AFNWC employee named Air Force Civilian Specialist/Program Manager of the Year

  • Published
  • By Aimee Malone
  • Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center
An Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center employee was recently named the 2021 Air Force Manpower and Personnel Civilian Specialist/Program Manager of the Year.
Mary Hefferon is the deputy operations officer for surety and certification in the center’s Nuclear Technology and Integration Directorate. She deals with a wide variety of manpower and personnel tasks in her job, ranging from hiring and training to managing nuclear certification packages.
Hefferon’s work on a wide variety of programs and tasks earned her the award at both the Air Force Materiel Command and Air Force levels.
“Congratulations to Ms. Hefferon for her outstanding accomplishments in leveraging flexibility and innovation during a time when COVID-19 impacted manpower and personnel operations in a multitude of ways,” said Maj. Gen. John Newberry, AFNWC commander.
During the award period, she synchronized five nuclear certification modifications, overhauled several inspection documents for six programs, and championed cross-functional unit training plans to help improve test execution, data analysis and reporting of nuclear certification to all nuclear platforms.
“I cut time off nuclear-certification package processing to help get updates to the Master Nuclear Certification List faster, benefitting nuclear-tasked units within Air Force Global Strike Command, Air Combat Command, and U.S. Air Forces in Europe,” she said. “In response to inspector general audits, I developed processes, metrics and training for six personnel programs, bringing the programs to success [level] within two months.”
In addition, Hefferon worked on a variety of personnel actions, including preparing for a potential furlough, configuring position requirements for dedicated teams of fighters and bombers, and evaluating records for the payout of bonuses and time-off awards.
Throughout the year, as COVID-19 continued to affect Air Force operations, Hefferon helped her team and customers maximize telework while balancing mission needs, such as coordinating travel for high-priority NATO nuclear-certification efforts.
Hefferon took on a variety of other tasks to assist the center, such as serving as the project officer for the Chief of Staff’s visit and backfilling a personnel position above her grade, ensuring vital hiring processes would continue.
The award also takes into account personal accomplishments, and during this time, Hefferon served as president of Kirtland’s Air Force Sergeants Association chapter, which won the association’s award for International Small Chapter of the Year. Her chapter worked with multiple Kirtland base and local Albuquerque organizations on the 9/11 remembrance event and volunteered for quality-of-life projects, including building wheelchair ramps for local community members and delivering groceries to immunocompromised and elderly veterans.
Hefferon is a native of Elizabeth, New Jersey.