REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- When Zinnah Hellmann reported for work at Army Materiel Command in December 2019, she carried with her some 10 years of experience working facility maintenance projects and master planning at Redstone Arsenal Garrison.
The civil engineer was convinced her garrison experience would provide an advantage in working with facility maintenance and upgrade requests as an employee of AMC’s G-4 (Logistics). And, it did, only to have her initial efforts to learn about the Army’s facility portfolio somewhat thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of Hellmann’s first projects – a RAND study to determine the relationships and linkages between Army strategic objectives and facility investments – led to an opportunity in February 2020 to visit the facility footprint at Fort Hood, Texas.
“I’d spent my entire career at Redstone Arsenal. This was the first time to see a large troop installation, and to interact with Soldiers of all ranks and to see how the facilities we provide affect their ability to perform their job,” Hellmann said. “It was also a great way to build relationships with other Army employees at Hood who can influence and assist with projects.”
A second trip to a major Army installation was planned a couple months later and then cancelled. Since then, Hellmann, like most AMC employees, has conducted the bulk of her work from her home office.
But, even with teleworking, Hellmann’s contributions in identifying, validating and prioritizing facilities infrastructure projects critical to AMC’s Organic Industrial Base stood out to AMC leadership, resulting in Hellmann being named the AMC Headquarters Employee of the Quarter for second quarter, fiscal year 2021.
“It’s nice to realize that leadership sees the contributions of employees, and appreciates and values those contributions,” Hellmann said. “Knowing you bring value, that you have an impact, makes you want to contribute even more.”
Hellmann’s work is focused on large-scale facility repair and maintenance projects. She is part of a team that collects repair and maintenance projects from the Army’s OIB facilities and two ports, validates and prioritizes those requirements, works with AMC leadership to ensure the projects fit within AMC and Army priorities, assists with compiling funding packages, shepherds the projects through the funding process and then ensures funded projects are accomplished. Hellmann works with leaders from the major subordinate commands and installations to compile project requests and data.
“Many projects involve full-building recapitalization to extend the useful life of a building. They may have a life expectancy of 30 to 50 years, but with the right recapitalization that building life can be extended an additional 15 to 20 years,” Hellmann said.
Major repair and maintenance building projects may have a high profile, but Hellmann also works on projects involving water, gas and electrical systems, and railroad and other transportation systems.
“The breadth and span of the facilities that we have oversight over is huge. It ranges from facilities for tanks and cannons at Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, for electronics at Communication-Electronics Command and power projection of equipment at Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command,” she said. “We work with whatever infrastructure facilities that installation commanders and major subordinate commanders prioritize in line with AMC leader priorities.”
Recently, Hellmann has been working a repair and maintenance project for a chrome plating facility at Watervliet Arsenal, New York; a building repair project for the storage of medical electronic equipment at Tobyhanna Army Depot, Pennsylvania; an aircraft hangar at Corpus Christi Army Depot, Texas, and an upgrade for the natural gas supply system at Pine Bluff Arsenal, Arkansas.
“The difficult and challenging part of the job is that we can only fund so much in any given year. We have to figure out how to fund critical projects, keep installations operating based on their missions and meet Army priorities,” Hellmann said.
Working at AMC Headquarters has taught Hellmann about what it takes to be successful in a large organization with a worldwide mission.
“At headquarters, we look at things more enterprise wide,” she said. “It’s not necessarily about what we think should be done. Our Army senior leaders have priorities and we execute those priorities based on the entire AMC enterprise and the needs of the Army. We are all working for the greater good. If we want to make a difference in this large organization, we need to support the direction that our leaders have set for AMC.”