REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. — While she may be the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center’s lone Cincinnati employee, Laura Macht’s distance from her team is purely geographical.
Like many, Macht came on board as a DEVCOM AvMC employee during the COVID-19 pandemic, when teleworking transitioned from a necessity to the new normal. The silver lining became that it opened a new talent pool. From AvMC’s perspective, telework flexibilities allows the Center to get premier, world-class talent that was previously limited by location.
Macht had spent 17 years in industry working with AvMC’s Systems Readiness Directorate so when a position opened that would enable her to preserve her family's Cincinnati roots, she knew it would be the best of both worlds.
“The Army team was just such a great collaboration,” Macht said. “I was drawn into the mission of getting the warfighter that next generation technology they wanted. Personally, through my career I had found that I was in a wash and repeat cycle in industry of trying to make sure I was working on things I enjoyed, but also understanding their charter was to put money in someone's pocket. I wasn't always in alignment with some of those decisions.”
For the Ohio native, following in her older brother’s footsteps and attending Purdue University was a lifelong dream, but she wouldn’t know what she wanted to study until her parents took her to an immersion day at the school.
“I always loved math and science,” she said. “My parents and I went to an engineering day where they shared what the crux of engineering is and what you can do with it. I learned that engineering was all about problem solving.”
Macht said that what she does in manufacturing technology fulfills that love of tackling challenges.
“Our job is to take what has been vetted through research and development all the way up to prime time,” Macht said. “It's a lot of work to make sure processes and procedures are followed, and that you're truly vetting the technology to meet all those needs of your customer.”
When not at work, Macht can be found with her young son and daughter, shuttling kids to and from activities — and if there is time in the day, teaching a spin class. Macht said that telework has given her the work-life balance that she needed but did not always receive when she worked for private industry, juggling commutes and drop-offs with meetings. She does see her SRD colleagues in-person several times a year, as she travels down to Redstone Arsenal, and they recently traveled up to Cincinnati to attend a conference.
While it is true that there are plenty of lanyards within the formation with Auburn and Mississippi State colors, Macht said that she would like to see more from outside the Southeastern Conference. She stresses the importance of prioritizing diversity and has represented the Center at Purdue to recruit interns and co-op students.
“When people come with different backgrounds and different thoughts, I think it betters the team. My years in industry has given me that different school of thought. I bring a different viewpoint on how we can maybe do better as a community.”
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.