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Marine Corps MWR Leaders Receive Top International Military Community Executives Association Honors

Release Date: 8/28/2006

MCB QUANTICO  -  Three Marine Corps Community Services executives have been selected by their peers for their outstanding achievement and exceptional contributions to the military MWR profession in the International Military Community Executives Association (IMCEA) Annual Awards Program.

Richard N. Milano, CMCE, Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff, Operations, Marine Corps Community Services, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Okinawa was selected to be the inaugural recipient of the IMCEA and Paul Reece Founders Award; John Van S. Nishida, Director, Business Operations Food and Hospitality, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, was selected to receive the Roy C. Olson Memorial Award; and Patrick M. Highers, Single Marine Program Coordinator, Marine Corps Air Station New River, NC, is the Marine Corps recipient of the Irving Rubenstein Memorial Award

The IMCEA Awards Program is designed to recognize outstanding achievement and exceptional contributions to the military MWR profession. Each year the IMCEA honors MWR professionals who have distinguished themselves among their peers through leadership and excellence in the conduct of military MWR operations. Each year, nominations are solicited from IMCEA members and selection of award recipients are made by the IMCEA Executive Committee.


IMCEA and Paul Reece Founders Award

The IMCEA and Paul Reece Founders Award, which was given for the first time this year, recognizes the efforts of those who are instrumental in establishing and developing active chapters as well as those who are responsible for membership recruitment. Richard N. Milano organized the Oki-Doki Chapter of Okinawa and has helped it grow to its current state of 176 members including Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force representatives. The initial goal was to offer a professional organization to all those involved with MWR on the island. This goal has grown to an effort to challenge the members to reach new professional heights with over 25 members being awarded the Certified Military Community Executive designation within the past two years. His vision, drive, and enthusiasm, as the chapter's founder, have made the Oki-Doki Chapter what it is today.


Roy C. Olson Memorial Award

The Roy C. Olson Memorial Award, presented to John Van S. Nishida, formally recognizes senior managers who make outstanding contributions to military MWR as evidenced by demonstrated leadership, professionalism, dedication, innovative skill, and caring. Nishida has improved the quality of life for the Marines, Sailors, and families at Marine Corps Base Hawaii through his motto of "build it and they will come. He has enhanced and expanded the MWR offerings on the island with self-storage lockers, golf course improvements, a new Food Court at Camp Smith, renovated Beach Cabanas, and a new Fun Center that will include batting cages, bumper boats, and miniature golf. At the same time the existing Clubs and Temporary Lodging Facility have been renovated and updated to provide the latest in Island experience for their guests. Nishida continues to seek out creative talent and more importantly, innovative ideas to meet evolving customer trends. He is leading, changing, and growing the business in ways that will provide overwhelming support for the military community at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.


Irving Rubenstein Memorial Award

  The Marine Corps recipient for the Irving Rubenstein Memorial Award is  Patrick M. Highers. This award recognizes one MWR professional from each of the five branches of the Armed Forces who has been in an MWR management position for less than two years, displays exceptional management and leadership skills, and possesses great potential for continued success in military MWR. Since assuming his position as Single Marine Program Coordinator in May 2005, Highers has remade the image of the Single Marine Program (SMP) at Marine Corps Air Station New River. He has garnered an unprecedented amount of "buy-in from Command, community, and single service personnel; resulting in record participation and sponsorship for the program. In addition to his work with SMP, Mr. Highers serves as the primary liaison for the Command for family members of deployed personnel.  In this role he has organized and coordinated over 50 family days and 27 homecoming events as well as the delivery of over 100 care packages to Marine Corps Air Station New River military personnel serving in Iraq and the Horn of Africa. 

The awards were presented during the annual IMCEA Awards Banquet on 16 August 2006. The Banquet was part of the IMCEA/American Logistical Association Conference and Expo which was held in Louisville, KY from August 14-17, 2006.

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