ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – When job positions require relocation, young professionals entering the workforce often arrive at new organizations not knowing their teammates or the surrounding community. Denise Jordan, a first-line supervisor at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Analysis Center, or DAC, noticed that even though there were more new hires after the pandemic, they were not necessarily coming into the office quite yet.
Jordan thought starting a group at Aberdeen Proving Ground, known as APG, of the new and younger generation of professionals would be a great way for them to meet other new teammates and make new friends, professional contacts and learn more about what the other branches and divisions do within the organization and the Army.
“I really felt as though it was a group that I wanted to unite or kick off, but it wasn't a group that I felt like I needed to lead,” Jordan said. “I wanted them to feel ownership and to allow them to have that opportunity to lead the group.”
After learning about the Young Professionals group, Richard Standaert, a mechanical engineer with a focus on ground vehicles, began researching similar programs for young professionals in the command.
While Jordan was coming up with the concept and putting the logistics together, Standaert had already begun coordinating with other DEVCOM Centers to form a structured and recurring club. He started coordinating efforts back in November 2022. He moved here from Florida two years ago and understands the importance a group like this can play in a young professional’s career, especially if they are new to the area.
Standaert will be presenting the ‘Young Professionals’ initiative to Maj. Gen. Miles Brown, DEVCOM Commanding General, later this month. Brown has expressed the importance of connections such as this and offered his support. “I'd say that our culture is building from the bottom-up, as opposed to top-down,” he said. “For example, leadership telling us to start a group would be top-down. I think the group will be stronger if it's built from the bottom up.”
When asked what advice he would give to newcomers, he says that the influx of new information can be one of the most daunting aspects of a new position. “In the beginning it'll be like drinking from a fire hose,” Standaert said. “There's a lot of jargon and words that won't make too much sense. But you know, hang in there. There are a lot of good people here.”