Aviation Exec Leaves on High Point
December 10, 2008
It has been said that to be a leader, you have to serve. No one embodies that statement more than Paul Bogosian. After more than 35 years of federal service, Bogosian, the program executive officer for aviation, will retire.
"Paul has been the steadfast proponent for Army aviation acquisition," said Brig. Gen. Tim Crosby, deputy program executive officer for aviation. Crosby will take the reins from Bogosian in a change of charter ceremony Friday.
Drafted out of graduate school in 1972, in the last draft call during the Vietnam War, Bogosian served for two years as a company administrative clerk. After his tour, he returned to the University of Georgia to take graduate and doctorate level studies in English Literature.
Bogosian describes his beginnings in government civil service as happenstance.
"For me I always had a natural aptitude for taking standardized tests as a student," he said. "A friend offered to buy me breakfast if I would go with him to take the Government PACE (Professional and Administrative Career Exam)."
From there the rest is history. Bogosian did so well on the test that several federal government organizations offered him a job. He left graduate school at Georgia to take a job as a Training and Doctrine Command intern at Fort Benning, Ga., choosing the job based on the location in the South.
"I started out in contracting as a GS-5 with no aspirations other than to be a GS-9," Bogosian said. It was there at the lowest level he learned an appreciation for the business of government.
He describes his beginnings as a tremendous opportunity because it was a small office where he was allowed the opportunity to learn. "Those typical 'little old ladies in tennis shoes' did a wonderful job of taking a pretty unseasoned, inexperienced kid out of graduate school and turning him into someone who could actually do a job."
He said it wasn't until after a series of opportunities that he began his aviation career in 1985 at Fort Eustis, Va., at the then Aviation Applied Technology Directorate. Reflecting back on his time there, Bogosian said the first thing he purchased was an Air Ground Power Unit for the first fielding of an Apache battalion. It would be later in his career that he would speak at the rollout ceremony of the first Apache Longbow and in more recent years he has seen the rollout of the 501st Apache Longbow.
For Bogosian, that is one of the things he is most proud of in his 25 years of Army aviation service. "That's been the most gratifying part, that sense of continuity, of seeing things over time and then realizing the commitment that the people in this community bring to the Army and specifically Army aviation," he said. "It's that sense of obligation, continuing a level of performance and ensuring that Army aviators of any generation have the very best possible equipment and support in combat operations."
Bogosian went on to work in aviation at the Aviation and Troop Command in St. Louis in 1993 where he became a member of the Senior Executive Service and served as the executive director of the Acquisition Center. He recalls that it was on the eve of the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Act announcement that the then PEO Aviation, Maj. Gen. 'T' Irby, asked him to be the deputy program executive. Shortly thereafter, Irby retired and Bogosian served as the acting PEO, leading the organization during its move from St. Louis to Huntsville.
"My wife and I are from this part of the country, so this was very much a homecoming for us," Bogosian, who grew up in Augusta, Ga., said.
Upon the establishment of the PEO in Huntsville in 1997, Bogosian returned to the deputy's position and served thereafter under Maj. Gen. Jim Snider and Maj. Gen. Joe Bergantz.
Bergantz, who works in the area as the president and general manager of Mantech-SES, credits Bogosian's contracting background for saving the government and taxpayers' money through the use of multi-year contracts. "I learned a lot about contracting from him," Bergantz said. "He was a wealth of information on how we should structure acquisition and contracting strategy."
In 2004, Bogosian became the PEO Aviation where he has led the organization through the cancellation of the Comanche and the reinvestment of those dollars into new aviation platforms including the UH-60M Black Hawk, CH-47F Chinook, Apache Block III and the new Light Utility Helicopter, SkyWarrior Unmanned Aircraft System and Joint Cargo Aircraft.
"I left Paul in the midst of the Comanche cancellation," Bergantz said. "He was able to successfully convert those dollars into very relevant aviation platforms for theater."
With almost 2.7 million combat hours flown in Iraq and Afghanistan, Crosby feels Bogosian's role has been vital to Army aviation. "His legacy as PEO will be the success of Army aviation in the support of the global war on terrorism," Crosby said.
Throughout the greater part of his civil service, Bogosian said it has been the dedicated aviation work force that's made his job worthwhile, citing the fact that he has worked with Vietnam-era aviators and now their children, who have also been aviators. "The most meaningful part has been my association with the Army aviation community for the number of years that I have," he said.
In reflection, when asked why retire, Bogosian said that being the PEO has been the ultimate culmination of his career and he wanted to go out on that high point. "I can't imagine any other job," he said. "It's my time to move on so others have the opportunity to step in and bring their gifts to Army aviation."
He hopes that throughout his career, others have seen him as someone who created opportunities for others to contribute their strengths. "My disappointments have not been in things I didn't favor personally, but in the instances when I may not have given others the opportunities to grow and flourish for the betterment of Army aviation."
Crosby said it is Bogosian's decentralized executive style that is allowing others to do their job and has set him apart as leader and mentor. "He's so eloquent, he's so personable, he's so dedicated to our branch and to our Army," Crosby said. "But above all of that he's just a great family man."
Bogosian and his wife, Celeste, have two children, Paul and Elizabeth. Bogosian, an avid reader and golfer in his "little spare time," plans to stay in Huntsville. As for working after retirement, Bogosian said he hopes to do something in support of Army aviation. "I'm too young not to," he said.
Describing his success as a tremendous amount of good future and good timing, he said it is difficult to explain how someone starts out where he did and becomes what he has become.
"In the end, you have to define what you believe are your measures of personal success and what will ultimately gratify you as a professional," he said, "and undertake those opportunities that are given you to demonstrate that level of commitment and capability."