MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
For over three decades, Marine Corps Systems Command has continued to deliver innovative, lethal and life-saving capabilities to Marines.
U.S. Marine Corps and Department of the Navy leaders gathered to celebrate top-performing Marines and civilians during the Acquisition Excellence Awards ceremony on June 28 at Marine Corps Base Quantico.
The principal civilian deputy to Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Research, Development and Acquisition, Jay Stefany was the keynote speaker.
“These awardees represent the highest level of integrity and innovative leadership to equip our Marines and Sailors for any situation they may face,” said Stefany. I want to say thank you for the opportunity to recognize our Marine Corps acquisition professionals throughout MCSC and PEO LS.”
Brig. Gen. David Walsh, commander of MCSC, hosted the annual awards ceremony. He thanked the award winners—and the entire workforce—for their teamwork, dedication and perseverance in equipping Marines over the past year.
“Our center of gravity is not the gear we push out the door – it is the people,” said Walsh. “It’s important that we take time to recognize the individuals who are in the trenches everyday working in this complicated acquisition environment to provide cutting edge technology and…to make sure our Marines get the gear they deserve.”
Lt. Col. Jeff Steinkamp, Master Sgt. John Phillips, Francis Bonner, Donald Kelley, and John Maurer set the bar high. They accepted the coveted Andrew J. Higgins, Eugene M. Stoner, Donald Roebling, Lawrence P. Kreitzer, and Col. Richard "Dick" Bates awards. The award namesakes not only designed, developed, produced and sustained several critical items that have impacted the Marine Corps, but also left a lasting leadership legacy on the command.
The recipients of these awards carry on the examples set by those for whom these awards are named – they personify professional excellence, innovation, and leadership.
Lt. Col. Jeff Steinkamp won the Higgins Award - presented to a Marine Corps officer – for excellence and innovation in supporting the acquisition or fielding of equipment to Marines.
Steinkamp serves as the product manager for Future Weapons Systems for Program Manager, Ground-Based Air Defense at Program Executive Officer Land Systems.
During this time, he led his team in the planning and execution of the Marine Air Defense Integrated System Increment 1 design. Additionally, he managed the execution of $165 million in 2021, which resulted in an obligation rate of 99.9%.
Steinkamp shared how winning this award is a reflection of his team’s dedication to delivering air defense capability to our Low Altitude Air Defense Marines.
“It is an honor to receive the Higgins Award. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by a great team of acquisition professionals who are deeply committed to our mission,” said Steinkamp. “My team leads, project officers, logisticians and engineers are outstanding and work tirelessly to move our programs forward. The program office leadership and staff members are highly engaged, provide sound expertise, and collaborate to overcome challenges.”
"It is an honor to receive the Higgins Award. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by a great team of acquisition professionals who are deeply committed to our mission. My team leads, project officers, logisticians and engineers are outstanding and work tirelessly to move our programs forward. The program office leadership and staff members are highly engaged, provide sound expertise, and collaborate to overcome challenges.” Lt. Col. Jeff Steinkamp, product manager for Future Weapons Systems for Program Manager, Ground-Based Air Defense at Program Executive Officer Land Systems
The Stoner Award, which recognizes a Marine noncommissioned officer, was presented to Master Sgt. John Phillips, the project officer of Topographic Production Capability Family of Systems and Geospatial-Intelligence expert for Command Element Systems.
His leadership, creative solutions and attention to detail led to successful fielding events and training of the Common Geospatial-Intelligence Workstation and Server Applications and a significant reduction in size, weight, and power in programs of record.
His requirements analysis was critical in research and development efforts for survey modernization.
As the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement Principal Investigator between the Marine Corps and the Environmental Systems Research Institute, Phillips was instrumental in completing the development of the Moving Target Indicator analytic capability and Joint Personnel Recovery Agency Tools – a critical component of the future battlefield.
Phillips shared how being a project officer at MCSC would be his dream job.
“This feeling wasn't selfish in nature, but rather the opposite, said Phillips. “I knew that my passion and technical expertise as a geospatial analyst would be an asset in providing Marines the very best geospatial intelligence system by translating operational requirements into tactical capabilities of value.”
He commended and thanked his team for winning the Stoner Award – he doesn’t know where they found the time to formally nominate him.
“To me, winning the Stoner Award is a true testament to the entire Distributed Common
Ground/Surface System - Marine Corps team and all of the hard work we accomplished together over the last three years,” shared Phillips. “As my time in the Corps is coming to an end, I feel truly blessed to have worked with an amazing group of people whose passion and sense of responsibility to the Marines is always at the forefront.”
Francis Bonner, the assistant program manager for Engineering for Ground-Based Air Defense, received the Roebling Award, presented to a civilian acquisition professional.
Bonner facilitated the successful execution of numerous systems engineering technical reviews and acquisition milestone reviews for Marine Air Defense Integrated System Increment 1 and the Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System. In August 2021, MADIS reached Milestone B.
Following an urgent statement of need, Bonner achieved the first system installation and acceptance in less than seven months for the Installation-Counter small Unmanned Aircraft System program – providing much needed survivability to a critical facility.
Bonner shared how he sees acquisition as a team sport. To be successful, it is important to have a dedicated team who understands the warfighter’s needs and the perseverance to make a goal a reality.
“To even be nominated for such an award, much less to be the recipient, floors me,” shared Bonner. “Because without my team, my colleagues and the top cover needed to stay focused, I would not be successful. I am only able to achieve with the support of my team and colleagues, so a shout out to them. To me, it is just work, it is what I do to make sure my Marines have what they need.”
Donald Kelley, the program manager for Ground-Based Air Defense, took home the Kreitzer award. This award is presented to an individual who inspires and motivates others by exhibiting the highest standards of leadership, courage and accomplishment in support of the command's mission.
While supporting Joint Urgent Needs, Kelley provided Marines in combat operations with state-of-the-art systems while leading the MADIS Increment 1 integration effort. This provided Low Altitude Air Defense Marines with superior Counter-UAS capabilities to address emergent threats on the battlefield.
Kelley attributes his award to his teammates in the GBAD program office.
“I am very proud of their dedication and ‘go-get-them' attitude regardless of the challenge in front of them,” said Kelly. “It is an absolute honor to be the face of the ‘best of the best, of the best, acquisition professionals within GBAD program office, MCSC and PEO LS. I see this [award] as more of a team award presented to the GBAD program office vice anything that I may have done. Without the team none of this is possible.”
John Maurer, the deputy portfolio manager for Command Element Systems, received the Bates Award. This is presented to an individual, hand-selected by the commander, for extraordinary contributions toward achieving the command’s goals and major initiatives.
With 35 years of acquisition knowledge and the desire to push forth systemic change within MCSC, Maurer drove the portfolio forward by using the newest Acquisition Pathways. His steadfast continuity was integral to securing the Multi-Channel Handheld radio contract, awarded worth $750 million.
“I'm extremely grateful to have won the Dick Bates award for two reasons,” said Maurer. “First, to have the Commander select me for this award out of all the many deserving acquisition professionals at MCSC is an incredible honor. Second, having worked with Dick Bates for many years before he retired, I have nothing but respect for the way he handled himself as a professional and grew the technical acumen of the program management competency here at MCSC.”
The full list of Acquisition Excellence Award winners:
Excellence in Acquisition Support: Nicholas Bluma, Naval Information Warfare Center-Atlantic, Ground-Based Observation and Surveillance System Team
Excellence in Command Support: Lillian Diaz, Financial Management Analyst, Logistics Integrated Information Solutions, PEO Manpower, Logistics and Business Solutions
Excellence in Command Support (Team): Human Capital Management Payroll Team
Excellence in Contract Management: Janice Weiland, Contracting Officer, Amphibious Combat Vehicle, Program Manager Advanced Amphibious Assault, PEO LS
Excellence in Contract Management (Team): Multi-Channel Handheld Contracts and Legal Team, PfM CES, MCSC
Excellence in Financial Management: Sherman Lessane, Directory of Managerial Accounting, Resource Management, MCSC
Excellence in Financial Management (Team): Director, Financial Management Defense Agencies Initiative Transition Team, MCSC
Excellence in Logistics and Product Support: Linda Wallace, Instructional Systems Specialist, PM Supply and Maintenance Systems, PfM Logistics Combat Element Systems, MCSC
Excellence in Logistics and Product Support (Team): High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle Sustainment Team, PfM LCES, MCSC
Excellence in MAGTF Engineering: Jeffrey Wade, Lead Engineer, Family of Ultra-Light Tactical Vehicles, PfM LCES, MCSC
Excellence in MAGTF Engineering (Team): Joint Light Tactical Vehicle Engineering Team, PfM LCES, MCSC
Excellence in MAGTF Information Technology Systems: Karen Ventura, Lead Systems Engineer, Tactical Entry Point, PEO Digital
Excellence in MAGTF Information Technology Systems (Team): MAKE Modernization Team, PfM LCES, MCSC
Excellence in Operations Research and System Analysis: Noel Bishop, Supervisory Operations Research Analyst, PEO Digital
Excellence in Operations Research and System Analysis (Team): Program Manager Training Systems Cost Estimating and Analysis Team, MCSC
Excellence in Program Management: Jason Gregory, Medium Range Intercept Capability Prototype System Senior Program Analyst for Ground Based Air Defense, PEO LS
Excellence in Program Management (Team): Fixed Site Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems Team, PEO LS
The Innovation Award: Calvin Gadsden, Asset/Property Accountability Manager, PEO Digital
The Innovation Award (Team): Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity Warfighter Support Division, MCSC
The Department of Navy also recognized several representatives of MCSC and associated organizations for their efforts in acquisition support. The 2021 Department of Navy Acquisition Excellence Awards highlighted the following individuals for their work:
Program Manager of the Year Award: Deborah Olsen, Program Manager, Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense
Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Medical Logistics Award Program Civilian Acquisition Professional of the Year: John Rosa, Senior Program Analyst, PfM LCES, MCSC
Copernicus Award, Maj. Ryan Ackland, Branch Head, MCTSSA, MCSC
Office of Small Business-Programs: Austin Johnson, Director, MCSC Office of Small Business Programs
Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition) Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers of the Year Award: Alexander Solomon, Future Weapons System Lead Engineer, PEO LS
Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition) Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers of the Year Award (Team): Lightweight Plate Engineering Team, PfM GCES, MCSC
Department of the Navy Information Technology Excellence “Innovate” Award: Logistics Digital Transformation Team, Logistics Integrated Information Systems, MCSC