By Sherri Headrick, contributing writerSeptember 27, 2012
REDSTONE ARESNAL, Ala. -- The U.S. Army Materiel Command in the 1990s was known for its support to humanitarian efforts worldwide, but how AMC communicated internally was transforming, thanks to the perspective of employees willing to be the catalysis for change.
John Goodman, Chief of the AMC Media Center, was part of this transformation. He has always had an interest in transforming technology.
"As a young kid, I was always pulling old radios, lawn mower parts and other stuff out of the trash can--anything with electrical or mechanical parts--just to see how things worked and see if I could make something new," he said.
Goodman came to AMC in 1973 and was active duty until 1975. After leaving the Army, he worked at the Pentagon for four years at the U.S. Army Audio Visual Center. He returned to AMC in 1980.
It was during the 80s that Goodman would be part of a team that brought videoconferencing technology to AMC and to the DoD. "AMC was the first videoconference facility in DoD in the 1980s. Planning started in 1981 and was implemented in April 1986," he said. As he describes, the 80s began the transformation from traditional graphics and presentations to electronic and computer-generated presentations. He recalled speakers who were used to carrying stacks of viewgraphs looking at him suspiciously when he would hand them a disc and tell them it contained their presentation.
As he remarked, "It was a huge cultural shift to get things done and to get people comfortable with new technologies." The 1990s brought rapid expansion of and competition around computer systems, computer graphics, video conferences, videos and other technologies. Goodman wisely recognized the importance of assembling a top notch team at AMC. "I helped bring in our talent pool," he said. "I specifically hired people for their in-depth knowledge of presentation skills. We brought in degreed professionals such as digital imaging professionals who had a sustained interest in the technology as a career field as opposed to a hobby."
The team's expertise paid off. They found ways to imbed videos before it became standard. They developed what was considered "extravagant" multimedia presentations in the 90s. An informal competition developed between AMC, TRADOC and FORSCOM, with AMC leading the pack. During the 90s, AMC was recognized in Technical Photography and other national trade magazines for its technological excellence.
Goodman and team still maintain that commitment to excellence today. In the current media office, there are over 200 years of combined professional experience. "We do things that hopefully impact our customers' programs in a positive manner," he said. "The bottom line, I am pleased when I see positive results. I'm happy when the customer is happy. That's my reward."
Editor's Note: This is part nine of AMC's 50th anniversary series, which will include insight from each decade and comments from people who worked with AMC throughout the years.