Training program earns 'Best Practice' award
January 10, 2013
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. -- The Supervisory Excellence Training Program (SEP) here was recognized for its success at the recent 2012 SAGE Awards (Scranton's Awards for Growth and Excellence). The depot won the Best Practices: Professional Development category at an awards gala held at the Mellow Theater at Lackawanna College.
The award honors Tobyhanna for its employee development and training, emphasizing the impact of the SEP on customer satisfaction, production and mission growth.
The depot's 235 supervisory personnel oversee a variety of organizational, technical, professional and skilled trades, presenting many administrative challenges. Through measured classroom learning and mentoring, the SEP provides supervisors a strong foundation in basic supervisory tools, techniques and practices. It also offers a common business approach to management as defined by the depot's longstanding corporate philosophy which emphasizes process based leadership, communication, cooperation and measurement across all organizational levels.
Loretta Daubert, training administrator in the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (CPAC), said the program is critical to the readiness of new supervisors.
"Typically, supervisors enroll in SEP prior to assuming their supervisory position, which gives them the opportunity to acquire a solid foundation in supervisory principles and management policies before assuming their new duties," she said. Daubert has managed the program for 15 years.
Tobyhanna's SEP has been in existence for more than 20 years and is updated annually to ensure the inclusion and integration of the latest methods, practices and technologies. Since its inception, more than 250 new supervisors have completed the 12-month program; 108 are currently enrolled.
The program consists of 10 courses including lessons in human resource principles and practices, Army maintenance life cycle management, effective briefing techniques, and writing and leadership skills. Patrick Esposito, director of the Production Management Directorate, said the SEP has provided depot leaders the training necessary to succeed.
"The SEP is designed to teach sustainable performance based management, communication and leadership skills that are fully integrated with our business model. In this regard, SEP has, without question, provided our managers the tools and training necessary to excel," said Esposito. "They are more flexible and adaptable, and they have the knowledge and abilities necessary to build strong cohesive teams that can meet the many challenges of a rapidly changing mission environment.
"Most importantly, they can now more effectively deal with the complex production, personnel and disciplinary issues inherent to a highly integrated, high performance, world class organization."
Kathy Feist, travel and transportation program manager in the Resource Management Directorate, says the program helped her gain a better understanding of how every depot supervisor works together.
"Overall, the training made me see the depot as a whole, not just from a resource management aspect."
Other supervisors agree that the SEP teaches a well-rounded skill set.
"SEP has helped me learn critical principles and practices necessary to carry out my responsibilities," said Lt. Kevin Tuohy, Industrial Risk Management Directorate. "Most importantly, it has allowed me to identify my leadership style and learn how to optimize employee performance to create a positive work environment."
Many courses are instructor-led, but the program also includes self-paced, online coursework. Each participant's progress is monitored through monthly reports. Program success is measured by internal and external feedback passed through the supervisor's chain of command, using customer satisfaction, production, and safety metrics, which are evaluated at both overall depot and individual cost center levels.
"SEP has increased customer satisfaction and enabled Tobyhanna to adapt to mission growth," said Dave Jadick, strategic business analyst. "Tobyhanna has a reputation of excellence, which can be credited to the skill, motivation and patriotism of the depot workforce, but it is also attributed to well-executed strategic planning, budgeting, process improvement, and program and workforce management."
Jadick wrote the SAGE Award nomination and accepted the award at the gala, representing CPAC and the Business Management Directorate.
Esposito said the program has played a major role in the success of not only supervisors, but of the depot as a whole.
"Bottom line, the SEP has enabled our managers to get more done, with fewer resources, in a shorter period of time and at a reduced cost," he said. "It has allowed us to become more productive as a leadership team and organization, sustain our competitiveness, build customer satisfaction and meet the needs of our most important customer -- the warfighter."
The depot was also chosen as a finalist in three other SAGE Award categories including Best Practices in Community Service, Best Practices in Customer Support and the Healthy Workplace of the Year.
Tobyhanna Army Depot is the Defense Department's largest center for the repair, overhaul and fabrication of a wide variety of electronics systems and components, from tactical field radios to the ground terminals for the defense satellite communications network. Tobyhanna's missions support all branches of the Armed Forces.
About 5,400 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army CECOM.
Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., the command's mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.