REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (Feb. 14, 2023) – For a trio of U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center leaders, being chosen as command ambassadors for the Center’s higher headquarters is more than an honor, it is an opportunity.
James Bowman III, Katherine “Kit” Fry and Daryoush Salehi will represent the second class of the U.S. Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Distinguished Leadership Program, an ongoing, year-long initiative that focuses on executive forums and strategic partnership engagements to foster innovative ideas aimed at solving enterprise problems. Scientists, engineers, technicians and analysts are chosen from subordinate commands for their demonstrated excellence both as leaders and as teammates, but also for their potential to drive change. They were recently recognized in a ceremony held at DEVCOM headquarters in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.
The three said they were quite surprised to receive an email from DEVCOM Commander Maj. Gen. Miles Brown announcing their selection, with Salehi joking that his first thought was, “Are you sure you have the right guy?”
Brown did have the right person, as all are respected leaders in their directorates. But what sets them apart is that they all share a similar proactive investment in their organizations, Fry said. Although all three shared an apprehension of being the face of AvMC at that level.
“After listening to Maj. Gen. Brown’s vision and objectives concerning the DLP, attending the DEVCOM workshops, discussing challenges/potential solutions with the other cohorts and observing the Army ceremonies at the ball, it became clear to me that my role at AvMC must necessarily be blended with an awareness of the ubiquitous objectives of the Army to ensure that our technological vector remains congruent with the Army specifically and the other services in general,” Bowman said.
Throughout the year the cohort will have four separate projects aimed at working together as integrated teams and breaking down organizational barriers, while increasing collaboration among the DEVCOM centers. Brown will have firsthand involvement with the group through mentoring sessions. They also will shadow him for a day – providing a rarely-seen look into the running of a major subordinate command.
“We will see leadership from someone who is at the uppermost level of our formation and understand what his major concerns are and how our levels can influence those,” Salehi said.
Bowman is the Software, Simulation, Systems Engineering and Integration Joint Technology Center/Systems Integration Laboratory branch chief and has been with the Center for 19 years. He earned a master’s degree in computer science from Alabama A&M University, a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Oakwood University and an associate degree in mathematics from Calhoun Community College.
Fry is the branch chief for Future Vertical Lift Structures within the Structures and Materials Division at the Systems Readiness Directorate. She came to AvMC in 2010 after starting her Army career as an Army Materiel Command Fellow in the Logistics Data Analysis Center, formerly known as the Logistics Support Activity, quickly finding a home in the Systems Readiness Directorate’s airworthiness mission. She received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas A&M University-Texarkana and a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and mechanics from the University of Minnesota.
Salehi is the Power and Control Systems Development Division chief for the Technology Development Directorate. Salehi’s civil service career spans more than 20 years and he first came to the Center as a mechanical engineering student from Auburn University.
With the three of them representing each Center directorate, they said they look forward to not just collaborating across the enterprise but building relationships between directorates – and the opportunity to learn best practices that can be incorporated into their own organization.
“Hopefully what will come out in the project, though it's not an absolute requirement, is some substantive change that would help grow and develop DEVCOM – and AvMC,” Fry said.
The DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the Army’s research and development focal point for advanced technology in aviation and missile systems. It is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command. AvMC is responsible for delivering collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions, as required by the Army’s strategic priorities and support to its Cross-Functional Teams.