Walla Walla Corps office wins national awards

Tracy Wickham won an individual award and the whole office shared another.

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WALLA WALLA -- Record-setting work by members of the local U.S. Army Corps of Engineers headquarters has garnered two national awards.

The awards to the contracting division of the Walla Walla District office were for the number and value of contracts executed during fiscal year 2011, said Gina Baltrusch, Corps public affairs specialist.

Walla Walla resident Tracy Wickham earned the Corps' 2011 Excellence in Contracting, Mission Execution Award for handling more than $60 million of the district's overall total of about $114.5 million in contracts during the fiscal year, which runs from October 2010 through September 2011.

Wickham is the district's construction and architectural-engineering contracting branch chief.

The entire Walla Walla District office also earned the Corps of Engineers "Head of Contracting Activity's Award for Excellence in Contracting -- Best Small Business Office."

The awards were presented during the annual Society of American Military Engineers Small Business Conference in late November in National Harbor, Md.

"These awards are a reflection of our great contracting division, administrative contracting officers, contracting officer representatives, small business deputy and so many others across the district that work tirelessly in support of the district mission," District Commander Lt. Col. David A. Caldwell wrote to employees shortly after he attended the awards ceremony. "This is wonderful recognition for the whole contracting team and I'm so proud of everyone."

Caldwell re-presented the awards to Wickham and Ruthann Haider, district contracting chief, during an employee town hall-style event Dec. 16 at the Walla Walla headquarters.

Caldwell said the contracting division achieved a "personal-best" record during the 2011 fiscal year for contract execution with 1,372 overall actions valued at about $114.5 million - almost 400 more than last year. The work included a 106 percent increase in contract awards to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.

Haider noted her team's efforts crossed district boundaries during late-spring and early-summer storm and flooding activity along the Missouri River.

"Not only did we do our own work," she said. "We executed 15 task orders for Kansas City District worth more than $6 million because their contracting folks were busy with the Joplin tornado recovery mission. As chief, I couldn't be prouder of my staff."

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