CECOM Spotlight Randy Tallington: EEO specialist aims to ‘learn something new every day’

By Rachel PonderFebruary 23, 2024

Official photo of Affirmative Employment Program Manager Randy Tallington
Affirmative Employment Program Manager Randy Tallington (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Kief, CECOM PAO ) VIEW ORIGINAL

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Affirmative Employment Program Manager Randy Tallington is an Equal Employment Opportunity specialist with the CECOM EEO Program.

Tallington said one of the ways he approaches his job, and his life is by “taking one step at a time.”

“Stress is real in people’s lives,” he said. “And if you focus on the big picture too much, you miss those small details.”

Variety of duties

EEO specialists especially need to pay attention to detail because many laws and Army regulations govern the EEO program, which is considered a third-party neutral program, Tallington said.

He explained that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission releases guidance via the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and the CECOM EEO Program ensures the command complies with those laws and Army guidelines.

Tallington, who has been with CECOM since 2021, says he is constantly learning something new, with his job or fellow employees.

As an EEO specialist, he has a variety of responsibilities. One of his main duties is keeping track of CECOM demographics using a program called BOBi, and then using that data to report his significant findings to leadership.

Due to a vacancy, Tallington said he also serves as a disability program manager. The DPM is responsible for guiding decision makers when approving and disapproving personnel reasonable accommodations, temporary or permanent. A reasonable accommodation is an accommodation for an individual with a permanent or temporary disability that allows them to do their job. This is guided by law and Army regulations.

The EEO Program also handles EEO complaints. Tallington said handling EEO complaints involves having strong communication skills and the ability to address situations sensitively. He attended a mediation course from the Justice Center of Atlanta and a speech course with Graduate School USA, which enhances how to process EEO complaints effectively.

 

Recognizing employees, helping others

Additionally, Tallington assists sections or subordinate commands with submitting packages for employee diversity awards throughout the year.

“I help make the process more streamlined,” he said.

The BEYA Awards, given during the BEYA STEM Conference in February, is probably the “biggest” lifts for him. This year, four employees from CECOM received awards during BEYA. Those who received awards were recognized for their leadership skills and commitment to promoting diversity in the workforce.

“When a person receives an award, they feel like their work is important to the command, when they get nominated, they feel like they are recognized by their supervisor and their leadership, and they can use it in their performance review,” he said. “Having received an award follows them throughout their career and it can be part of their resume.”

Also, Tallington currently mentors two interns at the Army Materiel Command Headquarters in Huntsville, Alabama.

“Interns come with basic skills; what I have to do as an EEO specialist is kind of guide them in forming their own processes and keep them informed of the federal and Army regulations which guides the EEO program.”

 Learning from experience

Tallington describes his career and educational background as “extensive,” which helped prepare him for his current position. He has a history of service, as he was in the U.S. Air Force, in Security Forces for 10 years. His assignments include serving as a K-9 handler, nuclear security, and law enforcement.

“Because of my injuries, I got out as disabled veteran,” he said.

After he left the military, he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a minor in forensic science. This led him to take a job with the Department of Public Safety in Salt Lake City, Utah. As a member of law enforcement support, he processed and identified fingerprints and conducted applicant and criminal background checks.

This experience taught Tallington how to handle the unexpected.

“There is a saying in law enforcement, there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop, and that statement could be applied to almost anything; you should never consider things routine, especially if you are dealing with other people.”

Tallington transitioned into EEO, he said, because he felt like a federal career would allow him more opportunities to serve others and grow in his career.

“I decided to submit my resume to anyone who was willing to look at it,” he said. “And I met the minimum qualifications for EEO. So, I became an intern, and after two years you are a full-fledged member of the EEO family.”

Tallington said one aspect of his job he enjoys is being able to learn constantly.

“This job gives me the opportunity to learn new skills and, in the process, interact with other people who may or not know the EEO process, such as the awards, complaint process, or reasonable accommodations,” he said.

Before working at CECOM, Tallington worked as an EEO specialist with the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois and the U.S. Army Medical Command at Fort Sam Houston in Texas.

“I know in some kind of way, my work influences the mission,” Tallington said, about working for CECOM.

Tallington said he aims to approach work with an open mind, be willing to learn new things, and take on new challenges.

“I have learned to say, ‘yes’ to some things I do not want to do,” he laughed. “Everything is here for a reason and if you say, ‘yes’ to it than you can learn something from it, there is always room to learn.”