New executive takes reins of aviation engineering team
June 5, 2013
- "Processes are good, and we have to follow them, but when the chips are down, relationships are what run this business."
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (June 5, 2013) -- Jeff Langhout is new to the Senior Executive Service, but he's no stranger to Army aviation.
Langhout took the reins of the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center's Aviation Engineering Directorate in April and was appointed to Senior Executive Service May 16. AMRDEC is the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's aviation and missile center.
Before his appointment, Langhout was the Cargo Helicopters Project Office deputy project manager, which he had been a part since 2002. He previously served as chief engineer of the Cargo Helicopters Project Office, chief engineer for the CH-47F product office; chief of various divisions and teams for the Threat Systems Management Office; and project director and analyst at the Missile and Space Intelligence Center.
During Langhout's induction ceremony, AMRDEC director Eric Edwards said Langhout is the right person at the right time for AMRDEC and Army aviation.
"We're going to take a guy who's been supporting Army aviation, we're going to give him more responsibility, and we're going to tell him to move out and draw fire, and to continue to provide support to the aviation customer," Edwards said. "It's a big day for the Army, because, in my opinion, we're making the Army just a little bit better."
Langhout's appointment is both the culmination of a career dedicated to Army aviation and, as RDECOM director Dale Ormond noted, an indication of his potential.
"Jeff is clearly a solid engineer, a terrific engineer, who has not only demonstrated superior performance but given indications of tremendous potential to lead his organization and be a leader in the Army in a number of different ways over the course of his career," Ormond said. "(As an SES) you get a chance to sit at the table and helping to -- if you're not making the decision -- have a significant influence on the decision. It's a chance to really contribute to the future, and in our case, in the Army, how we impact Soldiers every day and what we're putting in their hands."
After thanking Edwards for the opportunity to lead AED, Langhout said the approximately 850 civilian and contractor engineering professionals that make up that great organization do not need a leader to come in and tell them how to do airworthiness because they know how to do their job and they're already doing it well.
He views his role as chief cheerleader and encourager with three main themes: take our mission very seriously but don't take ourselves too seriously, get the customer to their finish line, and continue to build customer relationships such that customers do not view working with AED as something they have to do but something they want to do.
"This world runs on relationships," Langhout said. "Processes are good, and we have to follow them, but when the chips are down, relationships are what run this business. To steal a phrase from a friend of mine, 'with budgets going in the wrong direction, we can either run to our respective corners or we can run together.'"
In terms of the Aviation enterprise, Langhout believes that if everyone were to run to their "respective corners," operations would be significantly degraded for all, especially the Soldier.
"We cannot allow that to happen, so that's one of the roles I feel that I play for this time," Langhout said.
Finally, speaking of relationships, Langhout thanked "the guy that changed my career the most," Maj. Gen. Tim Crosby, the program executive officer for aviation. Among the lessons Langhout learned from Crosby was the need for balance and to take the mission seriously but to not take one's self too seriously.
Langhout holds a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from Auburn University and a master's in engineering from the University of Alabama-Huntsville. He and his wife have two children.
AMRDEC is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers.
RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness -- technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment -- to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.