Ever the Soldier, Rwakasyaguri Named 'Employee of the Quarter'
Dixion Rwakasyaguri with U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command's Office of Regulated Activities was honored as the USAMRDC Employee of the Quarter on June 6.
"I woke up at seven-o-clock, and the first text I got was from my director, and I thought – hold on, what's the fuss about?" said Rwakasyaguri, chief of the Special Products Branch at ORA, noting that he was just starting his day when word of his achievement broke. "I have to tell you, I wasn't expecting to win at all – it's very humbling."
Coworkers say that brand of warm humility, coupled with a nonstop hustle that's become his trademark of sorts, are Rwakasyaguri's most notable traits. A nine-year Army veteran who served the bulk of his time as a military police officer, Rwakasyaguri was previously deployed to Iraq as well as locations across Africa prior to transitioning to a civilian job at ORA in 2010. Once at ORA, he says he truly started to see the impact of USAMRDC –more specifically, how the command's mission translates to the battlefield.
"Even though I'm not in uniform anymore, I'm working on things – products that I actually have some experience with – that could essentially save a battle buddy downrange, and that is so rewarding for me," says Rwakasyaguri, who is quick to note the effort of the entire ORA team as a key reason for his success.
Rwakasyaguri's efforts in the first quarter of this year include providing much-needed regulatory support to USAMRDC's U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity on behalf of their naloxone auto-injector Emergency Access Protocol program. Naloxone is an opioid overdose countermeasure designed for use on the battlefield, and the product's subsequent development and acquisition effort – one headed by USAMMDA's Force Health Protection team – is notable in that naloxone currently stands as the only opioid countermeasure available to U.S. forces. Due to staffing issues, Rwakasyaguri served dual roles as both the ORA team lead and the ORA branch chief to support a range of regulatory requirements associated with the product; specifically the areas of clinical monitoring and safety in order to provide deliverables according to established timelines.
"Dixion embodies the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, and personal courage," says ORA Director Lisa Borek, noting that Rwakasyaguri's team never once missed a deadline during their work with the naloxone auto-injector. "His presence, character and intellect as a leader are complimented by his great sense of duty and responsibility to the ORA team, and the ORA mission."
For Rwakasyaguri, it boils down to consistency – whether we're talking about the work you do while you're deployed, or the work you do in a product acquisition role. The goal, he says, is always the same: the betterment of the Warfighter. Even now, despite the change of scenery, he is – and will remain – a Solider at heart.
"I keep telling my boss, coming to work every day – I still feel like I'm in the military," says Rwakasyaguri. "Every day I go to work I feel like I'm still a Soldier; the only difference is I'm just not in uniform any longer."