Maher assumes leadership of Apache helicopter project office
Forrest Collier, deputy project manager for the Apache Project Office, prepares to place the organization guidon in the base to execute a socially distanced passing of the colors during a change of charter ceremony July 15 at Bob Jones Auditorium. Program Executive Officer for Aviation Brig. Gen. Rob Barrie presided over the proceedings as the outgoing project manager Col. Tal Sheppard, right, relinquished responsibility of the Apache attack helicopter program to Col. John “Jay” Maher, left. (Photo Credit: Shannon Kirkpatrick) VIEW ORIGINAL

The Program Executive Office for Aviation’s Apache Project Office saw a change in leadership during a change of charter ceremony July 15 at Bob Jones Auditorium.

Col. Tal Sheppard relinquished responsibility as project manager to Col. John “Jay” Maher, who most recently served at G-3/5 Strategic Plans and Concepts, headquarters Army Contracting Command. Presiding over the ceremony was Brig. Gen. Robert Barrie, program executive officer for aviation.

The change in charter is about the passing of authority and responsibilities between officers who are duly authorized the opportunity and privilege to lead the organization.

The Apache Project Office is responsible for the life cycle management of the Army’s AH-64D and AH-64E fleet. There are 744 Apache’s in the fleet – 380 D’s and 353 E’s.

“A big part of the successes of the Apache Project Office was Tal’s leadership,” Barrie said. “When he came onboard, it was a challenging time for the Apache. He was able to deliver with dignity, grace and always a smile. Despite all the challenges he encountered, he had a positive attitude which brought positive results.”

Sheppard, a native of Americus, Georgia, enlisted in the Georgia Army National Guard in 1990 as a mechanized infantryman. While serving in the National Guard, he attended North Georgia College where he was commissioned into the Aviation Branch in June 1994. Following flight school, he held multiple battalion level positions from scout platoon leader to attack company commander. He assessed into the Army Acquisition Corps in 2005 and assumed the duties as the project manager for the Apache attack helicopter program in February 2018.

“This team are all-stars and I know they’ll continue to provide the same level of service to Maher," he said. “Some mornings you’ll wake up with your mind clicking, but as long as you’re motivated to work the problems, you’ll have the support of the team.”

Maher, from Tyrone, Georgia, attended North Georgia College and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Aviation Branch. Following flight school, he held multiple squadron and battalion level positions and deployed to Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

He assessed into the Army Acquisition Corps in 2005 and served as assistant TRADOC capability manager-Soldier; assistant product manager for Product Manager Air Warrior, Program Executive Office Soldier; assistant product manager for UH-72A Lakota, Program Executive Office for Aviation; procurement officer for Army Contracting Command-Redstone where he deployed as the deputy director for contract support, plans and operations for the CENTCOM Joint Theater Support Contracting Command; and product manager for Air Warrior.

In welcoming the incoming project manager, Barrie said Maher is “exactly prepared for this job and exactly what we need in this office. There are numerous challenges but you have my full trust and confidence.”

In accepting responsibility for the organization, Maher looks forward to his new assignment and feels strongly that the Apache office will continue to make great achievements.

“I’m excited to be here and be a part of the Apache team,” he said. “It is definitely an honor and I look forward to serving with you.”