FORT LEE, Va. – A parachute rigger course instructor is being celebrated as the Aerial Delivery and Field Services Department Employee of the Year.
Sgt. 1st Class Shane McGonigle was applauded by peers and leadership during a Feb. 22 ceremony in the ADFSD’s iconic foyer, which features a humongous parachute rigger cap as its centerpiece decoration. McGonigle received the Army Achievement Medal and the Employee of the Year trophy for his accomplishment.
While describing what the award means to him, McGonigle reflected on his professional journey from the rank of specialist to where he is now. “I’ve just been a very competitive person since I became an E-4,” he said. “That’s when I finally learned my calling.”
McGonigle’s sense of purpose and personal drive has earned him many accolades during his career. Included among those are multiple NCO of the month, quarter and year awards. He said he plans to keep on pushing himself through his competitive nature, and to continue raising the bar.
Over the past year, McGonigle became a three-time recipient of employee of the month as well as a two-time recipient of employee of the quarter. He said as soon he arrived at the department, his sights were set on leaving a lasting legacy as a member of its cadre.
“As soon as I saw this (employee of the year board and its resulting) award, I told my NCOIC ‘I want to be on that board,’” McGonigle reflected. “As it came to be, I was on there a few times.”
While overcoming the various hurdles of selection for the yearly award, McGonigle noted each month was different and more difficult than the last.
“They raised the bar (each month), and I had to raise my game higher.”
McGonigle sought out ways to increase his level of influence. He said he’s most proud of creating the Department of Defense Annual Malfunctions Course for the educational platform Joint Knowledge Online. The senior sergeant also became a “YouTuber,” creating educational videos for parachute riggers who are deployed and need a visual aid to answer questions. That project has since amassed over 100,000 views and hundreds of subscribers.
ADFSD Director Jason Hanifin said he is proud of McGonigle and noted the department considers award candidates based on a total-person concept.
“The award is not purely centered on workplace performance, but things they have done beyond the scope of their job,” he elaborated. In an effort to ensure the most deserving person is selected as employee of year, Hanifin described any recipient as “the most talented person, because there are a lot of people who work hard and perform; we look at the top-tier people and how they have gone above and beyond.”
The ADFSD’s culture after the establishment of the employee of the year award has been one of positive competition, Hannifin further observed.
“The award promotes competition within … overall, it helps the department continue to strive for greatness.”
The competition for the 2021 award is already underway at ADFSD – a component of the Army Quartermaster School under the Combined Arms Support Command. The department trains an average of just under 3000 students across the joint forces annually in initial entry and advanced training courses that include the 92R Parachute Rigger Course, 92S Field Services Course, Sling Load Certification Course, Air Load Inspectors Course and Aerial Delivery Material Management Officers Course.
McGonigle hails from Crossville, Tenn., and has served in the Army for 10 years. His notable assignments include the 4/25th Infantry Division, operating out of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; the 7th Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, N.C., and being an ADFSD instructor. McGonigle most recently deployed in 2017 in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel with Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan.