NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Program Support Manager (PSM) Jon Byrd was presented the 2021 Office of the Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment PSM of the Year Award (Major Defense Acquisition Program, Acquisition Category 1) by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Product Support Lisa Smith during a ceremony Feb. 24 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. The Department of Defense recognized Byrd for his contribution in successfully increasing the number of mission-capable MH-60 Seahawks available to the fleet by 10%.
Smith said product support management is a life cycle responsibility, starting with designing for supportability early in program development, through production and sustainment, to disposal. Effective and affordable product support solutions for the warfighter are the goal and are enabled with critical thinking, innovation and efficiency. The award, she explained, is a result of a more than 10-year journey to strengthen product support expertise and recognize outstanding performance of PSMs.
“The competition was stiff and you were selected as the best,” she said. “I am impressed with your workmanship, the results you achieved, and the importance you place on mentorship. It is an honor to present you with the PSM of the Year Award. Thank you for all you do.”
Byrd, who provided logistics sustainment solutions to the H-60 Multi Missions Helicopter Program Office (PMA-299) from January 2020 through December 2020, was responsible for 535 U.S. Navy MH-60R and MH-60S helicopters, associated mission kits and all acquisition and logistics support for 13 Foreign Military Sales cases. During his tenure, the community also saw material availability increase by 20%, the continued Supply Response Time of 98% during the pandemic for more than 950 MH-60 program items, and improvements in the reliability, maintainability and supportability of several components.
He was also recognized for his contributions that resulted in the award of two notable performance-based logistics (PBL) contracts during this period. Byrd led the Defense Logistics Agency’s $365 million PBL effort, which covers 955 consumables parts and has the potential to extend to 2,700 additional parts. He also played the lead role in the largest PBL contract award in MH-60 community’s history — $2.3 billion covering 950 repairable assets. He is also credited with instituting two Naval Aviation Maintenance Program changes, transforming readiness calculations and updates to the Maintenance Information System that affected every type/model/series aircraft across naval aviation.
His accomplishments, Byrd said, stem from an approach that considers the flight line first in any decision he makes ensuring that the solution is supportable before taking action. He also said these results exemplify how empirical data is foundational to understanding and meeting fleet requirements. “In today’s environment, it’s important to have all information available to make decisions that will make an impact — not just for today, but for the next three to five years,” he explained.
This, he said, requires individuals to be empowered in all aspects of their duties by leadership. “The workforce must be trained early and up front to be ready to step into next level of responsibility. An empowered workforce depends on leadership taking care of each member of the team and making sure they have what they need to be successful at their jobs.”
Success also depends on every team member actively pursuing all opportunities for personal and professional growth. “Naval aviation is a fast-paced, constantly changing environment. Each one of us should challenge ourselves every day and challenge others. We should look for and be ready to take on additional responsibilities. Be competitive and position yourself to acquire the knowledge and experience needed for the next level,” he advised. “We can’t rely on past accomplishments. What we did last year might not support today’s vision or tomorrow’s fleet’s requirements.”
Byrd, who retired from the Navy after 20 years of service and is a 15-year NAVAIR employee, was also recognized for taking an unusual approach to teambuilding during the COVID-19 pandemic. While he found working in a distributed work environment using DoD-approved information technology tools easier to multi-task, he sensed that several employees were feeling disconnected and needed personal interaction.
“We were restricted by social distancing, so I and two others from the program office set up a drive through in the Naval Air Systems Command’s parking garage so [those located at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland] could come by and discuss any personal or job-related issues or concerns they had,” he said. “The team never missed a beat and its level of response was better than ever.”
He said that while he is honored by the award, it was earned by the entire team. “Neither I nor anyone else could have done this single handily. I am just a recipient of the award that belongs to the entire program and all the folks around me. PMA-299’s confidence in me is very much appreciated,” he said. “The only thing I offered was leadership and a vision of where we needed to go with the program.”