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Program manager wins DOD level award for work with Tanker fleet

Samantha Sumner, former program manager with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Legacy Tanker Division, was recently honored with the David O. Cooke Excellence in Public Administration award for her work with the KC-10 and KC-135 fleet.

Samantha Sumner, former program manager with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Legacy Tanker Division, was recently honored with the David O. Cooke Excellence in Public Administration award for her work with the KC-10 and KC-135 fleet.

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla., -- When Samantha Sumner was first notified that she had won the prestigious David O. Cooke Excellence in Public Administration award, she didn’t believe it. 

With less than seven years of experience working for the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Legacy Tanker Division, in a variety of roles including program manager, and logistics management specialist, receiving an honor named after the legendary Department of Defense civilian administrator – who served for more than 45 years in the Pentagon, under twelve secretaries of defense – seemed surreal.

Sumner was selected for the highly competitive award for distinguishing herself as the sustainment program manager for the Legacy Tanker Division’s KC-10 Program Branch. During this time she successfully executed $1.22 billion in sustainment support for the KC-10 and KC-135 fleet. In addition, she reported and executed an additional $33 million in end of year funds that were vital for KC-10 sustainment. 

As a member of an integrated product team, she played a key role in helping the team overcome numerous obstacles and provide resolution to parts shortages, decreasing non-mission capability supply by more than five aircraft.

“Samantha was an exemplary employee,” said Abbigail Pogorzelski, Sumner’s former supervisor in the Legacy Tanker Division. “She led teams, mentored interns, solved complex problems and communicated often with senior levels of contractors. I could give her any task and know with full confidence she would rise to the level of expectation set and deliver a superb product. She is a model employee and a tremendous asset to the Air Force and DOD!”

Sumner credits her time with AFLCMC as being crucial to her career development.

“I’ve had great mentors [at AFLCMC], that saw my potential, empowered me and gave me awesome opportunities and the ability to run things, and make decisions. I’ve gotten a chance to experience so much. If you take all of the opportunities that people give you and listen to them, and work hard, you’ll be amazed at what you can learn in such a short amount of time.”

Sumner recently left the Legacy Tanker Division and is now working as a program manager for the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center.

The official award presentation will be held Nov. 15 at the Pentagon.