Faces of the Force: Mary Ingram
POSITION: Systems Engineer/Value Engineering Lead
UNIT: Joint Attack Munition Systems (JAMS), PEO Missiles and Space Redstone Arsenal, AL
TOTAL YEARS OF SERVICE: 5
AWARDS: DOD Value Engineering Award, 2011
EDUCATION: B.S. Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Alabama Huntsville; M.S. Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alabama Huntsville
By Susan L. Follett
FOTF: What do you do in the Army?
INGRAM: I facilitate environmental requirements for programs related to the Army’s aviation rockets and missiles, including the Hydra 70 family of rockets, the Hellfire family of missiles, and the joint air-to-ground missile. I review contract deliverables, statements of work, program plans, and acquisition strategies. I also support Foreign Military Sales customers in resolving questions related to environmental regulations and oversee material release requirements—documentation required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) so that a weapon system can be released into the field.
FOTF: Why is your job important?
INGRAM: Our work is important in making sure that the programs are compliant with environmental guidelines for hazardous materials, mainly NEPA.
FOTF: What has your work experience been like?
INGRAM: I first started working here when I was an undergrad, as part of an internship that eventually transitioned into a full-time position. As someone with no military background, I definitely encountered a learning curve. The Army has a language and a culture all its own, and it took me awhile to become fluent in it. But I really enjoy the work I do and the people I work with.
FOTF: What has surprised you most?
INGRAM: One of the most surprising things to me was the tremendous support I received in pursuing an advanced degree. My coworkers and leadership encouraged me to pursue my master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering and were incredibly supportive during that process, providing work schedule flexibility as well as a great deal of moral support.
FOTF: What is your greatest satisfaction being a part of the Army?
INGRAM: As a civilian, I’m proud to help support our men and women in the field who are putting themselves in harm’s way to benefit our country.
FOTF: What are some recent achievements?
INGRAM: I’ve served as the Value Engineering (VE) Team Lead for JAMS since 2007. The VE program aims to identify and implement ideas that provide better solutions at lower costs across all of our systems, processes, and organizations. Our VE efforts have resulted in more economical circuit card repairs for the Hellfire launcher, more durable containers for the Hydra rockets, increased missile availability, and more efficient missile assembly.
Over the past five years, we’ve saved nearly $150 million while improving the quality of the products we provide, and for our efforts, our team received DOD’s Value Engineering Award in 2011.
FOTF: What do you enjoy most about your work?
INGRAM: As odd as it seems, one of the things I enjoy most is the opportunity to do the work that falls outside of my job description: helping with configuration management, reviewing change proposals, or assisting with a technical evaluation. Those tasks really help me understand the different functions here at JAMS and give me insight into how all of our jobs fit together to effectively support the Soldier.
For more information on JAMS visit http://www.msl.army.mil/.
- “Faces of the Force” is an online feature highlighting members of the Army Acquisition Workforce. Produced by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Communication Division, and working closely with public affairs officers, Soldiers and Civilians currently serving in a variety of AL&T disciplines are featured every other week. For more information, or to nominate someone, please contact 703-805-1006.