Depot recognizes contributions of Veteran workforce
U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army veteran Michael Cook currently serves as a Logistics Management Specialist at TYAD. He says Tobyhanna Army Depot is a welcoming place for former service members. (Photo Credit: Thomas Robbins) VIEW ORIGINAL

Tobyhanna Army Depot (TYAD) observed National Hire A Veteran Day on July 25 by highlighting Veterans across the workforce.

The observance, created in 2017, serves as a call to action for employers to augment their workforce with veterans, who bring a unique blend of skills and practical experience to the workplace. Nearly a quarter of the depot’s workforce has prior military experience.

U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army veteran Michael Cook currently serves as a Logistics Management Specialist at TYAD. He is responsible for managing several key projects at the depot.

Cook said he decided to serve in both the Marine Corps and Army to go out and see the world.

“I served six years in the Marine Corps and I just wanted to see the world a little bit and come back home and work on the family farm. One day, I am home and down the road lived a First Sergeant. We got talking and he said ‘Hey you should join the Army,’ - jokingly,” said Cook. “Fast forward a few months, I joined the National Guard and got transferred to Alabama. I spent 12 years in the Army National Guard on active duty. For four years of that time, I was sent on various deployments in Southwest Asia, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. I also did many humanitarian missions all over the world as well.”

Cook said that he admires TYAD’s ability to easily integrate veterans in their community.

“Tobyhanna does real well at branching out to the veteran community to get their skill sets and put them to use. Some people come home from the military and they don’t know what else to do,” said Cook. “It’s been a good open door for me and not only that, but it feels like you get a sense of giving back to the military, country by helping serve those soldiers, sailors and airmen that come here. Tobyhanna gives you a gateway to use the experience that you’ve gained and the hands-on training you’ve gotten from using equipment whether it be a handheld radio, a HMMWV, etc...”

Cook also praised the depot for ensuring personnel are prepared for whatever task comes their way.

“The good thing is that Tobyhanna empowers their employees to educate themselves. They embrace that,” said Cook. “I’ve gotten so many different certificates and things that I’ve done through Tobyhanna to help me in my career and future career. They help you set up for your longevity of your career here.”

The TYAD Veterans Council helps support Northeastern Pennsylvania’s veteran community on and off the depot. Cook serves as Vice President and has served on the council for nearly his entire 17-year depot career. He says he understands how a veteran may feel unsure of what to do next once they leave the service, so he takes pride in that the council helps the veteran community with any questions or concerns.

“There’s not an easy crossover from the service to the civilian world. At Tobyhanna, we have different job skills and abilities that veterans can continue to use and help maybe improve some current depot assets for future technologies and soldiers,” said Cook. “Tobyhanna is very open-armed to military veterans and embraces their experiences and knowledge.”

Air Force veteran Lori Terpak appreciates working at Tobyhanna Army Depot, as it allows her to continue serving her nation – even after she took off her uniform.

Four years of service gave her extensive knowledge in the command and control career field, working in high-pressure situations as an Emergency Actions Controller. Terpak and her team were responsible for monitoring and completing quick reaction checklists for aircraft – a task that often included making emergency notifications to senior leadership within tight timeframes. She says the dynamic position was excellent preparation for her future career with Team Tobyhanna.

“My Air Force service certainly helped shape my ability to support the depot’s unique and constantly-changing mission.”

After completing her military service, Terpak returned to her native Northeastern Pennsylvania and started a depot career in 2009 as an administrative assistant in the Production Management Directorate – where she still works today as a Logistics Management Specialist, supporting tactical radio programs.   Terpak serves as the project manager over several fabrication efforts, requiring her to rely on her Air Force experience for quick and accurate decision-making.

Depot leadership lauded Terpak and celebrated how her military insight brings value to Tobyhanna’s mission.

"Lori's first-hand knowledge of the warfighter experience drives her to work above and beyond to ensure the best quality and value for our customers,” said Anthony Portanova, chief of the Secure Communication Branch in the Production Management Directorate.

Terpak also noted that being a mother to four and step-mother to two children, who range from teenager to toddler, has taught her valuable lessons.

“I’ve had to learn to be more adaptable and organized – skills that have truly benefited me as a project manager,” she said, laughing.

While her free time is very limited, Terpak enjoys spending time with her large family, watching her children play sports, and exploring the world.

Veterans interested in future career opportunities with Team Tobyhanna can apply through USAJobs at www.usajobs.gov.

Tobyhanna’s long-range strategic plan, TOBY2028 has four strategic focus areas: Investing in Our People, C5ISR Readiness, Shape the Future and Strategic Communications and aims to posture the organization for future success. The Invest in Our People team is focused on recruiting the best talent to join Team Tobyhanna, including veterans, who bring practical experience to the workplace.

Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna’s Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C5ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.

Tobyhanna’s unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our joint warfighters.

About 3,500 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command’s mission is to empower the Soldier with winning C5ISR capabilities.