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DOD award goes to Robins Engineer

Marty Sheppard holds a finished back plane used in a AN/ALR 56M system. U.S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp

Marty Sheppard holds a finished back plane used in a AN/ALR 56M system. U.S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp

Robins Air Force Base, Ga. -- Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Ken Krieg announced that Robins engineer Marty Sheppard has won the 2006 Department of Defense Value Engineering Achievement Award. According to Mr. Krieg, value engineering is a systematic process of function analysis, identifying actions that reduce cost, increase quality, and improve mission capabilities.

Brig. Gen. Andy Busch, commander of the 402nd Maintenance Wing, mentioned the award in a recent awards meeting. General Busch said he had recently been to the Pentagon, where there are large displays of value engineering awards.

Mr. Sheppard was surprised when he heard about the award, but thanked the rest of his team for their great work. Though it is an individual award, he recognized the work of the entire printed wiring board facility.

"This award is really for the whole shop, not just me," said Mr. Sheppard. "We're a team." The manufacturing engineering team includes Patty Causey, Brian Ledden, Charles Williams, Blake Ramey, Mike Wells and Ken McKinley.

Mr. Sheppard also thanked his supervisor, Mr. Gus Spurlin, for putting together the nomination package for the award.

Mr. Sheppard is lead manufacturing engineer for the facility. "Unfortunately, the number of manufacturers of military-certified circuit boards is dwindling. Where there were once many there are now few. And we are the only certified circuit board manufacturing facility in the Air Force," he said.

The project that gained the DOD-level award is a set of interface test adapters. The manufacturing engineering team works directly with 569th manufacturing shops, including circuit board, machine, cable and assembly, from conceptual design to delivery of the ITAs to the Robins software engineers rehosting their test programs to new universal test stations.

Enough interface test adapters have been produced to save the Air Force thousands of dollars, and work is under way that will save the service tens of thousand more.