Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) civilian employees Joel Groves and Mary Beth Varner graduated May 16 from the Air Mobility Command (AMC) Civilian Leadership Development Program (CLDP) 2018 class at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.

The course, which met once a month over the course of a year, was created to improve GS 11-13 civilian participants' management and leadership skills by broadening their knowledge of the AMC mission, organizational structure, and key business activities.

The graduation ceremony was hosted by Air Force Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Sharpy, the vice commander of AMC. During his speech to the graduates, he imparted his expectations and the expectations of senior leaders from AMC, SDDC, and U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM).

"We've invested in you and we want some return on that investment," he said. "We want you to take what you've learned and implement it with the people you work with, the people you work for and the people who work for you."

Best practices from the course are what Groves took away from the last 12 months.

"I got a much broader perspective of what USTRANSCOM does as a whole. I learned lots of details about the various directorates -- and I saw a lot of similarities within SDDC. So as I learned about things here at AMC, I started to wonder 'how do we do this at SDDC' and I was able to make real connections," he said.

Varner agreed, adding "It really helped me to understand the broader scope of what falls under the transportation umbrella."

Groves and Varner are the first members of SDDC ever selected to take part in the CLPD course, something Clay Carter, SDDC's director of Personnel and Logistics, says shows that SDDC has become embedded into the DNA of Scott Air Force Base.

"This selection, and our willingness to participate in this program, is an indication that SDDC is an active part of the Scott Air Force Base community and is truly, and foundationally, operating in a joint force environment," said Carter.

As for SDDC's future participation in the program, Carter says this is something the command will definitely support, noting "There is true value in continuing to support and participate in the CLDP."

"Exposing our future leaders to other commands through joint training opportunities, networking functions, and community service builds emotional intelligence and helps to ensure SDDC develops and retains strong leaders for the future," he added.