COMMAND/ORGANIZATION: Joint Program Executive Office for Armaments and Ammunition, Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center
TITLE: Budget and pricing system lead
ACQUISITION CAREER FIELD: Business-financial management, program management
YEARS OF SERVICE IN WORKFORCE: 16
MILITARY OR CIVILIAN: Civilian
DAWIA CERTIFICATIONS: Level III in business-financial management, Level I in program management, DOD Financial Management Certification
EDUCATION: MBA, Texas A&M University; B.S. in business administration, State University of New York at Albany
AWARDS: Project Manager Close Combat Systems achievement award, Program Executive Office for Ammunition Commander’s Award, Program Executive Office for Ammunition achievement award, Project Manager Maneuver Ammunition Systems achievement award
HOMETOWN: Roselle, New Jersey
by Ellen Summey
Camille Gowdy-Alexander knew she had found the ideal career opportunity back in 2003, when a friend told her about the Army Materiel Command Fellows Program. It was a competitive hiring program for new Army civilians, which provided a tuition-paid graduate degree, a salary and on-the-job training for candidates with strong academic records and a willingness to move and work around the country. After selection, candidates would attend graduate school at Texas A&M University, and then compete for a selection of GS-12 or GS-13 rotational assignments at installations across the country over the next five years. “My friend heard about this program and sent the information to me. She said ‘This sounds exactly like you,’ and after I looked it over, I thought it seemed like a great fit.”
She applied, interviewed and was offered a spot in the very competitive program—and then turned it down. “I didn’t realize that I would have to move, like right away. They gave me a week to relocate from New York to Texas and I was not prepared for that,” she explained. “My family and I talked it over and decided to try again next year, not knowing what the outcome would be.” In 2004, she was ready. When the application window opened, she applied again, and the rest was history. “Fortunately, I was selected again the second time. We moved to Texas, and I did my MBA at Texas A&M,” she said. “That was an amazing experience—I met wonderful people who were selected from other states across the U.S.” Alexander said the group of fellows formed a strong bond, and she remains in contact with many of them. She applied for assignment at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, and she’s been there ever since.
Today, she is the budget and pricing system lead for Procurement of Ammunition, Army, with the Joint Program Executive Office for Armaments and Ammunition (matrixed from Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center). In this role, she leads a small team of four and interfaces with supporting program and product director office budget teams to manage budget development, forecasting, submission and defense for more than 200 unique ammunition programs for JPEO A&A, as well as managing the JPEO A&A automated enterprise budget and pricing system. She said the job is a great fit for her. “It’s an opportunity to do what I love, like working with numbers and finance, and solving challenging problems, while serving a bigger cause.”
For Alexander, that connection to the “bigger cause” has always been important. She was born in Jamaica and immigrated to the U.S. with her mom and brother when she was a preteen. “We moved to Brooklyn, New York, where I went to school and then later started my career,” she said. And through it all, she saw her mom freely give her time to help others around her. “Growing up, I saw her take on the community. She would voluntarily lend her services to the elderly. She would cook for them, bring them meals, sit down and read books, visit with them, and take care of whatever needs they had,” she said. “She was an inspiration—she still is, today. It really left a mark on me, and a passion to do the same in my life.” Alexander said she would like to work with the Peace Corps someday, “to help others in need, both domestically and internationally.” She enjoys volunteering through her church and tries to find that sense of meaning in her current career, as well.
“I have a passion for talent management. I love the idea of grooming folks for the next level and growing talent,” she said. “Things like putting a succession plan in place, knowledge sharing, knowledge management—those are all things that are very near and dear to my heart.” She would love to be able to take her career in that direction eventually, with an eye on using her talents as effectively as possible, for the benefit of the organization. “Just lending my ideas and my experiences within the ammunition enterprise, helping solve problems and helping get our products to the warfighter—I look forward to being a part of that charge and lending my support wherever needed.”
When she offers advice to junior acquisition professionals, she shares three key suggestions. First, “Never be afraid to speak up and provide feedback and insights.” She said offering that input enables leaders to gauge whether they are on the right course, and can alert them if they need to make adjustments. Second, “Never be afraid to take on new challenges.” New experiences and exposures give you a broader knowledge base, she said. Finally, “Be willing to share knowledge with those around you,” and find mentors of your own, to provide insights, feedback and direction along the way. “I always felt it important to share the lessons I’ve learned with those who’ve come alongside or behind me. I’ve also felt a personal responsibility to ensure in my growth that I take into account and make provisions for those who will come behind me.”
Alexander recently completed the Civilian Education System (CES) Advanced Course, which she described as a career highlight. “It proved to be an intense four-week program, which not only challenged us to step outside our norms, but also helped us develop a growth mindset and expand our emotional intelligence as well.” Through the course, she said participants created lasting friendships with each other. “We built a long-term network of like-minded professionals and leaders. I would definitely encourage all aspiring and current leaders to take full advantage of CES courses.”
So, what’s next for Alexander? Whether her career remains in budgeting and finance, or shifts toward program or talent management, you can be sure of one thing—she’ll continue looking out for those around her and preparing the way for those who follow.
“Faces of the Force” is an online series highlighting members of the Army Acquisition Workforce through the power of individual stories. Profiles are produced by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Communication and Support Branch, working closely with public affairs officers to feature Soldiers and civilians serving in various AL&T disciplines. For more information, or to nominate someone, please go to https://asc.army.mil/web/publications/army-alt-submissions/.