ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala -Col. Marvin Walker, Anniston Army Depot commander, held his final town hall meeting June 16. Walker noted that because it was his last town hall, he wanted to change the format, serving as the meeting’s primary speaker.
Due to social distance guidelines, the meeting capacity was limited. Questions from the workforce were solicited prior to the meeting and were addressed at the end of the town hall.
Walker used the meeting to provide updates to the workforce, reflect on his time as depot commander and thank the workforce.
“I want to thank everyone at ANAD for their effort and professionalism,” he began. “I am as proud of this job and what we’ve accomplished as anything I’ve done in the last 26 years.”
Walker remarked on the excellent job done by the workforce over the last two years. He noted that ANAD currently leads the organic industrial base in several significant metrics including revenue generation and productive yield. He attributes these metrics to the workforce and its effort and expertise.
“ANAD is well thought of and that’s because of the workforce we have on this installation,” he said.
The initial six employees of the Upward Mobility Program were invited to the meeting to be introduced to the workforce. The Upward Mobility Program, a career development program for current depot employees, was an initiative that Walker began to help employees advance into other career competencies.
“The intent of this program is to identify employees on depot who have the qualification, talent and skill to fill some of the jobs we have without having to go outside of our current workforce to fill them,” he remarked.
Each position in the program is announced via all user emails, instead of USA jobs, and the candidate’s resumes are redacted and reviewed by a panel. The panel also interviews candidates.
The most recent employees include Catherine Jeanette Curtis, a material requirements planner/buyer who was formerly a material expediter; Steven Hudgins, an auditor in the Internal Review and Audit Compliance office who was originally a painter in the Directorate of Production; Kennita Miller a production controller who previously served as a supply technician; Sharica English, a MRP planner/buyer who was formerly a mechanic; John Cody Spoon, a public affairs specialist who was an electronics mechanic; and Joshua Gann, a former mechanic who is now a production controller.
According to Thyris Banks, chief of Business and Support Operations who was present at the meeting, three more Upward Mobility positions are slated to be paneled soon.
Walker hopes the program will continue to expand and allow employees to advance beyond traditional promotion channels.
“I know it’s hard sometimes to advance outside of your current field,” Walker said to the selectees. “But this program gives you that opportunity. I’m very proud of that and I’m proud of you.”
While COVID-19 restrictions are continuing to ease, Walker reminded the workforce to follow appropriate guidance in order to keep everyone safe.
“We are still under certain criteria for COVID-19 protection,” he said. “There are still requirements for social distancing and wearing masks if you have not been vaccinated.”
Walker also thanked the workforce for their perseverance throughout the pandemic.
“I know a lot of us came in even when we were scared and unsure, but we came in and we persevered,” he said. “I appreciate that. Not only do I appreciate it, but the Army appreciates it and the country appreciates it. We couldn’t stop because the people we support can’t stop, and everyone who understands what we do here appreciates what you did.”
Workload predictions for fiscal year 2022 and 2023 have now decreased due to budget cuts across the Defense industrial base.
Walker and other depot leaders are continuing to asses the situation and are paying close attention to what impact these lower workloads will have on ANAD’s workforce.
“Fiscal year 2022 may start the same as fiscal year 2021 with no overtime so that we can make proper assessments,” he said. “We want to make sure we plan the workload so that the amount of work we do is sustainable and provides a semblance of predictability for the workforce and our customers.”
ANAD has been identified by the Army Materiel Command as a priority for modernization, according to Walker. As a result, Department of Defense and AMC leaders are making visits to the depot to determine how to modernize facilities and infrastructure.
The top lines of effort for modernization are people, facilities, equipment and infrastructure, with a primary focus on people. Walker emphasized the work being done to prepare the workforce with the skills needed to sustain a more modernized depot.
“We are currently working with the Alabama Workforce Council and Gadsden State to determine how we can get our people trained with the skills they need to do the jobs of the future,” he said.
Determinations of who will receive training and when those trainings will start are in the works. Walker hopes to have an update regarding this before he relinquishes command.
He also encouraged the workforce to embrace technology now, noting that modernization efforts are coming soon.
Questions and Answers
Walker addressed questions submitted by the workforce during a question and answers portion of the meeting.
A question was posed regarding the reopening of the physical fitness center. He reminded the workforce of the current health protection condition, which is BRAVO. This HPCON includes some restrictions. Walker plans to submit a request to change the status to HPCON Alpha within the next week, which will allow for the reopening of facilities such as the PFC.
“We hope to have it opened by the end of the month,” he said. “But this depends on everyone continuing to do their part as we are still engaging with COVID-19.”
Questions were asked regarding position postings, including material expediter positions and the Depot Operations chief position.
Walker used the opportunity to talk about vacancy announcements, noting if there are discrepancies with an announcement, it may be canceled.
Walker noted that hiring practices are being developed by both TACOM and AMC, and ANAD will adjust its policy to be mirror those of the higher command.
Change of Command
ANAD’s Change of Command ceremony is scheduled for July 29 at 9:30 a.m. During this ceremony, Walker will relinquish command to Col. Eric McCoy. The workforce is invited.
“He’s going to be a great commander,” Walker said. “I ask that you extend him the same courtesies that you’ve extended me.”