By Kari HawkinsOctober 18, 2018
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- A developmental assignment at the Army Materiel Command is reaping dividends for both the Army and the employee with the release of a physical security training video designed to ensure employees understand visitor escort responsibilities.
The production of the video provided developmental employee Gloria Flowers the opportunity to add several communication and project leadership skills to her engineering-based resume while providing an educational tool on correct physical security escort procedures for Department of the Army employees. The video was filmed at Army Materiel Command headquarters with a cast and crew from AMC Human Resources (G-1), Intelligence and Information (G-2/6), Operations and Readiness (G-3) and Internal Logistics (G-4) as well as the Program Executive Office for Aviation, and the Army Reserve.
"I learned a lot from this experience," Flowers said. "It was very beneficial in developing me as a leader and in building skills in areas besides engineering."
Developmental assignments are used across the Army to provide multi-functional temporary work assignments that broaden employee experience, prepare participants for increased responsibilities and improve organizational communication. They enable employees to gather practical knowledge, skills and abilities outside their common experience.
Flowers, a materiel engineer with the Future Warfare Center Information Computation and Engineering Division at the Space and Missile Defense Command, came to the Army Materiel Command on a six-month assignment with sponsor Katherine Coviello, a Defense Intelligence Senior Level executive who serves as the Special Advisor for Materiel Enterprise Intelligence and Security. Flowers also worked on Human Resources projects, where she coordinated intelligence and security related Leadership Professional Development sessions under the supervision of the command's G-1 Human Resources training coordinator Pam Myers.
"When I bring a developmental employee onboard, I like to find special, one-time projects they can have ownership of and accomplish while they are here," Coviello said. "I knew there was a need to develop a video for escort responsibilities in AMC's secured building. There was a need to develop a training tool, but not a traditional training tool."
To move forward with the project, Flowers had to first develop her own understanding of physical security needs at a four-star command. She then reviewed Army and DOD policy and talked with Army security experts. Next, she developed a plan of action, story boards and an information paper, and briefed senior AMC leadership on the project.
The mission came with challenges, many associated with the lack of funding, Flowers said. The script edits, the sets, the actors and the videography all had to be accomplished with internal resources. She then researched other physical security training videos and decided to follow a script similar to the video developed by a combat support agency within the intelligence community.
"We took the agency's script and adapted it to Army's and AMC's security policies," Flowers said.
"Our actors came from AMC as well as the Program Executive Office for Aviation, and the Intelligence and Security Command, with cameos from two AMC senior leaders - Lt. Gen. (Ed) Daly and Ms. (Lisha) Adams. The filming was done at AMC headquarters, and Allen Lastinger of the AMC Media Center provided our video and editing support. I also had some experience with video production in my volunteer work, and that helped with organizing and coordinating this project."
The end result is the 9-minute Army Physical Security Escort Training Video that can be found on a CAC-secured milSuite site at https://www.milsuite.mil/video/watch/video/19286.
The video won a team award this year from the Tennessee Valley Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association for the development and delivery of a training tool that provides enhanced protection of the nation's defense technologies. The award recognized Flowers' and Lastinger's contributions as well as the contributions of Sgt. 1st Class Acacia Sturdivant, AMC G-1, and Daphne Henry, PEO for Aviation, both lead actresses; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jason Denny, Army Reserve, cameo spokesman; Jeffery Campbell (AMC G-3/4), role of copier repairman 1; and Keith Cromartie (AMC G-1), role of copier repairman 2. It also recognized Coviello, Adams, Daly and William "Darion" Ping (G-2) as advisors.
"This project was rewarding in so many ways," Flowers said. "I believe this video really fills a need within AMC headquarters and throughout the Army wherever there are secure facilities. This project gave me the opportunity to develop a close working relationship with a senior executive service member and allowed me to do different things beyond my normal scope of work."
Flowers first met sponsor Coviello in May 2017 while taking the advanced Civilian Education System leadership class. Coviello mentored class participants through their presentations.
"Gloria's energy, her positive 'can do' attitude and her technical video experience all came into consideration when selecting an employee for this particular developmental assignment," Coviello said. "As an engineer, she understood the developmental side of the materiel life cycle."
At her CES class, Flowers said students were encouraged to seek job shadowing or developmental opportunities to build experience in areas they are not normally exposed to, and to gain insight that will make them better employees and leaders.
"Development assignments enrich your work experience and give you a deeper well of experience from which to draw from. You become a stronger, more resilient and ready, more knowledgeable employee," Coviello said. "In my own career progression, if I had not reached out and embraced opportunities beyond my career path, I would not be where I am now."
Although Flowers took the lead on the video project and in her work developing leadership professional development programs on security for the G-1 Human Resources, Coviello was still actively involved with mentoring and coaching Flowers in her responsibilities.
"I learned long ago that if you have a developmental employee, you have to spend time mentoring and guiding them. With Gloria, as with other developmental employees, I spent an hour each work day mentoring her," Coviello said.
"A developmental assignment is a two-way street. It's important to have the extra help a developmental brings, but it's also important to teach, coach and mentor that employee. You have to be committed to building the bench for the future. It's one of the more important responsibilities of a senior leader."
Other employees considering a developmental assignment should keep an open mind when seeking opportunities, and remain flexible and eager to try new things, Coviello said.
"I knew this would be a transition and a positive experience," Flowers said. "It was challenging and rewarding to do something totally different than what I usually do, and to work at a four-star command. I gained tremendous insight into things that I'm not normally exposed to. This experience will benefit me for a long time. I hope it will also benefit the AMC workforce."