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REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (Feb. 12, 2024) – Guided by her passion for teamwork and mentorship, Dr. Stephanie Reitmeier, the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center’s newest senior leader, will ensure the AvMC workforce is positioned to support the Warfighter not just today, but well into the future.

Reitmeier was named director of the DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center Software, Simulation, Systems Engineering & Integration Directorate, and selected for the Senior Executive Service, effective Feb. 11. She will lead the Center’s largest directorate, S3I, which develops and delivers responsive aviation and missile total life cycle systems engineering, prototyping, cyber, software, protective technologies, and systems simulation engineering to enable readiness and ensure transformation of the U.S. Army to optimize joint Warfighter capabilities at the point of need.

“Dr. Reitmeier is a proven leader with a number of significant accomplishments for our Army, including leading the development and delivery of the Palletized Field Artillery Launcher,” said AvMC Director Dr. James Kirsch. “Her passion for our Soldiers and for her team make her a great selection to lead a directorate whose output both improves the readiness of the current force while providing increased capability for the future force.”

It’s a passion Reitmeier has cultivated her entire life.

Growing up in Alabama, when it became apparent that her dreams of becoming a ballerina weren’t likely to come true, Reitmeier turned her career sights to something a little closer to home – electrical engineering. Her grandfather and father both worked as electrical engineers at AvMC before it was known by today’s name – her grandfather supporting the Patriot missile system, her father the then-Precision Fires Project Office.

“I knew from a very, very, young age that I wanted to be an electrical engineer and that I wanted to work for the Army on weapons systems,” Reitmeier said.

Upon graduating from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with her bachelor’s in electrical engineering, Reitmeier became a third generation AvMC employee, after co-oping throughout college at a defense contractor.

“The service aspect of working for the government really appealed to me, as well as the flexibility to see the broader Army picture,” said Reitmeier, whose first job was as an electronics engineer with the then-System Simulation and Development Directorate.

Reitmeier has held a variety of positions within AvMC over the past 20 years, but one of the key milestones in her career was her assignment as the Team Lead for the Virtual Targets Center.

“I went from purely technical work to starting to integrate a team at a leadership level,” Reitmeier said. “I very quickly realized I wasn’t as prepared for that leadership responsibility as I should be.”

So Reitmeier did what every good engineer does when they aren’t familiar with something – she set out to learn it. Already pursuing her master’s in electrical engineer in UAH, she added a minor in engineering management, and went on to receive her doctorate in engineering management, with a specific focus on engineering team development. Her dissertation specifically addressed how engineers develop and form as teams.

“Because we don’t do it the way everybody else does,” she said.

Her willingness – and perseverance – to learn how to lead has reaped benefits not only for Reitmeier, who is viewed as an expert in strategic transformational change, but for those who have been mentored by her.

“Teamwork is very important to me,” Reitmeier said. “A lot of people say they’re team forward, until it gets hard. I am team forward because it is hard, and that includes government and contractors. I am very mentoring and employee development focused because I fully believe that if we serve the Army well today because we have a healthy bench, but can’t do it tomorrow, we haven’t spent the time and the resources necessary to continue to hone our skills and support the rest of the team in that development.
“If you can build me a missile today, that’s great. But if you can’t build me a missile in 10 years, then I failed. While everybody says the Warfighter or the Soldier is our number one priority, I need you to think about that in terms of balance, because you cannot sacrifice our future on the altar of today.”

One concrete example of Reitmeier’s commitment to professional development and mentoring is her creation and facilitation of the Daedalus Project, which brings together teams of diverse members from across AvMC to address a complex Army challenge. The program, which has improved knowledge transfer, communication, creativity, inclusion, conflict resolution and leadership skills for its participants, has held 11 team projects to date.

“It’s almost like a testbed for reality,” Reitmeier said. “I can’t tell you how many people have come back and said, ‘I see problems in my own team now that I didn’t know existed,’ or ‘I know why people are doing this now.’ I feel like that is some very tangible good that I’ve been able to do for the organization.”

The list of tangible good Reitmeier has done for AvMC, and the Army, goes far beyond Daedalus – from the fast-paced complex prototype development of the Palletized Field Artillery Launcher, to taking the thermal protection system for the Hypersonic Weapon system from design concept to ready for transition to industry. Reitmeier’s resume, which includes both reimbursable and science and technology work, is a testament to her dedication to the mission and the people who execute it. Prior to becoming acting Technical Deputy for Program Support at S3I in June 2023, she served as the Associate Director, Propulsion and Structures, Technology Development Directorate.

“I’m really excited and proud to be leading the S3I team,” Reitmeier said.  “Many of them I have known from my previous roles, as well as getting to know them in the last six months. They’re a very welcoming organization. They’re a very mission-focused and customer-forward organization, which I think is very important, and really resonates with me personally.”

Her awards and accolades include the 2022 Civilian Service Achievement Medal, 2021 AUSA 3rd Region Civilian of the Year Award, and the 2020 Civilian Service Commendation Medal.

Outside of work Reitmeier’s focus is on family and faith. She and her husband Paul, a computer scientist, have two sons and one daughter. In her spare time, she enjoys rock climbing and running.

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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.