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News | March 7, 2024

Top Performers Recognized for Excellence in Practice Awards at GovTravels 2024

On February 28, 2024, the Defense Travel Management Office presented this year’s Excellence in Practice Awards to DoD top travel managers who addressed issues with professional skill, creativity, and resourcefulness and demonstrated a remarkable level of customer service. Award winners were honored at an awards ceremony at the 2024 GovTravels Symposium held at in Alexandria, VA. If you would like to recognize a top performer, we issue a call for nominations in September.
Congratulations to this year’s winners!

The Premier Award | Ms. Aymee Perez

Agency Program Coordinator, Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic, North Charleston, SC

This award recognizes an DoD Government Travel Charge Card (GTCC) Agency Program Coordinator (APC) who consistently exceeds the role’s requisite duties,  exhibits vision and initiative by identifying opportunities for program improvements, and acts as the change agent to implement those improvements, resolving any obstacles along the way. This year’s winner, Ms. Aymee Perez provides customer service to over 4,000 Service members and civilian employees tasked with advancing technology for the warfighter. She consistently informs travelers of training requirements, policies, procedures, and regulations as well as relevant local Command instructions to ensure account holders are educated and their cards remain in good standing. Through Ms. Perez’s diligent efforts, the Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic’s GTCC delinquency rate is less than 0.2%.

The Champion Award | Mr. Lawrence A. Romua

Marine Corps Air Station New River, Jacksonville, NC

This award honors a Lead Defense Travel Administrator (DTA) whose wisdom, guidance, and commitment has made a fundamental and long-term positive impact on their organization’s travel program. This year’s winner, Mr. Lawrence Romua goes above and beyond to ensure the DTAs in his parent units and forward-deployed squadrons are successful. Using his extensive knowledge, he ensures urgent and common trends throughout his area of responsibility are known and develops classes, handouts, and unit-specific reports to subordinate DTAs as well as Commanding Officers and Senior Enlisted Advisors. By providing thorough and complete information, Mr. Romua helps equip travel administrators through the Marine Corps Air Station with a myriad of information on travel topics that create better informed travelers throughout the organization.

The Elite Award | 179th Comptroller Flight Travel Pay Team Help Desk

SrA Sydnee Detlef, SrA Coy Vantilburg, TSgt Alec Keen, MSgt Vanessa Oswalt, MSgt Melissa Wirick, and Mr. Casey Meeson, Lahm Air National Guard Base Mansfield, Ohio

This award recognizes a local help desk team whose superior efforts result in continuous improvement and outstanding customer care. This year’s winning team, 179th Comptroller Flight Travel Pay Team Help Desk, completed several major travel improvements by leveraging the use of Microsoft Teams and creating a tracker to ensure the Agency Program Coordinator and the Financial Management Travel Team could simultaneously research and contact travelers whose GTCCs were at risk of becoming delinquent. This effort led the command to achieve a 1.8% overall delinquency rate for FY23. Furthermore, the team processed thousands of authorizations and vouchers with an average processing time of 4.89 days. Of note, only four compliance tool errors were identified for the entire fiscal year 2023. As an effort to educate travelers, the team created and facilitated training for 'How to Create an Authorization' that has since been utilized across the entire Air Wing unit.

The Icon Award | Defense Health Agency Headquarters, Chief of Staff Business Support Office Team

Ms. Vanessa Brenes, Mrs. Angela Anderson, Mr. Sanjeev Malhotra, and Mr. Omar Elabed, Falls Church, VA

This award recognizes a major command or agency whose strategies and tactics enhance their travel program capabilities for their subordinate sites. This year’s winner, the Business Support Office, manages the official travel program for over 2,150 military and civilian staff, overseeing a $2.3 million travel budget processing 1,554 travel authorizations, and closing the year with zero undisbursed Defense Travel System and General Fund Enterprise Business System authorizations and vouchers. Together, the Resource Management team and the Lead Defense Administrator employ a robust training and communication plan. They engage stakeholders by providing updates on critical changes impacting travel authorizations, vouchers, and what actions to take in each scenario. The team also provides one-on-one training to support personnel requesting routine or additional support, mini-group sessions to directly pair audiences with their own content and creates documents rich in information providing 24/7 accessibility.