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Excellence in Practice Awards 2016

THE CHAMPION: Mrs. K. Straits

The Champion Award recognizes a Lead Defense Travel Administrator (LDTA) whose wisdom, guidance, and commitment to their Organization DTAs (ODTAs) has made a fundamental and long-term positive impact on their travel program.

This year's recipient is Mrs. K. Straits, Travel Pay Operations, Defense Finance & Accounting Service, for her support of the Defense Military Pay Office - Fort Rucker.

As the first installation-level Lead Defense Travel Administrator (LDTA) for Fort Rucker, Alabama, Mrs. Straits provided support to over 5,000 uniformed and DoD civilian travelers, over 100 Authorizing Officials (AOs), over 100 ODTAs, and over 30 Finance DTAs (FDTAs).  Mrs. Straits was applauded for her ability to mentor her fellow travel managers, for her resolve to work through difficult and tedious situations, for her commitment to success, for her infectious positive attitude, and for her willingness to exceed customer expectations.

Mrs. Straits' travel management expertise was particularly evident in how she engaged herself in Fort Rucker's centrally-billed account reconciliation process. She was able to build coalitions among the Transportation Office, Resource Management Office, Travel Management Center (TMC) Regional Manager, and ODTAs to resolve outstanding travel transactions. Not only did this ensure a timely reconciliation of CBAs, but it also relieved the ODTAs of the burden of reconciling problem accounts, allowing them to execute their normal duties more efficiently.

Mrs. Straits demonstrated her commitment to the installation's ODTAs by training, encouraging, motivating, and empowering them. Her efforts resulted in a reduction of voucher errors and improved the accessibility of customer service. She was lauded by the ODTAs and Command leadership for her Best Practices Workshop, in which she shared recommendations on how each ODTA could improve their areas of travel oversight while also encouraging peer-to-peer knowledge sharing. Many of the ODTAs implemented the strategies discussed at the Workshop, resulting in efficiencies at Fort Rucker's respective Commands.

Mrs. Straits was tireless in performing travel help desk support for Fort Rucker. She not only resolved customer inquiries swiftly and accurately, but she tracked her customer's most common trouble spots so she could provide targeted strategies to improve the installation's travel programs. She also implemented proactive strategies for her help desk support team, to include a rigorous training program, a robust site assist visit program, and a solid communications strategy.

Mrs. Strait's efforts at Fort Rucker and her unwavering support of its ODTAs truly demonstrate the essence of a champion.


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