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NEWS | July 11, 2011

NRL's Travel Office Employees Receive Commanding Officer's Award

By Dom Panciarelli

Employees of the Travel Office of the Financial Management Division at the Naval Research Laboratory, have received the 2010 Commanding Officer's Award for Excellence in Mission Support. The employees were recognized for their exemplary customer support of the NRL travel community.

The nomination prepared by Ms. Sharon Weber, NRL Accounting Officer reports, The Travel Office employees epitomize the concept of customer support to the NRL travelers, most of whom are scientists and engineers conducting the core NRL mission, since the implementation of the Defense Travel System in 2007. They have distinguished themselves in making significant and steady contributions in all of the selection criteria areas that embody excellence in mission support.

The Travel Office under the direction of Ms. Linsey Bowie is comprised of Ms. Diane Thomas, Ms. Marlene Adams, Ms. Sheryl Davenport, Ms. Ursula Brundidge, Mr. Mark Buchanan, Mr. Jemal Pinkney and Mr. Chris Edwards.

The Travel Office was nominated for the award as a group due to their collective success derived in no small part to the combined efforts of all members. The group possesses a strong leadership, camaraderie and cohesiveness, and sufficient cross-training in the various facets of Federal travel operations.

The workload is immense; the Travel Office maintains and/or processes approximately 8,000 travel orders and 9,000 vouchers, including local travel vouchers per year in support of over 1,500 NRL travelers. In preparation for the newly mandated DoD travel system, staff-members designed and conducted hands-on training sessions for over 2,000 employees, including on-site training at NRL-Monterey and NRL-SCC. The Travel Office staff, while still conducting their day-to-day travel operations, provided over 120 three-hour training sessions. This consisted of preparing training materials, conducting training sessions and maintaining unbroken services to support NRL travelers.

The Travel Office established a travel help desk to receive telephone, e-mail and face-to-face inquiries. The help desk operates from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on a daily basis Monday through Friday but frequently maintains later hours to accommodate NRL travelers. The help desk accommodates over 3,000 telephone, 2,000 e-mail and 200 walk-in inquiries per fiscal year. Two computer kiosks for use by travelers were established to accommodate hands-on access to information. In addition to the wide-range of services already provided by the Travel Office, staff-members have actually made house calls to travelers' offices to resolve either technical issues or assist with the preparation of travel authorizations and vouchers.

As evident through the efforts of the Travel Office staff, they continue to generate numerous positive comments from both travelers and command managers attesting to the staffs' expertise, trouble-shooting skills and fine customer service, providing them with one less worry in their travel experience. This provides the scientists and engineers with more time to dedicate to the important programs they manage for the Navy. It is a great pleasure to have such a dedicated group of people, concluded Ms. Weber.

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