When Holly Watson, a contract specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Middle East District, first found out that she was receiving the USACE Contract Specialist of the Year, she thought it was for the district.
“I was happy and thankful,” she said. “But then somebody took me aside and explained it was for the whole Corps of Engineers. I was speechless for a few minutes.”
Watson completed more than 20 contract actions within six months in Fiscal Year 2015. She awarded a critical maintenance and repair service contract for a project valued at over $4 million, supporting the U.S. and Kuwaiti naval operations in Kuwait.
She supported the Project Delivery Team, which resulted in awarding a contract ahead of the scheduled date, and is known as one of the most highly sought after contract specialists by program managers within the District.
An Air Force veteran, Watson began working as a timekeeper for the District in 2009. She soon completed her bachelor’s degree and accepted a position as a management analyst. But, she said, she always wanted to work in contracting, so when a job opened up she applied for it.
“I’ve been doing this for the last five and a half years,” she said. “I do foreign military sales so I still feel that connection with my military background. I feel like I’m still doing something to serve my country.”
Lt. Col. Frankie Cruz, the District’s Chief, Supply Services Branch, said he nominated Watson for the award because of her work ethic.
“She’s one of the hardest working people I’ve met,” he said. “Not only because of the size of the workload she’s able to handle, but she goes above and beyond her normal duties to help people in the organization.”
Along with her accomplishments as a contract specialist, Watson serves on the District’s Employee Council and is a member of the Leadership Development Team.
Though Watson is pleased that her hard work was recognized, she is quick to deflect the credit away from herself.
“It’s very humbling,” she said. “There are so many people I work with who are doing good things, I’m not sure why I was singled out. We’re all equals, we’re a team.”