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NAVFAC Europe Africa Central Recognizes its 2023 Civilians of the Year

18 April 2024

From Anthony Cage

Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Europe Africa Central recognized its 2023 Civilans of the Year during a ceremony aboard Naval Support Activity (NSA) Naples, Italy, April 18, 2024.
Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Europe Africa Central recognized its 2023 Civilans of the Year during a ceremony aboard Naval Support Activity (NSA) Naples, Italy, April 18, 2024.

Luke D’Antonio, the facilities management director at Public Works Department (PWD) Naples is the Supervisor of the Year; Maria Lagjou, a civil engineering design manager at PWD, NSA Souda Bay, Greece is the senior civilian of the year and Alessandra D’Avanzo, a financial management analyst at PWD Naples is Junior Civilian of the year.

The NAVFAC Europe Africa Central Civilans of the Year program recognizes employees who consistently go above and beyond to make a difference through outstanding performance, dedication, and leadership among civilian employees.

"Your unwavering support and remarkable leadership in navigating through the most daunting challenges have been truly commendable,” Capt. Rafael Miranda, commanding officer, NAVFAC Europe Africa Central said. “Our recipients have exhibited to uphold the needs of the fleet, the warfighter, and the family has left an indelible impact on each of these vital pillars. Your dedication and hard work have not gone unnoticed. You all exemplify excellence in every endeavor. Thank you for your outstanding service; it is deeply appreciated and well-deserved."

D'Antonio led successful efforts to secure a $3.4M Architect-Engineering contract, fulfilling Commander, Navy Region EURAFCENT's requirements for a 2035 leasing action at NSA Naples – Gricignano Support Site. He oversaw the progression of the Navy's top Unspecified Minor Construction project for Fiscal Year 2023, aimed at providing High-Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse protection to crucial infrastructure aboard NSA Naples. D'Antonio collaborated closely with high-level leadership at Commander, Sixth Fleet, and NAVFAC Europe Africa Central technical staff to ensure comprehensive project scope development and alignment of funding. Additionally, his proactive engagement with region staff led to PWD Naples receiving approval to execute a critical apron repair project, ranking as the top approved maintenance execution plan project in the region for fiscal year 2024.

"I'm feeling really great about this," D'Antonio, said. "Being recognized by NAVFAC EURAFCENT feels incredibly rewarding. I've truly cherished my time here; it's been a fantastic experience. I want to express my gratitude for all the support we receive. Whenever we reach out, we're listened to, and without fail, we receive a response. Knowing that our requests are heard and supported makes a big difference in our daily work."

Since assuming her current role in May 2023, D'Avanzo has consistently managed over $2.7M in utility payments. Upon the arrival of a new colleague, she generously devoted her time to training the replacement while maintaining her support duties. Despite facing tight deadlines and significant staffing limitations, D'Avanzo efficiently handled a large volume of financial transactions, exceeding $70M for the end-of-year execution in fiscal year 2023. Her efforts directly led to PWD's successful awarding of crucial year-end design and construction projects essential for supporting mission expansion across installations. Additionally, D'Avanzo collaborated closely with counterparts at Commander, Sixth Fleet, and other supported commands to ensure timely receipt and expedited processing of various reimbursable funding documents, including in-house labor, construction, project oversight, and post-construction award support.

"Thank you for the recognition. I'm truly delighted," D'Avanzo, said. "This acknowledgment means a lot to me. Over the past seven years, NAVFAC has become like family to me; my second family, really."

Lagiou adjusted her work priorities to focus on a critical electrical substation special project, while ensuring pre-award tasks remained on track. Simultaneously, she effectively managed 27 construction projects in the post-award phase, reviewed over 100 submittals, and promptly responded to more than 50 Requests for Information. Lagiou spearheaded efforts to guarantee that stormwater drainage measures were appropriately designed and implemented to directly support contingency operations. She also developed plans for a tent camp to accommodate deployed task forces. Additionally, Lagiou swiftly reviewed civil engineering documents and confirmed that aircraft pavement met expeditionary exercise requirements in under an hour. Collaborating with the Requirements Branch, she contributed to compiling and reviewing the constructability of three Category III/IV projects. Actively engaged in local engineering societies, Lagiou shares valuable insights with fellow engineers and recently participated in the Hellenic National Conference.

Category III work requires no design and is not design-build. Category IV work requires no engineering or design and is not design-build.

"I am very thankful and excited to receive this award,” Lagiou said. “As designers working "backstage", it is very rewarding to see our work being acknowledged. Getting recognition for doing what you love is the best motivation! I feel blessed to be part of the NAVFAC family at Souda Bay and especially working with the ever-supporting FEAD [Facilities Engineering and Acquisition Division] team."

About Naval Facilities Engineering Command Europe Africa Central
NAVFAC Europe Africa Central manages facility project planning and design, including all related acquisition, construction, leasing, environmental, maintenance, and contingency support required by the Navy and Department of Defense commands where the Navy is designated as the lead agent in Europe, Southwest Asia, and the Gulf of Guinea, Africa, and the Horn of Africa. Subordinate Public Works Departments in Bahrain; Devesulu, Romania; Djibouti; Naples, Italy; Redzikowo, Poland; Rota, Spain; Sigonella, Italy; Souda Bay, Greece, provide facilities support service to each installation throughout the area of responsibility, and employs approximately 1,300 military, government civilians, local nationals and contractors.
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