Officer 2nd Class Marian Tauber, Procurement and Contracting Department 

Tauber is recognized for her efforts in support of Regional Support Team 5 and Base Elizabeth City. Tauber identified and acted upon multiple opportunities to make improvements to business processes by creating a comprehensive spreadsheet for cardholders to facilitate the transition of physical procurement documentation to an electronic form. Her dedication to duty, timely response to senior leadership, adaptability and creativity enabled the team to have a successful year. 

Bridge Builder of the Year 
Kate Ekstrom, Operational Logistics Command (LOG-92) 

In addition to working on pollution response casework, Ekstrom volunteered to work on several requirements across the LOG-9 area of responsibility to ensure mission critical needs were met outside of her assigned branch. Additionally, she submitted and won the Procurement Innovation Lab Idea Competition in the Streamlining Procurement with Technology competition. 

Supervisor of the Year 
Courtney Baker-Williams, Operational Logistics Command (LOG-95) 

Baker-Williams is recognized for her efforts supervising a geographically dispersed team of over 50 individuals and proving technical oversight to over 100 people that make up the largest Simplified Acquisition Procurement organization in the Coast Guard. Additionally, she led efforts to upgrade the senior field contracting officers from GS-12s to GS-13s as well as other initiatives impacting the LOGCOM area of responsibility. 

Contracting & Procurement Professional of the Year 
Lt. Cmdr. Mark Sanchez, Office of Resource Management (CG-9282) 

Sanchez is recognized for his outstanding support as the funds manager for the Contracting & Procurement Enterprise. Among his numerous accomplishments in fiscal year 2023, he recognized a significant budget shortfall and – leading a unified effort among CG-9, DCMS-RA and CG-833 – he identified and secured over $7 million in additional funding to meet goals and objectives established by the HCA. Sanchez also secured funding for contracting officer/contract specialist training, approved 47 procurement requests, 61 travel authorizations and conducted 22 funds transfers without error, culminating with a 99.99% closeout rate for fiscal year 2023. 

Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) of the Year 
Stacey Vavrek, Force Readiness Command 

Vavrek serves as the COR for the Training and Support Services contract valued over $100 million and oversees 10 site CORs. In this role, Vavrek submitted 72 purchase requests and processed more than 50 invoices. Additionally, she served a critical role in processing a bridge for the Metris contract, which is a function normally done by site CORs. 

Storekeeper of the Year 
Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Foster, Surface Forces Logistics Center (SFLC) 

Foster is recognized for his efforts supporting the SFLC Contract & Procurement Division Branch 2 Simplified Acquisition Procurement Section in fiscal year 2023, executing well over 2.300 procurement request packages totaling over $30 million in critical supplies and services for over 100 cutters. In total, Foster awarded over 500 contract actions, valued at $11 million. 

Contracting & Procurement Warrant Officer of the Year 
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brandie Herring, Operational Logistics Command (LOG-92) 

Herring is recognized for exceptional commitment to procurement planning, solicitation, evaluation, negotiation, award and post-award administration. She is one of two contracting officers on the West Coast who handle all pollution requirements for Districts 11, 13, 14 and 17. She provides training and outreach to her customers regularly. 

Contract Specialist of the Year 
Yvett Garcia, Operational Logistics Command (LOG-94) 

Garcia was instrumental in coordinating the efforts in consolidating multiple refuse and recycle service orders for District 8. Her efforts created a single contract for refuse, recycling, collection and disposal services for 41 District 8 locations across 26 states, which eliminated the yearly administrative burden of renewing individual service orders as well as the burden of managing invoicing and payments for the separate locations, potentially saving the government hundreds of thousands of dollars over the five-year contract period. 

Contracting Officer of the Year 
Ada Hoggard, Shore Infrastructure Logistics Center 

Hoggard was instrumental in leading the Civil Engineering Unit Miami contracting team to a successful fiscal year 2023 execution record and fulfilling mission support across a geographically vast and challenging area of responsibility. Stepping up for the unplanned gap in the senior field contacting officer role, Hoggard expertly guided the awards of 26 projects valued at $16.7 million in the last 30 days of the fiscal year.