By Jacqueline BoucherApril 23, 2018
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa.-- Supervisors and coworkers have several opportunities each year to acknowledge the accomplishments of one's peers via the Tobyhanna Army Depot Incentive Awards Program.
Depot commander Col. Nathan Swartz heralded the superior job performance of five employee- and supervisor-of-the-quarter frontrunners during separate award ceremonies recently.
Information Technology Specialist Sean Fisne and Environmental Protection Specialist Tom Wildoner walked away with this fiscal year's first Employee of the Quarter awards in the junior and senior categories, respectively. Keith Knecht, Machining Branch chief, was named Supervisor of the Quarter for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, while Supply Technician Justin Zahornacky and Electronics Mechanic James Bamert claimed the Employee of the Quarter honors for the same time period. Zahornacky and Bamert competed in the junior and senior categories, respectively.
The employee and supervisor of the quarter awards identify and reward junior-and senior-level employees and leaders who, in the performance of their assigned duties, have established a pattern of excellence for the period during which the nominations are being solicited, according to Brandi Weiss, Incentive Awards Program manager.
Weiss explained that nominations may be submitted by co-workers, who worked with the nominee, directly or indirectly, with a minimum of at least four nominators or by an employee's supervisor.
As a Systems Integration and Support Directorate branch chief, Knecht deals with day to day issues in the machine shop. "It's all about providing the workforce with the latest equipment and tools to make their job more
successful and make sure the depot is able to succeed," he said, adding that the employees he works with are skilled machinists who can fabricate simple to complicated parts.
"Keith has gained the respect of his employees and peers," said Thomas Petroski, Fabrication and Assembly Division chief. "With a contagious positive attitude, he leads the way, applying his 25-plus years of experience to mentor and develop workers, and provide technical expertise to benefit the warfighter."
An exceptional work ethic and positive attitude are qualifications Bamert brings to the table as the Common Remotely Operated Weapons Systems (CROWS) team lead, according to the Brian Labar, chief, Thermal Targeting Branch, C4ISR Directorate.
"Jim exceeded expectations when he implemented changes so the program would run more efficiently, which brought us in under budget," said Labar. "It was his attention to detail and ability to motivate employees that resulted in meeting customer requirements in half the time."
Bamert serves as the field service representative for the CROWS program and is assigned to a position at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. His duties include travelling to mission sites to evaluate systems, oversee on-site repairs and provide training to help units maintain operational readiness.
Coworkers and supervisors use words like "steadfast resolve" and "selfless service" to describe Zahornacky's ability to get the job done. As a supply technician in the C4ISR Directorate's COMSEC Accountability Branch, he was recognized for balancing a busy workload between his responsibilities to the Army and National Security Agency (NSA).
"I am proud to say I work for Tobyhanna Army Depot and support the warfighter every day," Zahornacky said, explaining that he started working here 10 years ago as an electronics mechanic. "I loved the challenge of being a supply technician so I changed jobs a few years ago. Along the way I also completed the requirements for the NSA COMSEC Account Manager and Army COMSEC Account certificates earning the title of NSA Alternate COMSEC account manager."
"Justin's efforts have increased NSA's confidence in Tobyhanna's expertise and positively impacted Defense Department readiness," said Tony Rubin, Tactical Radio/COMSEC Division chief. "He accomplishes all tasks with the utmost accuracy to achieve a goal of 100 percent accountability every time."
It's common knowledge among Information Management Division personnel that Fisne goes above and beyond to provide the best value to the customer. The Army Infantryman turned network administrator said this award wouldn't be possible without the support of his coworkers.
"I have good relationships with the people I work with and they have taught me so much over the last two years," Fisne said. "I have been able to grow in this position because I'm surrounded by people who not only have knowledge, but are also willing to share it."
Tobyhanna's Windows 10, Army Network Modernization-Conus and Risk Management Framework projects have had their challenges, according to Christopher Brooks, division chief. "It is only by the work of character driven assets like Sean that we are able to be flexible and resilient, and continue to execute and keep pace with continuously changing requirements."
Wildoner, who joined the environmental movement in the 1980s, has learned to leverage a collection of techniques to do the heavy lifting when it comes to maintaining environmental compliance of the depot's water programs. For instance, he was a leading figure in the development and use of programmable logic controllers to collect and analyze environmental data.
"Tom has kept Tobyhanna on the leading edge of technology through the use of environmental data collection systems for more than 20 years," said Paula Mesaris, chief, Environmental Branch, Installation Services Directorate. "He is the go-to guy for questions involving any of the depot's water programs." Wildoner is credited with helping the depot surpass the Net Zero water reduction goals two years ahead of schedule.
During his tenure at the depot, Wildoner has worked on several projects to reduce water usage, including acoustic
leak sensor installation, water leak surveys and repairs, water pressure monitoring and water recycling efforts. He provides technical guidance and support, plus mentors other specialists and maintains a working relationship with state and federal regulators.
"There was a lot of work to be done at military installations in the early years, and I loved it," Wildoner said. "To this day, I continue to love what I do. It's easy to succeed if you enjoy what you do."
Winners will receive a special parking space for the quarter, a $500 On-The-Spot Award and a plaque. Winning packages are automatically forwarded to the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) to compete in their respective categories. The C4ISR quarterly award winners receive the Department of the Army (DA) Achievement Medal for Civilian Service and CECOM quarterly award winners receive a DA Certificate of Achievement as well as their name on a Perpetual Plaque.
Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna's Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C4ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.
Tobyhanna's unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our joint warfighters. About 3,200 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 Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, 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.