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USASAC's employee of the year leads by example


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NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. -- At a recent employee recognition ceremony, the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command named its "Employee of the Year" for fiscal 2012. That selection came as a surprise to the recipient, Karen Hudson. 

Hudson, who was promoted in July to her current position as the branch chief for USASAC's CENTCOM Central Case Management Division in the New Cumberland office, said she is honored by the decision. 

"Achieving this supervisor position … to me, that was enough recognition," she said. "I really appreciate that my leadership thought enough of me to select me (as 'Employee of the Year')."

In her prior position as a central case manager, she oversaw foreign military sales cases that generated 8,000 requisitions in FY '12 on high-visibility programs in the CENTCOM area of responsibility. As part of that job, she was responsible for monitoring the on-time delivery of products and resolving potential shipment issues. She faced requests to ensure Iraqis received the items they needed in order to make them more self-sufficient in response to U.S. troop pullout from their country. Hudson and her team members were also challenged with procuring training items on a short, two month deadline -- which they met.

The leadership displayed during that time earned Hudson a nomination and selection as USASAC's "Employee of the Quarter" for the second quarter of FY '12, which automatically placed her in the running for "Employee of the Year."

"I believe I had proven myself, as a case manager, to be a good team leader," she said, "and that led me to my job as a supervisor."

Now as a supervisor, Hudson oversees a team of 16 employees working on FMS cases for Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Arabian National Guard, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Lebanon and Oman. The job also provides the chance for her to lead by example, which she credits for her success.

"I try so hard to pass on to my branch that you need to respect the people around you at every level," she said. "You have to take advantage of the experience in the office and learn from each other."

"Karen constantly stressed the importance and value of open communication and teamwork," said Sarah Bean, a central case manager at USASAC-New Cumberland who worked with Hudson on the Iraq program. "She would make it a point to involve the entire team on issues and valued any input or experience that was provided."

Hudson, who has worked for the government for 33 years (20 years of that time at USASAC), said she is still learning new things.

"FMS can't be learned in a day, a week or a month. It takes years of experience," she said. "I've had my hand in a lot of different areas in FMS case management, and I think that helps me see the whole picture."

Bean said Hudson would encourage her to ask questions in order to understand the entire FMS process.

"She provided the insight and information on anything that was asked," Bean said. "The knowledge and experience I gained from working on her team contributed immensely to the central case manager I have become."

USASAC's New Cumberland office is responsible for the execution of FMS cases and acquisition of materiel for foreign countries in the Army's FMS program. A key attribute of the command is building relationships with other nations. But Hudson believes that extends to her team and other co-workers in the Security Assistance Enterprise as well.

"Our work depends on building relationships," she said. "We're all working toward the same goal of providing our customers a product or service."

"Karen built a strong rapport with many individuals on the Iraq program who were willing to assist her in any way that they could," Bean said, "because they knew she would do the same in return."

A link to the article is available here.