The Excellence in Acquisition Support Award recognizes an individual who made significant contributions to the Maine Corps Systems Command’s (MCSC) mission accomplishment. This year, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division’s Antonio Zambrano received the award for his leading role in supporting a successful transition of the Corrosion Prevention and Control (CPAC) program.
At the request of the MCSC commander, the CPAC program was expected to transition from acquisition logistics and product support to program manager, supply and maintenance systems (PM SMS). However, when the long-time CPAC team lead retired, the responsibility of guiding the challenging transition was assigned to Zambrano.
One of the first challenges he encountered was managing acquisition. Although he did not have a background in acquisition, Zambrano was eager to learn and relied on his military experience – focusing on his time at Headquarters Marine Corps – in running the program.
“I’m not an acquisition guy,” he said. “I faced a significant learning curve in two areas: knowing and understanding the acquisition rules you have to follow under the acquisition process, and understanding the financial management and business rules involved with financial planning. I relied on my previous Marine Corps experience and knowledge about how to run a program at the enterprise level. So some things were really easy, but others were tremendously challenging.”
Another challenge Zambrano faced was overseeing several Corrosion Repair Facilities (CRF) scattered across the United States.
“We had ongoing operations at different locations throughout the Marine Corps,” he said. “Everything was not in a single designated location.”
Zambrano managed and coordinated military equipment repairs of four CRFs: Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; Camp Pendleton, California; Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii; and Camp Kinser in Okinawa, Japan, all of which were operated by contractors and government personnel. Under his guidance, the CPAC program repaired over 2,292 assets, extending the service life of equipment such as High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) and Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacements (MTVRs). Zambrano’s work saved MCSC hundreds of thousands of dollars on future repairs, and provided corrosion prevention solutions.
“That was the bulk of our repairs,” Zambrano said. “We dealt primarily with Marine Corps ground equipment.”
In order to achieve transparency within CPAC approaches, including how CRF managers should be addressing facility maintenance issues, Zambrano helped organize an inaugural CPAC summit. His efforts brought the CPAC community together to review an outdated Marine Corps policy that guided the overall program.
“When we transitioned, people’s understanding of their roles was unclear,” he said. “There was a lot of ambiguous elements of the order, and we wanted to prioritize the acquisition program, accounting for Corrosion Prevention and Control.”
After updating the CPAC Order, he worked with CRF managers to address equipment shortfalls and facility maintenance issues. Deputy Program Manager Tom Carmody praised Zambrano’s involvement, support and commitment to the CPAC program.
“Mr. Zambrano is a stalwart supporter of the Marine Corps, an expert in the CPAC community and a leader who provided sound advice and recommendations to PM SMS,” Carmody said. “Mr. Zambrano has been indispensable to the CPAC mission. He ensured the transition of the CPAC Program to PM SMS was transparent with the Fleet Marine Force with no loss of support. Mr. Zambrano is a tremendous asset to Marine Corps Systems Command and PM SMS, and is clearly deserving of this award.”
Now functioning as a program analyst, supply and maintenance systems program, Zambrano has noticed the improved support CPAC has received.
“I think overall the program is better supported,” he said. “One of the things we were able to do is grow the team. Marine Corps System Command recognized that they needed additional personnel in the program, and since then, there have been more people added to spread out the work, whereas previously, it was only one individual doing all the work.”
Zambrano, who has been working at Carderock since August 2017, said he is humbled to receive this award and thanked the Corrosion and Coatings Engineering Branch (Code 613) for their support and teamwork.
“I’m getting a lot of credit for the work of a lot of people,” Zambrano said. “It’s a team effort, and I have received amazing support from the command. Today, the Navy showcases its ability to provide support to the Marine Corps, and the expertise provided by Carderock’s Corrosion and Coatings Engineering Branch benefitted the Marine Corps mission.”
Zambrano received the Excellence in Acquisition Award on July 22.