As September begins, Anniston Army Depot's Equal Employment Opportunity Office will have a new leader, Mariah Armstead.

Armstead began her depot career in 2008 and will succeed Eunice Polk, who retires Aug. 31 with 33 years of federal service.

Polk came to Anniston in 2007 after serving for two years as an EEO specialist in Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and over 25 years in the Vicksburg, Miss., EEO office for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

She said the biggest challenge she faced at ANAD was changing the way business was conducted in the EEO arena.

She accomplished this by encouraging everyone in the office to work as a team.

"I knew if we worked as a team, the successes for EEO would be better," said Polk.

Three years ago, a Lean event in the EEO Office streamlined the formal complaint process and Polk estimates approximately $1.3 million has been saved as a result.

"I'm leaving behind a capable and competent staff," said Polk. "This is the best EEO staff in TACOM Life Cycle Management Command and, perhaps, in the Army."

Armstead's federal career also began with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. She spent 12 years working for USACE in Mobile as a secretary before transferring to New Orleans. There, she went from her roles in budget and finance and as a secretary to accepting a Department of the Army internship with EEO in 2001. She had worked on various special emphasis committees previously.

After completing her internship, Armstead was assigned to Stuttgart, Germany and then Fort Hood, Texas, serving as an EEO specialist and acting EEO Officer in both locations.

"I've always wanted everyone to be treated with respect, dignity and fairness. I believe everyone should be given opportunities, no matter what their background is," said Armstead.

Armstead has two associate degrees from Bishop State Community College in Mobile - one in general education and the other for criminal justice -- in addition to a Bachelor of Science degree in organizational management from the University of Mobile and certificates for welding, legal stenography and barbering.

"I've done it all," said Armstead. "I know what it is like to work in a shop because I worked in shipyards as a welder and a laborer."

Armstead said she would love to see the day when there is no need for the EEO office.

"I want to ultimately see no need for the filing of complaints and no need to run demographics on the workforce," she said. "Unfortunately, I don't foresee that happening in my lifetime."

Page last updated Thu August 30th, 2012 at 11:43