By Darrell Whitehurst
FORT BELVOIR, Va. – Seven Army acquisition professionals are recent graduates of this year’s Excellence in Government Fellows (EIGF) program conducted by the Partnership for Public Service in Washington, D.C., taking with them a new-found view and approach to become effective leaders and mentors for the next generation of Army acquisition professionals.
This year-long leadership development program is specifically designed for government acquisition professionals offering hands-on leadership development for project managers and other acquisition professionals who are competitively selected at the GS-14 and 15 grade levels and in some cases, high-performing GS-13 professionals.
The purpose of the program is quite simple, but no small feat: transform managers into leaders.
“It has truly been one of the best leadership programs that I have participated in within the Army,” said Karen Arnold, one of this year’s graduates and the director of logistics at Program Executive Office (PEO) Ground Combat Systems. “It really raises the self-awareness and self discovery of who you are as a leader.”
The Partnership for Public Service Fellows is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to revitalize our federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve and by transforming the way government works. The U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center began the EIGF program in October 2009 graduating 60 acquisition professionals to date.
Selected fellows remain in their full-time jobs and meet every six weeks for a total of 20 days throughout the year. On average, fellows devote up to five hours per week on course projects and are required to participate in training events in Washington, D.C. and other locations across the country.
“The program also provided many valuable tools that can be utilized immediately on the job to help not only your leadership ship skills, but you as a person as well,” said Arnold.
The program explores ways to retain the best leaders in the government acquisition concentration community (including contracting officers, program and project managers and others whose success is dependent on strategic acquisition leadership), and encourages them to develop and practice new skill sets, behaviors, and assume more strategic roles in their agencies. These same leaders can serve as mentors for the next generation.
“I believe the success of the Army Acquisition workforce lies in the development, training and transformation of the next generation of contracting professionals,” said Kimberly Kolb, group manager-Information Technology Center at Army Contracting Command in N.J. “I will continue to apply the skills learned to achieve and measure results in difficult environments and strive to assume a more strategic role in my organization by building partnerships and motivating teams,” she said.
Course requirements include the completion of a 360 degree feedback survey, developing individual mission statements, and participation in various team building and self-exploration exercises focused on the qualities of leadership.
“One of the broadening and exciting aspects of the program was that each section was composed of participants from across the federal government,” said George Mitchell, product director at PEO Combat Support & Combat Service Support at Redstone Arsenal. “Completion of the program, besides making you a ‘Senior Fellow’ also creates opportunities for participation in follow-on activities among more than 20 years of graduates and a fairly large population for networking across the government,” he added.
The application window for fiscal year (FY) 2014 EIGF program is closed; however, the FY15 program announcement opens next summer on June 12, 2014. Additional information about the program and the application process is available on the EIGF webpage. The program begins every October.
Congratulations to the 2013 graduates:
- Karen Arnold, PEO Ground Combat Systems, Warren, Mich.
- Nita Clark, PEO Missiles and Space, Huntsville, Ala.
- Kimberly Kolb, Army Contracting Command – Communications – Electronics Command Contracting Center Washington Operations, Washington, D.C.
- Mark McCoy, PEO Combat Support & Combat Service Support at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Warren, Mich.
- George Mitchell, PEO Combat Support & Combat Service Support at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Ala.
- Juan Patino, PEO Ammunition, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.
- Marilyn Shortle, Army Contracting Command – Communications – Electronics Command Contracting Center Washington Operations, Washington, D.C.