By Nikki Ficken, AMRDEC Public AffairsFebruary 13, 2018
Washington, D.C. (Feb. 13, 2018) -- Robert Helem was recognized as a Modern Day Technology Leader at the 2018 Annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards -- Science, Technology, Engineering, Math Global Competitiveness Conference in Washington D.C. Feb. 9. The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center employee was honored for his leadership abilities, hard work, and dedication.
Helem serves as the principal assistant to the Weapons Development and Integration director for all technical and support matters within PST and is responsible for the formulation and execution of the mission, vision and strategic plan for a multi-disciplinary organization of approximately 170 Army civilian and over 300 contractor personnel.
Reidsville, North Carolina
Career at AMRDEC:
Robert Helem has been employed with the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center since 1983, a total of 34 years.
Description of duties and responsibilities:
"Currently, I am the acting Associate Director for Propulsion and Structures Technologies in the Weapons Development and Integration Directorate," said Helem. "I am the principal assistant to the Deputy Director/Director of WDI for all technical and support matters within PST and is responsible for the formulation and execution of the mission, vision and strategic plan for a multi-disciplinary organization of approximately 170 Army civilian and over 300 contractor personnel."
In this position, Helem leads an engineering staff that executes a variety of DOD projects and programs with the products being currently used in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and other efforts. One of these projects is the Kiowa Warrior Reduced Weight Missile Launcher. Helem conceived the idea and oversaw the program execution. In 1983, Robert began his career designing missile vertical launchers and providing engineering support to the Pershing II Project Office. Throughout his career Helem has influenced the development of a variety of technology and engineering projects which includes the capability demonstration of the Army's Multi-Munition Launcher.
Education, accomplishments, recognition:
Helem earned a Bachelor's degree in 1983 for Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. In 1999, he also earned a Master's degree in Management from Florida Institute of Technology. Helem has received numerous awards and recognitions from the civilian and Army leadership for his outstanding performance including a BEYA Trailblazer recipient in 2010 and the Government Leadership Award from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University Alumni Association.
Helem has served as a mentor for the Science and Engineering Apprentice Program and serves as an ambassador for the AMRDEC Outreach Program. He has also served as acting deputy director of AMRDEC. His duties included leading the development of the AMRDEC Current Operations portfolio and representing management in Partnership Council Meeting with the Union.
Hobbies, activities, organizational involvement:
"Outside of work, I enjoy fishing and listening to music," Helem said. He serves as a certified recruiter for North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and is involved in the Alumni Association. He is married to Bridgett F. Helem.
How does it feel to be recognized for the BEYA award?
"I am grateful and honored," said Helem. "I work with wonderful people who are highly skilled and dedicated to doing their part for the Army. I enjoy doing my part to ensure our Soldiers have every advantage."
Quotes from Supervisors:
Associate Director, WDI Propulsion and Structures Division
"While I have enjoyed being a colleague of Mr. Helem's over the past 25 years, I have gained a higher level of respect and admiration for him while serving as his supervisor for the past couple years. Robert is not only extremely technically sharp, remarkably organized, a persuasive and effective communicator, and a model of fairness and ethics; but he is also always friendly and eager to help everyone. Mr. Helem can always be counted on to provide fair and equal opportunities for minorities and women when making personnel decisions. He is highly sought after to serve on promotion panels within AMRDEC because of his diligence and fairness. He is one of my own most trusted advisers that I can always count on for wise counsel."
"During this past year, I conducted Senior Rater Potential Evaluations with approximately 50 of the employees in my division. Nearly all of Robert's employees provided unsolicited feedback with various, but similar renditions of "he is the best boss they ever had". Many of these were accomplished engineers with 25-35 years of experience both in Government and Industry. I knew he was an outstanding manager and leader, but the conviction with which they shared this with me impressed me tremendously. Mr. Helem has earned the highest degree of respect and admiration from both his employees and his peers, as well as his leadership."
Director, Systems Simulation, Software and Integration Directorate
"Mr. Helem's distinguished 34 year career and impressive technical achievements are worthy of this honor because of the many valuable contributions he has made supporting Army/DOD missions. He is a very highly regarded function chief who manages 25 government employees and oversees the work of 200 contractors. Mr. Helem consistently provides professional, dedicated, and supportive technical leadership."
U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center is operationally aligned to the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, and administratively aligned to the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command. This joint alignment established a closely woven research, development, acquisition, and sustainment team to provide increased responsiveness to the nation's Warfighters. AMRDEC has the mission to deliver collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions.