By Mrs. Courtney W Gilbert (ATEC)May 31, 2019
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- After more than 40 years of combined military, private industry and civilian service, Clifford Dickman, former director of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) G-1 Human Resources Directorate, bids farewell to the workforce during his retirement ceremony May 17.
Maj. Gen. Joel K. Tyler, ATEC's commander, presided over the ceremony to honor Dickman for his dedicated service to the military.
"He built a great team, mostly a happy one, through trust, fairness, and accountability", Tyler said. "It is clear that he enjoys being with people who share that commitment to something larger than the individual."
Tyler said it was clear that Dickman was motivated in his career by a clear ethic of service to others, and he thanked him for a job well done.
"Know that you have the respect of your colleagues, and I hope, the understanding that you made a difference in multiple ways over a very long professional career. I'd say that's something that all of us strive for."
Dickman has served as the G-1 director since July 2015.
Dickman, the youngest of three brothers, was born in La Chapelle, France, where his father, an Army World War II veteran, was stationed at the time. Dickman spent time overseas during the first 10 years of his life while his father served in the military, and afterwards, Dickman's family moved back to the states to Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he spent the remainder of his years growing up after his father retired from the Army.
Dickman graduated class of 1972 from Bayside High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Afterwards, he enrolled in Old Dominion University as a pre-med major. In Spring of 1974, Dickman decided to change course academically.
"In the middle of a tough second year in college, when I decided pre-med and I were not getting along, I changed my major to psychology," Dickman said. "Then I wandered over to the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) department on campus to find out how to become an Army officer in two years."
Dickman mentioned how his father was only in favor of him and his brothers joining the Army if they joined as officers.
In the Summer of 1974, Dickman completed basic training and joined the two year program to obtain an ROTC commission. He graduated May 1976 with his Bachelor of Science in Psychology and was commissioned as a second lieutenant of Infantry.
Early in his military career, Dickman made military personnel his secondary functional area, after obtaining his master's degree in Public Administration from Florida State University in May 1983.
During his active duty military career, Dickman completed a variety of infantry, military personnel, operations and planning assignments in Germany, England and the United States. He retired from active duty as a colonel while serving as the G3 for the Army War College on August 31, 2002.
From July 2002 to November 2003, Dickman worked in private industry as the vice president for human resources with Enherent Corp, an information technology servicing firm.
"After about 18 months, I realized corporate culture and I did not mix," Dickman said. "I had different values, different ethos, and different ethics."
Ready to transition out of the corporate world, Dickman accepted a job offer as a contractor for Femme Comp Inc. supporting the Army Chief of Information Office/G6 in Washington, D.C. from November 2003 to June 2009. Then he became an Army Civilian working as the deputy director for the U.S. Army Civilian Human Resources Agency until December 2013.
At this point in his life, Dickman realized he needed to get a position closer to home, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to help care for his elderly parents. While there, he accepted a new job position with the Naval Supply Systems Command as the deputy N1, later becoming the N1, in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, from December 2013 to July 2015.
By this time, Dickman's parents passed away. Following their passing, Dickman chose to relocate again for a fresh start and came onboard with ATEC as the G1, director of human resources.
Dickman shared how he liked people and appreciated the field of personnel management and personnel policy, what he called "people business", and ATEC gave him the opportunity to do what he enjoyed professionally.
"I was familiar with ATEC through the base realignment and closure (BRAC), and it had a sound reputation as far as being a command that was focused on taking care of its people. That's what attracted me to the position, and the timing was great."
Dickman said his job responsibilities included anything he had to do to make the Soldiers and Civilians of ATEC more successful. "By making them successful, the command's more successful. People are the mission. If we don't have people, we're not going to complete the mission."
Dickman considered the most rewarding part of his job to be the people he worked with in the commands where he served, and credits his career success to luck, timing, and the values his parents instilled in him.
"A good foundation given to me by my Mom and Dad contributed to my career success as far as knowing how to work with people of any ilk; understanding that no one is perfect [not even yourself], understanding that you don't know the answers to every question, and you have to rely on people to help you learn and be successful. Then being appreciative of the people that you work with."
As Dickman reflected on his career, he imparted words of wisdom to those who are still building their career. "You do not live to work. You work to live. Set realistic goals that are achievable, and anything you achieve beyond that is gravy! Then you'll live to enjoy what you do, and you should be having fun while you're doing it."
Dickman is married to Patricia (Trish), wife of more than 40 years, and together they have three children: Claire, Ross, and Keith. All of the children have either served or are still serving in the military.
Life after retirement for Dickman includes travelling to the Galapagos Islands, Macchu Pichu in Peru, various locations in the U.S., and conquering the 500 mile El Camino pilgrimage in Spain.
Tyler presented Dickman with the Department of the Army's Superior Civilian Service Medal, signed by Tyler; and the Governor's Citation, signed by the Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf.
ATEC Command Sgt. Maj. Jon E. Helring presented Dickman with the retirement flag, which was flown over the Nation's capitol at the request of U.S. Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger.
"To the men and women of ATEC with whom I've had the pleasure of serving over the last four years, what a wonderful team! I ask you to keep doing what's right. Grow professionally, get out of your comfort zone, and never quit learning."