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Housing flight, BBC win PHMA awards

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The 30th Civil Engineer Squadron housing flight and Balfour Beatty Communities here received a Professional Housing Management Association award for Outstanding Housing Installation Team-Privatized 2009 at a ceremony in Atlanta, Ga., recently.

The PHMA also awarded Ms. Deborah Buck with the Outstanding Mid-Level Housing Manager award for 2009.

The PHMA award was presented by Mr. Joe Sikes, the director of Housing and Competitive Sourcing at the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Maj. Gen. Timothy A. Byers, the Air Force Civil Engineer, recognized the winners at a separate ceremony. The awards are for any federal (including nonappropriated fund) employee or privatization or contract employee directly or indirectly supporting the housing needs of military members.

The award nomination for the housing team highlighted many accomplishments, but, according to Ms. Gretchen Swinehart, the 30th CES capital asset manager here, the most important include a monthly newsletter provided to keep tenants informed of events, developments and safety; 3,000-plus comment cards showing a 97 percent approval rating; as well as the development of an innovative and robust referral program for off-base housing listings, which allows members to access Vandenberg listings via the Web well in advance of arrival at Vandenberg.

"The award recognizes both (the 30th CES) housing and BBC as the best in the Air Force," said Ms. Swinehart. "It validates our efforts to provide top notch service and housing options to our military members and their families. It encourages us to continue our efforts to innovatively improve service, housing and the community in which our military members live."

While Ms. Buck was also invited to attend the awards ceremonies, she was unable to attend. However, she said it was an honor to be nominated, let alone be selected for the award.

"If I would have been able to attend, I would have felt like a Grammy winner," she said. "But I don't think it's anything I did alone. It was a team effort."

The PHMA is an association aimed primarily at contributing toward constant improvement of housing for military members throughout the DOD, said Ms. Swinehart. Members from every branch of service are part of PHMA, as well as many private housing companies, to include many of the Housing Privatization companies and other vendors with housing related products.