Giles wraps 36-year career

Giles wraps 36-year careerCHINA LAKE — Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division Comptroller Merrie Giles retired after spending 36 years working with numbers at China Lake.

“I came here in 1984 from Alaska, to avoid the cold. It worked,” Giles said. “I have loved my 36 years here. I would not trade the opportunities, memories, and relationships I’ve built both at China Lake and Point Mugu for anything.”

A June 29 flag-raising ceremony in front of the administration building at China Lake capped her career using a very special flag; Giles’ nephew gave it to her while he was on tour in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“It helps me remember those we are supporting and why we are here,” Giles said.

She began in 1984 in the Budget Division, creating and managing a Federal Information Process tracking system and financial management information reporting system, which earned her Commander’s Awards in 1992 and 2004.

“When I was deputy comptroller, I hired Merrie to be the budget officer,” said Jacqui Walters, Corporate Business and Analysis Group director. “One of the best hiring decisions I’ve ever made! Working with Merrie has been one of the highlights of my career at WD. She has taught me and others so much and has never held back sharing her knowledge.”

In 2006, Giles moved into management, serving first as NAWCWD’s budget officer and then as comptroller for NAWCWD in 2010. In 2016, Giles earned the NAWCWD Honorary Award for Business Management Excellence for developing the rapid Business Operations Management system tool, or rBOM for short. The data visualization tool allows leadership to track and contextualize data pulled from authoritative sources without necessarily needing to launch data calls, leading to its use outside of the financial realm.

Giles participated in two BRAC efforts, the union of China Lake and Point Mugu financial data because of moving to a Competency Aligned Organization, and five financial system implementation efforts across the last 35 years. That wealth of knowledge – and Giles’ “perfect mix of thoughtfulness and dynamite” will be missed, said Kristina LaSpada, who follows Giles as NAWCWD’s new comptroller.

“Merrie is someone who cares deeply about service to the fleet and selflessly serving her team,” LaSpada said. “There truly is no replacing Merrie; we will all miss her terribly.”

Pictured: Merrie Giles poses with her retirement flag and certificate at her social-distance-compliant farewell ceremony. - U.S. Navy photo by Paul Kakert

Story First Published: 2020-07-24