WSMR’s Test Center Commander Col. James Winbush received national recognition when he was awarded the Army Acquisition Award for Acquisition Director of the Year Nov. 15 at the 37th annual U.S. Army Acquisition Award Ceremony held at the Pentagon.
Winbush who arrived at WSMR in July of 2012 said he was excited to be honored in such a way and said the award would not have happened without the team efforts he is a part of at WSMR.
“It’s the diverse mission set that we have here at White Sands,” Winbush said. “I’m just fortunate to be here when we have these types of activities going on. It’s just hard to duplicate somewhere else.”
“I know I didn’t do it alone. It’s also humbling because I know my peers and I know how good they are; it’s hard to say that the other peers aren’t just as deserving as I am,” he added.
Winbush was nominated for the award by WSMR Commander Maj. Gen. Gwen Bingham, who wrote an awards recommendation for the nomination. Over 220 nominations were considered for the 23 categories, 25 awards were presented in this year’s event due to a tie in one of the categories.
The event is held annually in an effort to recognize outstanding teams and individuals in the fields of skill, efficiency and dedication, within the Army acquisition realm. Winbush said he found out he had won the award on Oct. 1, the same day several employees were furloughed.
“It was great, I just wished someone (would have been here) to celebrate with,” Winbush said.
The award recognized Winbush’s leadership of the Test Center, which was described as “exemplary during one of the most demanding and fiscally challenging times the Army has faced,” on his award dedication. The award also highlighted Winbush’s unique role in leading and unifying about 1,500 engineers, scientists, technicians, and information technologists by creating an “Army Profession” program that sets the standard for ATEC and is recognized as one of the top implementation programs in the Army. Winbush said he tries to ensure the directors are empowered to do their mission by making sure he does what he needs to do in order to “make it work.”
“Col. Winbush has done an outstanding job of leading his team through a myriad of test and training missions since his arrival at White Sands Missile Range,” Bingham said of Winbush’s recognition.
“We are extremely proud of him and his entire Team’s superb accomplishments,” she added.
The award was presented by the Hon. Heidi Shyu, assistant secretary of the Army, Acquisition, Logistics and Technology and Army acquisition executive, Lt. Gen. William Phillips, Shyu’s principal military deputy, Harry Hallock, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for procurement, and Wimpy Pybus, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition Policy and Logistics. Of his 25 years in the Army, Winbush said this award has been his greatest recognition because it is representative of his efforts as a Test Center Commander. Winbush accepted the award with his wife Sharlene and daughter Sharisse by his side.
“These awards recognize our very best and acknowledge our superior, dynamic and dedicated professionals. Our central mission is to equip Soldiers so they can execute their mission quickly and successfully and return home safe. That’s our priority,” Shyu said during the ceremony, according to an article in the United States Army Acquisition Support Center website.
“It is a privilege to witness the outstanding work of our acquisition and contracting professionals and the work they do to support our warfighters. Today, we celebrate the achievements of our most outstanding employees and recognize them for their hard work,” she added.
Winbush said his award along with two other awards that ATEC received, Project Manager of the Year awarded to Redstone Commander Col. Patrick Mason and an Acquisition Excellence Award awarded to the Stryker Double-V Hull Army Test and Evaluation Integrated Program Team, speak highly of the command.
“In the Test and Evaluation part of the acquisition it seems that it’s not as glamorous as being in project management or contracting, (this award gives) credence to what we do in the acquisition part,” Winbush said.
As a final task while at WSMR, Winbush said he will focus his last year and a half on laying out priorities for the Test Center through several initiatives he is currently working on.