The Program Executive Office for Aviation has graduated the second class from its Leadership Development Cohort program.
The program began in 2018 with the goal of developing senior leader skills for newly assigned branch level leaders within the organization. This year’s class graduated 15 students during a ceremony Feb. 27 at the Defense Acquisition University’s South Campus in Huntsville.
Col. Robert Barrie, deputy program executive officer for aviation, presented certificates to the participants officially marking the completion of the 10-month program.
“The Army invests a significant amount of time and energy in making sure we are trained to do our mission,” Barrie said. “And, in a profession like we are in, the acquisition corps, it is even more important.”
The Army wants the workforce to leverage its knowledge and skills in order to maximize talents and utilize them within the right jobs. PEO Aviation’s Leadership Development Cohort provides employees with an opportunity and the education to develop personal leadership philosophies. The graduate leaders leave with the skills necessary to compassionately lead and build empowered, accountable teams that positively impact Army aviation.
Michelle Jenkins, the budget branch chief for PEO Aviation’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Project Office, said the program was important for rising leaders because of the opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences.
Being able to interact with others, working various projects together and learning that everyone has something to bring to the table was the most valuable aspect of the program for Jenkins.
“I learned my strengths and weaknesses and what makes me a good leader and how to become a better leader,” she said.
The graduates, who are nominated to participate in the program by their respective project managers, will now be in a position to model and teach positive, effective leadership to future generations.
“Go back to our organization and challenge things in your office that you have already thought about or talked about in this class that are not aligned with how we want to do business,” Barrie said. “Find ways to do it better and execute it. Acknowledge when things are going right and, when they’re not going right, fix them.”
The Leadership Development Cohort program is a collaborative effort between PEO Aviation and the Defense Acquisition University. Students met for five 3-day sessions spread out over the 10 months of the program.
“The PEO Aviation Leadership Program is robust,” Scott Thovson, said. “The content is helpful in growing one’s knowledge base. The tools harvested from the course are valuable and fit nicely in one’s tool kit.”
Thovson is the deputy product manager for Transport Aircraft in PEO Aviation’s Fixed Wing Project Office.
The multiday sessions focused on various topics and included discussions with retired Senior Executive Service members, aviation enterprise senior leaders and other professionals as well as DAU staff members.
“The chance to hear from a multitude of leaders and their experiences was invaluable,” Thovson said. In particular, he enjoyed meeting and hearing from Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.
In addition to Thovson and Jenkins, this year’s graduates included Robert Dudley, Jason M. Jones, Nathan Kennedy, James Kennick, Tom Manhart, Joy Martin, Mary Beth Martin, John Perkinson, Jonathan Roop, Stephani Sandlin, Elisha Screws, John Van Houten and Zachary York.