By Jennifer BacchusAugust 8, 2018
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- The Vehicle Machining Branch of Anniston Army Depot's Directorate of Production consists of a team of individuals who consistently showcase their vast knowledge.
Employees regularly transition between tracked and wheeled vehicles, working with a variety of metals and materials to bring the combat vehicles back to specifications.
The branch's workforce is as varied as its mission. Team members who are only a few years out of high school regularly work beside those who have been in the field of machining more than 30 years.
Two examples of this are Russell Holliday, often known as Doc, and Randy Hollingsworth.
Both men began their machining career in high school.
Hollingsworth chose machining as his focus at the Calhoun County Career Technical School because he was fascinated by a field where he could make something out of raw materials.
Holliday took agriculture classes in high school and worked during the summers to build greenhouses for the school. That welding and machining experience led him to a career.
"I feel like a jack of all trades," said Holliday. "I've done electrical work and plumbing work. I was a supervisor and a field supervisor as well as worked in fabrication shops."
He also has worked in computer-aided drafting.
Holliday sold his half of a fabrication business when he joined the federal workforce, choosing to work for the government for its benefits, rather than for himself.
Hiring in as a temporary WG-9 machinist in 2005, Holliday was selected for a permanent WG-10 welder in 2008. He's also served on a temporary promotion in a leader position.
Though he had well over 20 years of welding, fabrication and machining experience when he joined the depot workforce, working on a combat vehicle was still a very different experience.
And he knows he has many more years in him to give.
"At 48, I can hold my own beside a 20 or 21-year-old. Part of that is my work ethic," he said.
That work ethic drives him to go above and beyond for the depot and his coworkers.
Holliday is the shop's safety monitor and environmental monitor and he is a union steward with a focus on cadmium.
His list of welding and machining certifications is extensive and goes above those needed for his current grade, something he hopes will prepare him for future promotion potential.
Hollingsworth started his career at the depot a little less than a year before Holliday, but he did it as a high school senior in the depot's cooperative education program.
Known as Pathways, the program enables seniors to work a half day in shops set up to train them in skills needed to fulfill the depot's mission.
For three years prior, Hollingsworth had been honing his machining skills at the Calhoun County Career Technical School and the depot's program gave him a way not only to create a career from something he enjoyed, but a way to give back to his country as well.
"I wanted to know I could make a difference," said Hollingsworth.
Even in high school, he pushed himself to do more - playing football as well as working in the Pathways program.
"I came to work here every morning, went back to school and then had football practice every afternoon," he said. "It was challenging at times."
He remained in the Pathways program throughout his time at Gadsden State Community College, but paid his own way through a scholarship from the technical school.
Being on scholarship enabled him to complete his coursework in a year and a half, allowing him to become a permanent, full time employee of ANAD in 2008.
Throughout his time on depot, he's worked on a variety of machining equipment - from lathes and drills to computer-aided machining - and every type of combat vehicle.