Peoria contracting superintendent honored with Outstanding Guardsman in Contracting Award

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Lealan Buehrer
  • 182nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Ben Yeutson, a contracting superintendent with the 182nd Mission Support Group, has been awarded the Fiscal Year 2023 Outstanding Guardsman (Enlisted) in Contracting Award by the Department of the Air Force.

The award, bestowed upon exceptional individuals within the Air National Guard who have demonstrated outstanding performance in the field of contracting, highlights Yeutson's high level of dedication and expertise to the Peoria’s 182nd Airlift Wing and the Illinois National Guard. He and fellow Total Force contracting award recipients were recognized at the 2024 Department of the Air Force Contracting World-Wide Training Summit this April in Orlando, Florida.

The contracting career field encompasses all purchasing activities essential for an installation's operations, including supplies, services, construction, and architect and engineering services. This role ensures that mission requirements are met efficiently, providing support for various units, deployments and facility maintenance.

"For us, it's like sprinting a marathon every day, especially in the third and fourth quarters," Yeutson said of the demanding nature of his role.

With numerous requirements to fulfill, each involving extensive documentation and compliance with federal regulations, Yeutson's commitment to excellence was evident to his superiors.

“Senior Master Sgt. is the embodiment of service before self,” said 2nd Lt. Nicholas Marzinzik, a contracting specialist with the 182nd Mission Support Group. “He defines what hard work looks like professionally and personally—both at work and at home. There is a reason he continues to receive recognition by state, national and now by the Department of the Air Force levels.”

Col. Steven Rice, the director of staff – Air at Illinois Joint Force Headquarters. noted Yeutson’s ability to navigate the complexities of budgeting, procurement and fiscal accountability during the recent construction of the 182nd Airlift Wing’s new firehouse.

“This is a task that would typically require a team however we were down two fulltime positions,” Rice said. “So, despite being a one-man shop, he managed the contracting office’s responsibilities during the Wing’s fiscal closeout singlehandedly.”

With 15 years in contracting and 26 years in military service, Yeutson's experience underscored his qualifications for the award. Despite the challenges, including long hours and significant responsibilities, Yeutson's passion for his work remains unwavering.

For him, the job serves as a dual commitment to fiscal responsibility and facilitating opportunities for external partners.

"I liked the idea of being able to save our money but then also providing an opportunity for contractors to do business with the federal government," he said.

Providing high quality service was no small challenge.

Despite singlehandedly managing a workload typically handled by multiple individuals, Yeuston also oversaw the wing’s government purchase card program, ensuring meticulous oversight of purchases totaling over a million dollars.

His contributions weren’t limited to the military sphere. Yeutson and his wife devote their time and skill sets to community service, organizing and providing meals for up to 750 individuals during Thanksgiving. Through meticulous planning and fundraising efforts, they have expanded their impact over the years, exemplifying Yeutson's dedication to serving others.

Reflecting on his career, Yeutson emphasizes the importance of proactive preparation in public procurement, a philosophy that has guided his success.

"I think anyone can probably be successful in providing packages for public procurement as long as you train your customers and your individuals to be prepared ahead of time," he said.

As Yeutson's remarkable career continues, his ongoing legacy of dedication and service undoubtedly serves as a shining example of The Peoria Way.