In his role as head of the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Logistics Department at Fleet Readiness Center East (FRCE), Stephen Barrow leads a team that tackles some of the most complex current and future problems within the U.S. Navy Enterprise. His quest for innovative, nontraditional solutions to a variety of challenges helps FRCE support current fleet readiness while preparing the depot for fifth-generation weapons system requirements and the needs of future warfighters.
Recently, Barrow’s vision and foresight earned him honors as the Navy’s top civilian logistician when Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics Vice Adm. Ricky Williamson recognized him with the 2021 Admiral Stan Arthur Award for Civilian Logistician of the Year.
The award recognizes both military and civilian logisticians who epitomize excellence in the realm of logistics planning and execution, Williamson noted in a message announcing the award winners and runners-up. The award recognizes individuals and teams who have enhanced operating force combat capability; advanced technology, products, services or processes; resolved major logistics issues; produced logistics innovations that merit adoption for standard use; delivered positive outcomes for joint operations; or advanced logistics capabilities that ensure warfighter dominance in a contested logistics environment.
“These awardees exemplify the importance of logistics to achieving the Navy’s mission and innovating across the … spectrum to advance our competitive edge over our adversaries,” Williamson remarked in the message. “My heartiest congratulations to all of our award winners and nominees! I would like to also extend my gratitude for the superlative innovative solutions that have resulted in quantifiable benefits to the United States Navy.”
FRCE Commanding Officer Capt. James M. Belmont said he was pleased to see Barrow’s innovative problem solving honored at such a prestigious level.
“Stephen has worked tirelessly over the course of the past year in driving and directing the MRO Logistics Department to find and deploy nontraditional solutions to current and future problems,” Belmont said. “He is driven, poised and armed with the complete understanding of how each effort impacts future actions, and has been a guiding force within the depot in providing real-time answers to our most complex problems.
“Stephen is a steadfast believer in the ‘art of the possible,’ and serves as a consistent role model in challenging the status quo,” Belmont continued. “His steady guidance and innovative mindset have ensured the command exceeds depot-level financial and production goals. I couldn’t ask for a more focused, motivated colleague, and I couldn’t be more proud to serve alongside Stephen and his team.”
During the award nomination period, Barrow has led the MRO Logistics Department in developing an innovative inventory tool that can quickly and accurately account for about 8,000 aviation components as they actively move throughout the depot; developing and standing up the Naval X Eastern North Carolina Tech Bridge; developing a diverse and collaborative budget with the FRCE Comptroller Department; and worked with the North Carolina Global TransPark in Kinston to accommodate the relocation and expansion of the depot’s Air Force H-1 helicopter line. Barrow also led the initiative to create FRCE’s Data Analytics Branch to improve data reporting accuracy throughout the depot and provided strategic guidance to the Beyond Economical Repair program, which has shown significant savings for FRCE.
Barrow said he was flattered by the recognition, but feels the true credit for these accomplishments goes to the MRO Logistics Department as a whole.
“While I’m humbled and honored to receive this award, it’s important to recognize that the real winners and ‘doers’ are my MRO Logistics teammates,” he said. “As leaders, we may assist by sharing a vision, providing direction and removing barriers to progress, but our people are the ones who make it happen – without them, success wouldn’t be possible. The MRO Logistics team we have at FRC East is one of the best, if not the best, team I’ve worked with during my career with Naval Air Systems Command.”
The groundbreaking solutions developed through the success of these team efforts have positioned FRCE leadership to make real-time business decisions with a complete understanding of future impacts, allowing the depot’s workforce to innovate and implement new ideas that will provide enhanced maintenance, repair and overhaul support to the fleet for years to come.
“The products and services that FRC East provides to the Naval Aviation Enterprise are foundational to the warfighter’s ability to execute their mission,” Barrow explained. “That said, with our rapidly changing times and the reemergence of near-peer adversaries, the enterprise as a collective is falling behind.
“Our current focus on affordability, rapid delivery of capability, speed and effectiveness requires a different way of thinking and doing business,” he continued. “The MRO Logistics team that made this award possible is a great example of a team that has embraced thinking and doing business differently.”
FRCE is North Carolina’s largest maintenance, repair, overhaul and technical services provider, with more than 4,000 civilian, military and contract workers. Its annual revenue exceeds $1 billion. The depot provides service to the fleet while functioning as an integral part of the greater U.S. Navy; Naval Air Systems Command; and Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers.