Maria Macam, Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Far East Singapore Area Coordinator (SAC) supervisory contracting officer was recently named recipient of the Peggy B. Craig Lifetime Service Award.
The prestigious annual award, established in 2012 and named in honor of a longtime NAVFAC headquarters employee, recognizes civil servants who best personify a career of service, selflessness, and dedication serving 20 or more years with NAVFAC, the 1st Naval Construction Division, the Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering, or any subordinate unit.
Fitting that bill, SAC Public Works Officer Lt. Cmdr. Alex Rovinsky and Deputy Public Works Officer Dawn Szewczyk nominated her for the award to represent NAVFAC Far East.
“Since she was a young intern to where she’s at now in senior management, she is always open to learn and grow; she is very eager and professional and wants us (in NAVFAC) to grow professionally,” said Szewczyk, highlighting Macam’s depth and breadth of experience in the contracting arena. “She served in a big command like NAVFAC Southwest, overseas, she’s been in Asia and Europe, and she’s a wealth of insight to contracting and brings great ideas how to improve our processes.”
As a the child of a U.S. Navy petty officer 1st class Electrician’s Mate, Macam grew up stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, headquarters for NAVFAC Far East.
Macam’s pride is embossed in the fiber of her character and her dedication to her family to continue that Navy legacy plays a strong role in her service to our nation, according to Szewczyk. It is evident in everything she does and the lifetime achievement award is a testament that, she said.
“My blood runs blue and gold and our family is so proud to be part of the Navy tradition and family,” said Macam, whose career with NAVFAC began as a summer hire right out of high school in 1991. “We are an immigrant family and we are so proud to be Americans. That is what drives me to strive to better our NAVFAC family.”
Macam left her native Philippines at age 2 alongside her family and frequently moved as part of her father’s U.S. Navy career. Serving Navy families overseas has a special place in her heart, she said, as she too was once dependent on family services and those dedicated to supporting Sailors in overseas environments.
“These hospitals we build, these schools we clean, these facilities we construct and renovate—we support the Navy Sailor and their families—that’s why I do it,” the self-proclaimed optimist said. “What I do, what we do collectively as an organization, goes far beyond contracts I award and projects we execute. We provide service in support to our Navy Sailors and we dedicate our efforts to improving the safety, wellbeing, and the quality of life of the dependents they leave behind.”
Early in her NAVFAC career Macam supported major environmental projects critical to the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) turnover of Long Beach Naval Ship Yard (LBNSY), Mare Island Naval Shipyard (MINSY), Naval Training Center (NTC) San Diego and the Salton Sea Test Base. During her first overseas assignment in NAVFAC Europe, Naples, Italy, she was the cognizant contract specialist for Resident Officer in Charge of Construction (ROICC) Northern Italy, ROICC London. She worked for and later supervised the ROICC Southern Italy office.
During her second overseas assignment as the supervisory contract specialist in the Middle East's Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain, she oversaw what she described as a “challenging and expanding Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), Marine Central Command (MARCENT), and Army Central Command (ARCENT) mission as the base prepared for dependent return.” She also supported the planning activities to open Sheik Isa Air Base to aerial operations. Having supported and served the U.S. Navy’s 3rd, 5th, and 6th fleets in varying capacities over the course of her career, Macam said she finds herself full circle supporting the U.S. 7th Fleet her father once served.
She is currently stationed in Singapore where her father’s ships would pull in 40 years ago. She said she serves as proud member of the NAVFAC Far East team which is headquartered in Yokosuka, Japan, where she was once a dependent.
“I know what it feels like to stand on a Yokosuka pier as my father's ship pulled away for a six-month deployment,” she recalled. “I understand what it feels like to be a dependent left behind as we sent our Sailors underway into harm's way. And so I devoted the last 30 years, every day of those 30 years with that in mind.”
Macam said she was humbled and proud to receive this particular award because of the legacy of its namesake.
“Ms. (Peggy B.) Craig devoted her life in service to our organization and is an inspiration to us all,” she said. “It is an honor beyond description to be recognized and I aspire to continue to serve in whatever capacity I can contribute to NAVFAC.”
Macam said her next goal is to pass down her lifetime of knowledge to the next generation of leaders and NAVFAC employees.
“Maria has commendably served NAVFAC for 30 years, thriving at multiple field offices stateside and three overseas locations,” said NAVFAC Far East Commanding Officer Capt. Tim DeWitt. “In addition to her impressive contracting technical expertise and execution record, Maria's greatest contribution is her ability to better the people she serves with while improving the strength and resiliency of our command.”