Decision Gate leadership presented the program's first annual awards on Oct. 5 at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command at Fort Detrick, Md.
Dr. Kenneth Bertram, the principal assistant for Acquisition; Dr. Frazier Glenn, the Principle Assistant for Research and Technology, and Dawn Rosarius, the director of Plans, Programs, Analysis and Evaluation; honored eight personnel for their outstanding contributions.
Six years ago, Decision Gate was more concept than program. Today, it is a critical management tool that provides oversight of the complex process of medical product development.
Rob Steigerwald, the Decision Gate Coordinator, noted that "In the last two years, the Project Management Offices, the Research Area Directorates, and the laboratories, have made significant strides integrating themselves and their product development efforts into the Decision Gate process." "It was time to give them some well-deserved recognition."
Award winner Maj. Kara Schmid, a program veteran since 2006, has seen firsthand how far the program has come.
"[Decision Gate] has been long in the making," said Schmid. "I think the process has added a level of clarity to our projects and has provided our collaborators with more direction into what the Army needs and wants. I also think the process had aided us in getting HQ support and buy-in to our products."
Instead of solely praising top leadership, these Decision Gate awards recognize the superior effort of team players throughout a layered process.
"We felt it was important to touch on all levels - the staff support, IPT chair, the best briefer, the PLRC co-chair, the advocate," added Steigerwald. "Having natural leadership ability helps, but if they don't have that naturally, they can study and learn how to be a better leader, read up on it, attend Decision Gate classes and training, all of which drive them towards being a better team player and leader."
After considering numerous candidates, management selected winners from many areas and specialties - some seasoned, others new to the process. Yet one common trait amongst the winners stood out.
"Recognizing [that] you can't develop a product by yourself - it's a team effort, and you have to work together in order to get the product to our Soldiers as quickly and efficiently as possible," said Steigerwald.
And those team members, in turn, will be part of next year's award nomination process.
"Future award nominees will come from RADs, PMs, laboratories. We're going to reach out to them and ask for nominees," said Steigerwald.
For now, Schmid appreciates the recognition for her initiative and leadership.
"It helps me, at least, to realize that the HQ recognizes the work we are all putting into the [Decision Gate] process, even if we are struggling while doing so," she said. "More often than not, though, I feel like the weakest link on our IPT, so the award is more reflective of the wonderful members we have helping the entire process.
"In the end, I'm certain we all do our jobs because it is what is best for the Warfighter, and getting recognition along the way is a small bonus."
First-time award winners include: