By Frank Whitman , Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas Public Affairs
ASAN, Guam (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Marianas Inspector General Gloria Mortera has been named recipient of the 2019 Peggy B. Craig Lifetime Service Award.
The prestigious award is given each year to devoted professionals who best personify a career of service, selflessness and dedication to NAVFAC, the Naval Expeditionary Combat Command, the Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering, or subordinate units. She is the fifth NAVFAC Marianas employee to receive the award since its inception in 2012.
“This (award) is a reflection of Gloria's sustained superior service and dedication to the NAVFAC mission,” NAVFAC Marianas Commanding Officer Capt. Daniel Turner said.
As inspector general, Mortera is tasked to investigate reports of fraud, waste and abuse, and to coordinate all audits within NAVFAC Marianas. She credits her success to her no-nonsense approach to protecting the tax payers’ money.
“Years ago, a former NAVFAC Pacific inspector general said, ‘Gloria is a straight arrow. Don’t mess with her,’” she said. “I’m very, very thorough and I’m accurate.” Mortera has had, and continues to have, an exemplary career that began with the government of Guam in the mid-1970s as an internal auditor at the Guam Legislature and followed by her appointment as deputy director and then director of the local government’s Agency for Human Resources Development.
Her federal employment began in 1981 as a systems accountant with the Air Force at the GS-11 pay grade. Two years later, she took a position as an accountant at Naval Ship Repair Facility Guam followed by a jump to the head of the comptroller division at the GS-12 level. She then moved to Officer In Charge of Construction as budget and accounting officer and then to Public Works Center (PWC) as budget officer. She was later promoted to budget and accounting officer, GS-13.
She began in her current position as Inspector General in March 2012. Among her accomplishments, she had a significant role in the establishment of Joint Region Marianas. She was a key subject matter expert whom leaders across organizational lines relied upon to successfully transition $5.5 billion of Air Force real property and more than 700 Air Force civilians to the Navy.
“Gloria represents the very best of our public servants,” wrote NAVFAC Commander Rear Adm. John Korka in the award announcement March 4. “She has made a positive and enduring impact to the Department of the Navy by demonstrating unqualified and exceptional professionalism, dedication to the welfare of her organizations, and uncompromising compassion for her colleagues.”
Along the path to career success, Mortera has overcome challenges, beginning with raising five school-age children while earning magna cum laude honors with her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Guam. A year later she earned her Master of Business Administration. Four years ago, she faced a heartbreaking tragedy when two of her grown sons died two months apart.
“Even then, I was doing investigations,” she said. “But my faith in God is very strong and my mind is very clear. That does not mean that the pain is not there. I carry it with me every day I come to work; every minute it’s still with me.”
Her least favorite part of her job, she said, comes when an investigation uncovers non-compliance with set standards. “The toughest thing is when I substantiate findings and tell the subject, who I know of course, ‘You did not comply with regulations’” she said. “The initial reaction is they justify themselves; then the worst in them comes out. That’s tough, you just have to stand your ground.”
While the Peggy Craig award is Mortera’s most prestigious award to date, it is not the first time she has been recognized for her job performance. In 1985, she was Ship Repair Facility Federal Woman of the Year, in 1989 she was named PWC Supervisor of the Year, and in 1990 she was both PWC Federal Woman of the Year and Guam Federal Woman of the Year.
She has also garnered numerous outstanding ratings and quality step increases among other awards. After 38 years of federal government service and a successful career, Mortera is considering retirement although not anytime soon. “I really enjoy working here,” she said. “I enjoy thinking; I enjoy analyzing; I enjoy writing.”