Congratulations to the top performers from across the Department who have excelled in travel program management within their organizations. Awards were given on February 28, 2023 to those who have successfully addressed issues with professional skill, creativity, and resourcefulness and who have demonstrated a remarkable level of customer service. This year’s recipients have earned the right to take their places as “the best of the best” in DoD travel program management. We celebrate your achievements in meeting the needs and exceeding the expectations of our travelers.
THE PREMIER AWARD
Michael Rodriguez, Financial Management Analyst Navy Region Southwest, N8 San Diego, CA
This award recognizes the individual who consistently satisfies the requisite duties of the Department of Defense Government Travel Charge Card (GTCC) Agency Program Coordinator, but also exhibits vision and initiative by identifying opportunities for Charge Card program improvements and acts as the change agent to implement those improvements in their organization, resolving obstacles along the way. Working with the Defense Travel System and GTCCs, Mr. Rodriguez provides customer service to over 2,000 military members and civilian employees from 11 major bases. He consistently informs travelers of training requirements and any changes in rules and regulations to ensure their travel card accounts remain in good standing and prevent any issues in executing assignments. He investigates transactions and finds the root cause of delinquencies, educating the travelers throughout the process.
THE ELITE AWARD
US Army Europe & Africa Help Desk Team
This award recognizes a local help desk team whose superior efforts result in continuous improvement and outstanding customer care.
The team completed several major travel improvement initiatives in FY22, including re-organizing V Corps, a CONUS based division, with the integration of various OCONUS command elements and assisting with establishing new DTS organizations for the division. The team conducted multiple training events to improve their skills as subject matter experts in their roles and responsibilities. They also created new hierarchies resulting in a smooth transition for over 6,000 personnel.
THE ICON AWARD
United States Marine Corps
1st Marine Aircraft Wing, G-8
This award recognizes a major command or agency whose strategies and tactics enhance their travel program capabilities for their subordinate sites.
1st Marine Aircraft Wing has 7,200 permanently assigned Marines and Sailors at any one time, along with 900 Unit Deployment Program personnel that rotate from the continental U.S. for periods of approximately 7 months at a time. Approximately 25% of 1st Marine Aircraft Wing personnel are stationed in Hawaii and an additional 25% are stationed on mainland Japan in Iwakuni.
1st Marine Aircraft Wing is the busiest Fleet Marine Force command in the Marine Corps in terms of both the number of trips and total dollar value. In FY22, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing supported and participated in 77 different exercises in locations including Japan, Guam, Hawaii, Alaska, Australia, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, and the U.S. These 77 exercises resulted in over 11,500 individual trips for a combined Temporary Duty (TDY) cost of approximately $29 million dollars. Overall, with considering both normal TDY and exercises travel, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing tallied over 17,000 individual DTS trips at a total cost of $35 million.
THE CHAMPION AWARD
U.S. Navy Keyport, WA
This award honors a Lead Defense Travel Administrator whose wisdom, guidance, and commitment to their Organization Defense Travel Administrators has made a fundamental and long-term positive impact on their travel program.
Havalah Noble is always available despite the challenges of working in a distributed environment. Timeliness in answering and responding to the team and customer questions has become a hallmark. Havalah Noble uses extensive experience to explain the importance of the Joint Travel Regulations in reviewing TDY authorizations and vouchers, teaches the mechanics of using the Defense Travel System (DTS), and demonstrates other tools available locally to ensure each employee succeeds while working independently. By providing thorough and complete responses to travelers and Defense Travel Administrator inquiries, Havalah Noble helps equip travel administrators throughout the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Keyport with a catalog of information on travel topics that, in turn, create better informed travelers throughout the organization.