MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
A 6th Dental Squadron NCO at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, won the Air Mobility Command Dental NCO of the Year award.
Over the course of the year, Tech. Sgt. Aza Pierce, NCO in charge of the dental instrument processing center (DIPC), tallied up multiple impressive accomplishments.
One of her leading achievements was as co-lead of the 6th DS’ process improvement team, where her five member team instituted lean practices that remedied $1 million and approximately 2,000 hours in missed dental appointments over the 2017 fiscal year.
“I arrived at MacDill right before Hurricane Irma in 2017, and afterwards we began cracking down on why appointments were being [missed],” said Pierce. "After many hours of hard work, and patient feedback on how to improve the dental appointment system, the process was benchmarked by AMC."
As the NCO in charge of the DIPC, Pierce spends the majority of her time sorting, sanitizing and accounting for thousands of dental instruments used in the dental clinic. Each day, she can easily work with 200 to 300 instruments.
Despite a never-ending workload, Pierce was able to tackle her proudest achievement – completing her Master’s degree in business administration with a minor in human resource.
“To me, that was my greatest achievement over the course of that last fiscal year,” remarked Pierce. “Once I completed it I realized I had the highest degree of education in my family, and it inspired my younger sister to go back to school and pursue her Bachelor’s.”
Pierce’s pride in her higher education was also shared by her supervisor, Master Sgt. Frank Montoya, the 6th DS dental support flight chief.
“Achieving her Master’s is a huge feat, especially as a young technical sergeant,” said Montoya. “She’s tenacious; her ability to achieve what she did in her free time as well as completing her daily tasks and taking care of her Airmen speaks volumes of who she is as a leader.”
Looking back, Pierce said her inspiration was Chief Master Sgt. Kaleth O. Wright, the current chief master sergeant of the Air Force.
“Before he became [CMSAF], he published an article about how to get promoted, when and how to study, so I followed his words, and I still do to this day,” added Pierce. “He was a dental NCO during his career so his insights easily apply to mine.”
As the recipient at the AMC level, her award package will move on to compete with other major commands, to determine the best dental NCO in the Air Force. While she waits, Pierce aims to take care of her newborn daughter, Delani, and continue to lead and develop her Airmen to the best of her ability.