July 11, 2014
The winners of the Fiscal Year 2013 Department of Homeland Security Honorary Program Management Awards, including five teams and individuals representing the U.S. Coast Guard, were recognized during a ceremony held July 9, 2014, at the Homeland Security Acquisition Institute.
Personnel and teams representing the Coast Guard (five awards), Customs and Border Protection (three awards) and the Transportation Security Administration (one award) were honored for their outstanding achievement over the past fiscal year.
The awards ceremony also highlighted the progress all DHS agencies have been achieving in acquisition program management.
“Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has made improving program management in the department an important part of his unity of effort agenda,” said Acting Under Secretary for Management Chris Cummiskey. “The individuals and teams being recognized today are some of the best program managers in the department and they serve as a model for the rest of DHS.”
Rear Adm. Joseph M. Vojvodich, Coast Guard Director of Acquisition Programs and Program Executive Officer, acknowledged the high praise provided to the Fast Response Cutter acquisition project, recognized as the program of the year, and Lt. Cmdr. Drew Pearson, a member of the Asset Project Office staff and recipient of the lifecycle logistician of the year award, as a signal of department’s continued support for the Coast Guard’s program management community. He said, “It should make us all prideful that the Coast Guard earned the majority of the recognition within the large, vital Department of Homeland Security enterprise which invests more than $18 billion annually in more than 120 major acquisition programs.”
Vojvodich offered a hearty Bravo Zulu to the winners from the Coast Guard’s Acquisition Directorate (CG-9), which also included the CG-92 leadership team, and noted: “It is perhaps even more noteworthy that the broader Coast Guard acquisition community garnered prestigious awards as earned by Cmdr. Michael Nasitka for requirements engineering as a member of the Capabilities Directorate (CG-7) and Lt. Cmdr. Eugene McGuinness for systems engineering while representing the technical authority, the Engineering and Logistics Directorate (CG-4). For me, this provides further proof of the maturation of the Coast Guard acquisition enterprise.”
The following Coast Guard personnel and projects received awards:
Program of the Year – Fast Response Cutter. The FRC Project Team used “innovative methods to anticipate and mitigate risk,” keeping the project within cost and schedule, and maintaining stable requirements baselines, said Veronica Heller, DHS associate director of program management, reading from the award citations. Under the team’s program management during fiscal year 2013, four FRCs were delivered, a successful Operation Test and Evaluation was completed, and approval to move to full-rate production was obtained.
Component Acquisition Executive Team of the Year – CG-92 Leadership Team. The team’s accomplishments included successful completion of the requirements development process for the Financial Management System Improvement Initiative and the Polar Icebreaker and implementation of innovative business intelligence system-based metrics to improve performance and facilitate risk management. The team also established multiple processes to monitor project health and performance of approved acquisition baselines using a Quarterly Program Management Report Dashboard for both programs.
Systems Engineer of the Year – Lt. Cmdr. Eugene McGuinness. McGuinness was technical lead for the implementation and integration effort for the Coast Guard’s HC-144A Maritime Patrol Aircraft. “He expertly managed funding constraints, customer needs and expectations while maintaining a balance of cost, schedule, and performance throughout the HC-144A’s life cycle,” Heller said. In addition to operational site and technician training successes, McGuinness contributed to the integration of a solution used by 96 percent of all Coast Guard aircraft flight management systems as well as a life cycle cost avoidance of $10 million through decreased sparing requirements.
Requirements Engineer of the Year – Cmdr. Michael Nasitka. Nasitka was recognized for his leadership of the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Capabilities and Requirements Oversight Panel. He led the update of system requirements for the Offshore Patrol Cutter, which saved more than $1 million for reinvestment in the OPC design. “His expertise and application of requirement tools and tracking ensured that operator needs were met with effective solutions,” Heller said.
Life Cycle Logistician of the Year – Lt. Cmdr. Michael Pearson. Pearson was integrated logistics support lead for the FRC. He established logistics transition criteria, improved management of the Coast Guard’s spares and ordering systems, and successfully transitioned the FRC asset line from the Acquisition Directorate’s Asset Project Office to the sustainment community’s Surface Forces Logistics Center patrol boat product line. “The transition of the Fast Response Cutter asset line and establishment of the initial logistics support capability represented a significant acquisition milestone and will serve as a model for Coast Guard acquisition projects for years to come,” Heller said.
Other award winners:
Program Manager of the Year – Sara Schroerlucke, program manager of the Automated Commercial Environment Program, CBP. Schroerlucke’s “tireless efforts, strong team building and collaboration with stakeholders led to her being able to successfully address cost and performance issues and deliver capability,” Heller said. She applied an Agile methodology to help the program achieve Acquisition Review Board approval and to improve performance objectives and thresholds within schedule and at a lower cost.
Program Support Professional of the Year – Steve Nakazawa, integrated fixed tower assistant program manager for business, CBP. Nakazawa instituted a vigorous risk management process that captured and mitigated three high risks to the program. “His aggressive risk reduction strategy saved the program from a three- to five-month schedule delay and avoided performance risks that would have cost the department an additional $2 million to $5 million as a result of late product deliveries,” Heller said.
Cost Estimator of the Year – Brian Salerni, cost estimator, TSA. He successfully implemented the TSA Management Directive 300.20 on acquisition program life cycle cost estimates and coordinated TSA’s Life Cycle Cost Estimate Review Board. In addition to completing and approving six major acquisition program cost estimates, he created the TSA Office of Acquisition’s cost estimate tracking tool to focus estimating activities on the milestones of the highest priority programs and to ensure readiness for upcoming Acquisition Decision Events.Test and Evaluation Professional of the Year – Troy Fontaine, test and evaluation professional for the Multi-Role Enforcement Aircraft, CBP. Fontaine coordinated and oversaw the Test and Evaluation Master Plan, Test Plan, Operational Test Readiness Review process and responded to the urgent operational need for the early deployment of the Multi-Role Enforcement Aircraft. “His innovation, devotion to mission, and excellent coordination contributed significantly to the successful Multi-Role Enforcement Aircraft tests and early deployment,” Heller said.