Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT October-December 2015 Contents can trace a bunch of choices throughout
my career that have led me to where I am
today. I’m glad I made the choices I did
along the way to get me here.”
What do you do in your position, and
why is it important to the Army or the
I oversee and facilitate the transition and
insertion of enabling technologies across
a $3 billion-plus munitions and arma-
ments portfolio. A large part of my job
focuses on identifying difficult or sys-
temic technology transfer inhibitors and
system-of-systems issues, developing
corresponding innovative solution paths
within the programmatic constraints and
realities faced by the Army and DOD,
and expediting the delivery of new or
improved combat capabilities to the joint
warfighter while also reducing long-term
life-cycle costs borne by the U.S . taxpayer.
How did you become part of the Army
Acquisition Workforce, and why?
As an electrical engineer with strong inter-
est in semiconductors, I started working for
the Army in the Electronics Technology
and Devices Laborator y (ETDL) under
the auspices of LABCOM [the predeces-
sor to the U.S. Army Research Laborator y]
back in 1984. I was an original member of
the Army Acquisition Corps.
What do you see as the most important
points in your career with the Army
Acquisition Workforce, and why?
There are severa l points in my AL&T
career that represent significant parts of
what I am and motivate what I do today.
First was working as a hands-on engineer
in the labs during the early part of my
career, since it gave me a good techni-
cal foundation—and one that I still use
today—as well as firsthand appreciation
of our k nowledgeable government sci-
ence and technology work force. Second
was working on ETDL’s headquarters
sta ff, where I was exposed to the program,
planning and budget execution processes,
gained a strong understanding of portfolio
management (and its relationship to peo-
ple, resources, facilities and intellectual
property) and greatly refined my oral and
written communication skills. Third was
working in the Army Systems Engineering
Office during the inception of the Army
enterprise architectures and subsequently
as Deputy Project Manager for Field Artil-
lery Tactical Data Systems.
Those positions opened my eyes to the
complex system-of-systems challenges
facing the Army and the correspond-
ing rigorous system-engineering efforts
required to solve these complex problems.
Additionally, I worked with then-COL
Harry Greene as his technical director in
support of six ACAT I and II programs.
Through word and deed, Harry instilled
an ever-present core value in me that
you’ll see on my email signature: “We
have two primary customers: the war-
fighter and the U.S . taxpayer.” Harry is
sorely missed by all who had the privilege
to know him.
Finally, in my current job as chief scien-
tist for PEO Ammo, I’m deeply engaged
in several major Army and DOD efforts
to solve critical problems that have signifi-
cant operational impact.
Can you name a particular mentor or
mentors who helped you in your career?
How did they help you? Have you been
While [I was] working as a hands-on engi-
neer earlier in my career, Tom AuCoin
(then deputy director of the Research
Division within ETDL) pulled me out of
the labs and onto the division staff via a
developmental assignment. When Tom
was promoted to operations director for
the entire laboratory, he made me a part
of his new permanent core headquarters
staff. He included me in multiple senior-
level engagements with the assistant
secretary of the Army for acquisition,
logistics and technology and the Office of
the Secretary of Defense for Acquisition,
Technology and Logistics, and empow-
ered me to manage and oversee numerous
high-visibility programs. Since becoming
a supervisor almost 18 years ago, I have
tried to emulate the mentorship best
practices that I observed from him and
truly enjoy providing career-enhancing
learning experiences to new members of
our AL&T Workforce.
What’s the greatest satisfaction you have
in being a part of the Army Acquisition
I get a tremendous a mount of personal
satisfaction working with a diverse, highly
knowledgeable, professional AL&T cadre
committed to doing good things each and
ever y day for our joint warfighters and the
U.S . taxpayer. I definitely enjoy my job.
What advice would you give to someone
who wants to get where you are today?
Don’t just stay in one job. Always learn. If
you stop learning in your current assign-
ment, it might be time to look for a new
job. Don’t be afraid of change. There are
numerous career opportunities across
the AL&T Workforce. Take advantage
of them to expose yourself to a broader
scope of functional, organizational and
topical subject matter. Find yourself a
good mentor and learn from him or her.
Be proactive with your career in positive
ways, since the best person to take care of
your career is you.
— MS. SUSAN L. FOLLETT
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