Program Executive Office (PEO) Aviation continues to design, develop, deliver and support advanced aviation capabilities despite the many challenges created by pandemic related constraints.
While the organization is focused on executing its mission supporting Army readiness, workforce training and professional development remains a priority.
PEO Aviation graduated the third class of its Leadership Development Cohort program in an outdoor graduation ceremony April 22 on the PEO Aviation campus. The entire program was conducted in a virtual environment, and the ceremony marked the first in-person gathering of the entire class.
Pat Mason, deputy program executive officer for aviation, addressed the graduating class before presenting certificates officially marking the completion of the year long program. In his remarks he said undertaking the course during this period will help shape them as better leaders in the long term.
“The lessons that you have learned and what you’ve been able to do through this (pandemic) will serve you well as we move to the future,” Mason said. “What I will challenge you with is to take everything you’ve learned over the past year, in both the Cohort and working through the pandemic, and use that as you figure out how you want to lead in this hybrid work environment I think we’ll be in for the future.”
The course began in April 2020 and was conducted entirely online. The program, a collaborative effort between PEO Aviation and the Defense Acquisition University, included learning sessions and leadership workshops with DAU staff, retired Senior Executive Service members and other acquisition professionals. The capstone event included an exercise where the Cohort members developed, refined, and shared their leadership philosophies with their small groups- incorporating many of the concepts the students were introduced to throughout the year.
“I had great interaction with other leaders,” said Greg McCann, a product support manager with PEO Aviation’s Mission Systems and Architecture project office. “In networking with peers throughout PEO Aviation, I learned about the different types of leadership challenges.”
Kaitlin Daigle, the business lead for the Special Electronic Mission Aircraft Product office in PEO Aviation’s Fixed Wing project office, said that completing the course in a virtual environment will help prepare her be a leader regardless of the future workforce environment.
“Taking the class virtually required adaptability and intention; Intention to prioritize the learning and reaching out to your fellow classmates,” Kaitlin Daigle said. “If we put that same level of intention into reaching connection, accomplishing the mission, and adapting to the dynamic environments around us, our organization will be all the better.”
PEO Aviation’s Leadership Development Cohort program began in 2018 with the goal of developing senior leader skills for newly assigned branch level leaders within the organization. The program 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.
The nineteen students who completed this year’s class were: Charles Abney, Skyler Austin, Jeremy Bolton, Ronnie (Jason) Buckner, Heather Cooper, Kaitlin Daigle, Kathy Drysdale, Michelle Gilbert, Bart Harper, Christopher (Brent) Land, Greg McCann, Brandon Miller, Adam Mouser, Taua Patrick, Ben Plummer, Ryan Ramsay, Michelle Staggs, Kerri Thomas and Kevin Tyree.