by Brian Lamar, U.S. Navy Public Affairs
For an employee who has only worked at the Naval Construction Battalion Center for three years, winning a Navy-wide lodging program Supervisor of the Year award could be considered an impressive feat. Adding the difficulties of managing staff during 2020 with the COVID outbreak and taking on several hundred additional quarantined personnel from the amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LHA-7), some could call Katie Brockway, the Navy Gateway Inns and Suites General Manager’s accomplishment just shy of legendary.
Katie was notified near the end of 2020 of her award as the 2020 Commander Navy Installations Command NGIS Supervisor of the Year during a COVID-friendly NGIS awards ceremony in front of her peers, employees and supervisors.
Brockway earned this highly-competitive award out of 71 Navy installations across the world. As an acclaimed overachiever amongst her peers and supervisors, Brockway was excited to be recognized for her efforts.
“It’s definitely thoughtful and kind and I appreciate knowing that my boss was able to see what I was doing and be like, okay, she’s not just doing her job, but she did it well and was able to exceed,” said Brockway.
According to Brockway, her daily goal is to make sure she doesn’t just meet a standard.
“I want to go about this job the way I did in school and in all my jobs before this. It is a really nice feeling to have that effort appreciated,” she said.
Brockway credits her success with the teachings of her parents. With her father having spent twenty years in the Navy and her mother working in civil service for almost twenty three years, she was taught to have a hard-work ethic by putting in the work required in order to ensure you meet the needs of the mission. According to Katie, her parents were a main driver in allowing her to push the boundaries of what she is capable of. She also credits her success to the teachings of her supervisor, Simone Callaghan.
“Simone always allowed me to ask questions and learn as much as I could while I was still training to be the Front Desk Supervisor.” Brockway noted. “She always pushed me to look at situations in a new way and to be open to learning about different things within the organization that might not pertain to my department.”
Not too long after Katie was in her role, an unexpected mission was thrust upon her. She and colleagues were woken up early on Easter morning with a frantic mission to find rooms for several hundred Sailors aboard the Tripoli docked in Pascagoula. The NGIS crew was tasked to not only house these troops, to help space them out to avoid a COVID outbreak, but they also had to revamp processes to protect the employees who were cleaning the rooms and find a way to feed the quarantined troops in their rooms.
“We had a job to do. It was important. If that meant pulling twelve to fourteen hour days for several weeks, then that’s what you had to do. It got to the point where we were happy to be able to go home by 7 p.m.,” said Brockway.
Upon receiving her award in a surprised daze, she remembered to credit her coworkers and the team she supervises.
“Everyone gave their best effort. This award is not necessarily a reflection of my work, but our work as a team. I definitely wouldn’t be standing here holding this award if I didn’t have an amazing team that had my back all year long. The whole team here were the heroes of 2020. I thank my supervisor for taking the time to recognize me and I thank the team for all of their hard work,” she said.
2020 was rough and presented many challenges for the NGIS team, but according to Katie, after all that has happened, she looks at it as a way to learn and expand on her knowledge. She goes into 2021 with the confidence that as a team, the NCBC NGIS can handle most anything.