IDEAL Breaks Ground With Virtual Session, 61 Graduates

By October 15, 2020April 23rd, 2021Career Development, Ideal
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FORT BELVOIR, Va. (Oct. 17, 2020)—During the final week of August, the two Inspiring and Developing Excellence in Acquisition Leaders (IDEAL) program cohorts came together via Microsoft Teams to complete their final session of instruction and to graduate the program. Concluding the program virtually in August was not part of the original plan.

The IDEAL program, which typically consists of three separate one-week sessions held over a period of six months, had kicked off during the previous calendar year for the two fiscal year 2020 cohorts. Both had completed the first two sessions in person—the Fort Belvoir cohort at the Humphreys Engineer Center in Alexandria, Virginia, and the Huntsville cohort on the campus of the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Participants had expected to complete IDEAL in person at their respective locations in May, but the emergence of the pandemic forced a change to those plans.

In response to the COVID-19 situation, the Army Acquisition Center of Excellence (AACoE), which is the schoolhouse for the IDEAL program, adjusted the curriculum, revised the schedule, enlisted instructors and facilitators and arranged the technology to provide the class virtually. The center’s efforts resulted in a course of instruction that included modules in leading through change, team excellence, employee engagement and transformational leadership. From Aug. 25-27, AACoE presented this third IDEAL session to a combined audience of both cohorts. The online delivery of the session denied the person-to-person interactions that are a hallmark of the IDEAL program, but the Teams platform did allow for virtual interactions.

At the conclusion of the session, AACoE’s Dwayne Morton, who had presented several of the modules, and Craig Gardunia, AACoE director, wrapped up the program and reviewed many key points. Jack Kendall, chief of acquisition workforce development and engagement for the Office of the Director for Acquisition Career Management (DACM), provided remarks to the graduates and encouraged them to continue developing their leadership abilities.

A screenshot of Microsoft Teams as the fiscal year 2020 combined cohorts begin a module on transformational leadership during virtual Session 3 of the IDEAL program. AACoE instructor Dwayne Morton can be seen in the bottom right corner. (Image by the author)

For fiscal year 2021, the DACM Office has decided not to offer the IDEAL program. The well-being of the workforce and the desire to provide in-person, quality training in a safe environment were major factors influencing this decision.


Fort Belvoir Cohort
Anand Bahadur, Army Futures Command (AFC)
Kimberly Bell, AFC
Gerard Cabigon, U.S. Army Medical Command
Roy Chow, U.S. Army Contracting Command (ACC)
Sarah Condon, U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM)
Marla Dalzell, Program Executive Office (PEO) for Combat Support and Combat Service Support (CS&CSS)
Narayan Das, PEO Soldier
Celeste DiSciullo, PEO Command, Control and Communications – Tactical (C3T)
Allyson Elliott, TACOM
Maya Gavin-Ellison, AFC
James Gilbert, PEO Enterprise Information Systems (EIS)
Dewayne Grant, ACC
Michael Hamfeldt, AFC
Kurt Hunsanger, PEO Ground Combat Systems (GCS)
Phillip Landan, PEO CS&CSS
Lisa Mobley, Joint PEO Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (CBRND)
Christie Murphy, PEO EIS
Parchell Patton, PEO EIS
Miesha Purcell, U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center
Stephanie Riley, PEO Aviation
Miguel Salles, U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM)
Jose Santos, PEO CS&CSS
Savanna Shilt, CECOM
Mumbi Thande-Kamiru, U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC)
Nicholas Topfer, JPEO CBRND
Glynn Vincent, PEO Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (STRI)
Baron Walker, ATEC
Terell Williams, PEO EIS
Jacqueline Yearby-Wade, JPEO CBRND

The fiscal year 2020 Fort Belvoir cohort gathers with guest speaker Kim Reid (second row, fourth from left), then the project director of the Rapid Equipping Force at the Program Executive Office for Soldier, at the Humphreys Engineer Center in Alexandria, Virginia, during Session 2 of the IDEAL program. (Photo by U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center)

Huntsville Cohort
Christopher Bloomfield, PEO CS&CSS
Stuart Christianson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
Isaac Collins, PEO C3T
Tabitha Dombroski, AFC
Adrian Epps, ACC
Maria Fitch, ATEC
Katherine Fry, AFC
Jacob Gibson, U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM)
Tracy Gluck, ACC
Courtney Hawkins, ACC
Robert Hearon, PEO Missiles and Space (M&S)
Benjamin Hill, ATEC
Michael Hollis, AMCOM
Cindy Jepsen, TACOM
Lena Johnson, USACE
Ritsa Karakanas, CECOM
Deanna Love, PEO CS&CSS
Olga Lucci, TACOM
Lindsey Marshall, AMCOM
Ladonna McCann, AMCOM
Justin Neal, AFC
Timothy Norton, ATEC
Andrew Ordway, ACC
Rita Owens, PEO Aviation
Dawn Patterson, PEO M&S
Derek Phillips, PEO M&S
Jillian Quillen, ATEC
Kevin Shwedo, AMCOM
John Smith, PEO STRI
Sheldon Smith, ATEC
Brian Steinberg, AMCOM
Thomas Zapata, AFC

The fiscal year 2020 Huntsville cohort takes a break from class to pose for a photo on the campus of the University of Alabama in Huntsville during Session 1 of the IDEAL program. (Photo courtesy of AACoE)


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