FORT RILEY, Kan. - Two new employees arrived at Fort Riley recently in hopes of gaining a perspective on how a garrison installation runs.

These new employees will use the knowledge gained to serve at Installation Management Command headquarters at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, upon completion of an IMCOM Fellows program.

The five-year program is done in partnership with the Army Materiel Command Fellow program and is designed to create highly qualified civilian employees. Fellows are full-time federal employees who receive tuition-paid graduate education, salary, benefits and on-the-job training.

The first 13 months of the program are spent in Texarkana, Texas, where fellows complete graduate level work at AMC's Logistics Leadership Center and Texas A&M University at Texarkana.

While much of the AMC program is geared toward logistics and engineering, with fellows earning master's of science degrees in engineering, IMCOM fellows in the program earn master's of business administration degrees.

After completion of their degree, they undergo a series of rotational on-the-job training assignments.

And that is how Mark Tew, a St. George, Utah, native, and Regina Miller, a Huntsville, Ala., native, arrived at Fort Riley, where they will live and work for about 30 months.

Tew and Miller both recently completed their master's degrees and have now began their first rotational training - Tew with the Resource Management Office and later with the Housing Office, and Miller with Workforce Development and the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center.

"I hope to get experience to be able to be a better employee," said Tew. "It will definitely give me a better perspective on each level of management - each level of responsibility from the garrison level and regional headquarters. I'll get a little more understanding of what's actually involved in each decision."

Tew, who began his rotation Aug. 31, completed his undergraduate degree in finance at Utah State University in Logan, Utah.

"I first heard about the program through the on-campus MBA career office," he said. "Then after, I realized I knew someone in the program from Utah State."

Tew's supervisor is Sheila Cotton, budget analyst supervisor. Cotton and Kathy Basset, who will supervise Miller, are responsible for helping their fellow develop an individual development plan, as well as monitoring their progress as they complete their rotations on post.

"It's great for us to have an additional person to help with the workload, Cotton said.
"He'll learn how the installation runs their budget; he will understand the domino effect of IMCOM headquarters' decisions and how it impacts the installations. And, hopefully, we'll have an advocate for Fort Riley. It's really a plus-plus situation for us."

Miller began her rotation Sept. 8, focusing on human resources and human resource management.

She completed her undergraduate degree in business administration at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Ala. She described her graduate work at Texas A&M as a "wonderful experience."

"That's the only way I can put it," she said. "The training and education I received will really benefit me in the longevity of my career with the Department of Defense."

Miller is excited to delve deeper into her chosen career fields, gaining hands-on experience.

"I like working with people and being on the service side of things," she said. "I enjoy helping people take their careers and developing them."

Basset, who is the workforce development chief at Fort Riley, said she also is excited to have Miller at Fort Riley.

"(The program) gives her a lot of opportunities," said Basset. "She will have a good understanding of the installation level. That's really what IMCOM needs - they need to know what we do out here in the field. They look at the big picture. She comes here to the field to learn her trade then represents us at IMCOM."

IMCOM officials agree. Angela Richardson, IMCOM Fellows program manager said that IMCOM is particularly interested in having their fellows understand the life and work of the warfighter.

"For IMCOM, we found it is important that fellows get the installation-level experience so they can really appreciate their customers, which will be the garrisons," Richardson said. "We now target larger garrisons. (Fellows) get the chance to really embrace the Army Family and learn everything our warfighters go through."

Richardson said that after an initial rotation, some fellows will complete rotations in more stressful, challenging environments such as the Pentagon, Afghanistan or Bahrain to broaden their work experience.

The program is highly competitive, Richardson said. Recruiting is done primarily through university career fairs. She suggests those interested in the fellows program have a high undergraduate grade point average, several professional references, work experience and high GRE or GMAT scores.

The program, however, is likely to change and evolve as IMCOM's partnership with AMC will end this year, Richardson added.

IMCOM has been partnering with AMC since 2006. The AMC program began in 2000.

After the next class of fellows, Richardson said, AMC will handle all recruitment and focus primarily on logistics recruiting.

Richardson said the Army is considering an Army civilian fellow program, but that those conversations are very preliminary.

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