NAVAIR Recognizes Logisticians, Excellence, Innovation During Simodejka Awards Ceremony

By Emily Strotman, COMFRC Communications Support

PATUXENT RIVER, Md.—The legacy of Michael G. Simodejka — who had a major influence in creating NAVAIR’s logistics community — was honored once again during the 15th Annual Simodejka awards ceremony, Aug. 12.

Simodejka is credited with establishing the first Logistics department at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, and was the first civilian director of the Logistics Competency for Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) in 1997. In 2000, his life was tragically cut short in a shuttle flight accident as he was traveling from Lakehurst to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

Subsequent to his death, the Michael G. Simodejka Award was created to recognize individuals and teams in the logistics community that have employed or developed innovative methods that establish benchmarks and models to be used as a measure of accomplishment for all future logisticians throughout NAWCAD.

Rear Adm. Paul Sohl, Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers (COMFRC) and assistant commander for Logistics and Industrial Operations (AIR 6.0) presented the individual and team awards during the ceremony, held at Lakehurst and via video-teleconference at NAS Patuxent River, and Orlando, Florida.

This year, three individuals and five teams were nominated.

“I want to congratulate all the nominees,” Sohl said. “We obviously have a very healthy and talented logistics workforce because there are great teams and great individuals.”

Two winners took home the individual award. Michael Redding, the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) assistant program manager for logistics sustainment lead in the Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment Program Office (PMA-251); and Jordan Schmalz, the deputy assistant program manager for the Naval Air Traffic Management Systems Program Office (PMA-213); were both named Logistics Manager of the Year.

Redding’s efforts led to successfully ensuring that the EMALS pre-commissioning unit crew was trained to operate the system prior to becoming the first EMALS crew for the USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78).

Schmalz worked with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army to develop a business case regarding the initial stand up of organic depot level repair capabilities for the AN/APX-118 and AN/APX-123 IFF transponder systems.

The Outstanding Logistics Team of the Year award was presented to the Integrated Logistics Support Management System (ILSMS) Development and Implementation Team.

The ILSMS team created an analysis tool and processes that are now standard across all Naval Aviation Enterprise platforms to improve readiness and reduce operations and support costs.

Simodejka’s widow, Pat Simodejka, along with other members of the family also attended the ceremony. She expressed her gratitude for the award and ceremony and noted what the award would mean to her husband.

“Professionally, nothing pleased Mike more than to see his team members be recognized for their contributions,” she said.

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