COMMAND/ORGANIZATION: Chief Information Office, Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space
TITLE: Knowledge management specialist
YEARS OF SERVICE IN WORKFORCE: 11
YEARS OF MILITARY SERVICE: 26
ACQUISITIONS CERTIFICATIONS: Level III in information technology
EDUCATION: B.S. in science and associate of science in general education, both from Troy University
AWARDS: Driver and Mechanic Badge with Driver – Wheeled Vehicle Clasp, Armed Forces Reserve Medal 20 Year Device, Overseas Service Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Non-commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (third award), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Tennessee National Guard Recruiting Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal (second award), Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal (sixth award), Tennessee National Guard Distinguished Service Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Commendation Medal (second award), Meritorious Service Medal (second award), Civilian Service Commendation Medal (second award)
Robin Tittle Sr.
by Teresa Mikulsky Purcell
If there’s one thing Robin Tittle Sr. learned during his 26 years in the Army, it is that Soldiers are only as good as their support network at home. “When they don’t have that support, you have to fill those shoes sometimes,” he said. Tittle practices this philosophy on the job, where he leads a knowledge management team at the Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space (PEO MS) at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.
Tittle believes in a “team first” management concept. “A person should always look at a project or task in terms of how it will help the team or the organization,” he said. “We cannot look at a success as an individual accomplishment, but as a team accomplishment that will help the organization and the warfighter.”
How does he achieve this team mentality? By making it personal.
“I strike up conversations, ask my team and colleagues how they are doing and learn about their professional concerns and their families,” he said. In simple terms, Tittle shows he cares. “If you don’t know people on a personal basis, you can’t lead them.”
He builds rapport by laughing at himself and not being a roadblock. “I try not to bring my personal problems to work and I do the same thing at home,” Tittle said. “I try to separate the two—that’s why I’ve been married for 40 years. When something does happen, I try to make it funny.”
He used his camper as an example. During the week, Tittle lives in a 33-foot RV called a “fifth wheel” that he parks at Redstone Arsenal’s campground, and he travels home to be with his wife on weekends. “When something frustrating happens at the campground—the toilet backs up, the heater doesn’t work or a water hose busts—I try to joke about it with my team and colleagues. If you can’t laugh at yourself, you can’t laugh at anyone else. People need to be able to laugh at you.”
But what Tittle does on the job is no laughing matter. He assists in overseeing a team of six acquisition professionals in the Chief Information Office (CIO) who develop and implement knowledge management systems and solutions. Knowledge management is the art of creating, organizing, applying and transferring knowledge to facilitate situational awareness and decision-making. PEO MS staff use knowledge management practices and automated systems to assist them in collecting, analyzing, managing and disseminating information, which provides the basis for creating and maintaining understanding within their organizations.
“We support all project offices and Soldiers at PEO MS, providing them with solutions that meet their software use requirements and ensure overall organizational effectiveness,” Tittle said, noting his work focuses mainly on operations and administrative functions.
For example, Tittle and his team developed the PEO MS Service Desk application to track task and work orders for the CIO and manage user requests and customer-care-related issues, such as email access and login problems. Staff at PEO MS also use the application to track major projects, generate workflows and manage issue resolution.
Tittle’s team also built an in-house application, called Continuous Learning U Registration, that allows personnel to manage their training. Using a single application, the workforce at PEO MS can access a catalog of available courses, register for them and obtain approval for the courses from their supervisors. The software also allows the training management team to pull reports, add courses, change course information and maintain historical data in one location. “This streamlines the effort to offer continuous learning for PEO MS personnel,” Tittle said. “This is a great example of how knowledge management keeps everything in one location and simplifies the process for the whole organization.”
When Tittle talks about what he and his team do, the thing that most people find surprising is that they have the capability to build software in-house. He leads software developers, database managers and analysts who provide customer solutions. “We try to use existing software to address a problem first,” Tittle said. “If that doesn’t work, we will try to develop it in-house. Commercial off-the-shelf software is the last resort. Bottom line: We implement the most feasible way to accomplish the task and save the government the most money,” he added.
“We use Visio, databases, SharePoint and other collaboration tools to help us organize and pool data into one collective resource where users can quickly find the information they need and distribute it among each other,” Tittle explained. “We have found that the primary reason most organizations are deficient is because they lack proper knowledge. Organizations must have appropriate knowledge about business requirements to be at the top of their game—that’s where we come in.”
Tittle started out in the acquisition career field supporting NATO’s Medium Extended Air Defense System Management Agency, where he was a civilian systems information specialist. “I worked with Germany and Italy to better equip Soldiers to accomplish their mission,” Tittle said. He supported computer needs, such as replacement, repair, video teleconferences, graphics and “… anything else they needed done to support the mission,” he added. The mission provided threat detection capability for highly maneuverable low-signature threats.
The highlight of this assignment for Tittle was meeting foreign nationals, some of whom shared his passion for riding motorcycles. In his spare time, he rides a Harley Davidson Road King motorcycle with his wife, Jennifer. “She loves to ride anywhere the bike takes us,” he said, mentioning the mountains of east Tennessee as a favorite place. Tittle and his wife spent four days exploring the Natchez Trace Parkway, 444 miles of mountain terrain that stretches from Nashville, Tennessee—passing through Alabama—to Tupelo and Jackson, Mississippi. They have a tagalong on their rides: a stuffed animal named George, who dances to “Wild Thing,” the popular 1960s rock song. “When we stop for gas and push his button, it always brings a smile to others,” Tittle said. “It tells people you don’t take yourself that seriously.”
And that’s exactly how Tittle lives his life, treating each day as though it may be his last. “Say hi and talk to everyone you meet and show them that life is good. We need to enjoy every minute. The person you run into could just need someone to acknowledge that they exist that day,” he said. “We are not promised the next minute, so enjoy the people you work with and the people in your personal life because they may not be there tomorrow.”
“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/.