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NEWS | May 26, 2023

USATA awards highlight excellence in calibration support

By Nicholas Janeway

Over the past couple of years, employees have learned to work, train and interact with co-workers from all over the globe remotely. While somewhat convenient for those involved, there is potentially something missing.

Supervisors from the U.S. Army Test, Measurement, and Diagnostic Equipment Activity found that something during a three-day, in-person training event held May 16-18 at Toftoy Hall on Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

Approximately 50 USATA supervisors met to discuss a multitude of topics that included property accountability, facility management, workplace safety and talent management. The result was an opportunity for learning as much it was for collaboration on best practices between supervisors.

For some supervisors, this was their first time meeting face-to-face in over five years. With such a large organization and mission, it’s often most convenient to utilize email and the virtual environment to get work done. However, it was evident throughout the week that attendees gained a level of connection to the command that cannot be achieved solely through virtual communication.

With more than 500 employees at over 40 locations around the world, including Germany, South Korea, and Japan, USATA’s primary organizational responsibility is performing the test, measurement, and diagnostic equipment calibration and repair support for the Army.

At the conclusion of the training event, USATA leadership, along with Aviation and Missile Command Deputy to the Commanding General Don Nitti, recognized employees who excelled beyond expectations with a series of awards.

“What you do every day matters,” Nitti said. “Being a supervisor is important. It’s rewarding and it comes with responsibilities.”

The awards program was created about 10 years ago by USATA leaders to recognize the unique capabilities that the workforce delivers to the Army. Nominations for the awards are solicited each year from a peer review panel. Individuals are then selected based on their contributions to the Army calibration program. The award categories highlight achievements in leadership, engineering, coordinating staff, and calibration teams.

About two years ago, they expanded the program to include recognition of the Army National Guard in addition to active-duty calibration teams.

Robert Branin, USATA deputy director for management and operations, said, “The field of Army calibration is relatively small and what we do is unique, so we want to recognize those who stand out among others in providing this capability.”

One of the two awards that stood out among the others is the USATA Director’s Award for Leadership. The award recognizes an individual for significant contributions to USATA and whose leadership and expertise have made a major, positive impact on the Army through outstanding service to the science of metrology and the exercise of TMDE calibration and repair.

This year’s recipient was William Wilson, USATA TMDE Support Center chief at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

The other standout award was the USATA Lifetime Achievement Award for Sustained Excellence in Calibration Support to the Army TMDE Program. The award recognizes individuals who have had a sustained career of outstanding service and contribution to the Army TMDE program.

This year’s recipients were Ehren Braun, from the Germany TMDE Support Center and Robert Herndon, from USATA headquarters.

Other award winners were:

  • USATA Individual Excellence in Performance Award: Steve Aguado, USATA Enterprise Support Directorate, Redstone Arsenal.
  • USATA Individual Excellence in Support Award: Chad Tarpley, USATA Management and Operations Directorate, Redstone Arsenal.
  • USATA Team Performance Award for Customer Support: TMDE Support Center, Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
  • USATA Team Performance Award for Program Support: USATA S1 Team, Redstone Arsenal.
  • Civilian Service Achievement Medal for support to USATA’s proof of concept exercise to deploy mobile civilian TMDE support to National Training Center rotation: Nick Herndon, Ross Breitkreuz, Rick Gutierrez, David Figueroa-Vazquez, Dan Peterson, Guy Denton, Dan Moody, Lucas Morales.