GROUP GATHERING: TWI Fellows from around the country gathered for their annual midpoint meeting from March 26 to 28, at Sig Sauer headquarters in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
by Rachel Berry, Director for Acquisition Career Management Office
From March 26 to 28, the Army Acquisition Training With Industry (TWI) Fellows from around the country gathered for their program midpoint trip. TWI is a work-experience program that provides extensive exposure to best in breed managerial techniques and industrial procedures within corporate America to competitively selected officers. This assignment is offered to highly motivated and skilled officers in the grade of O4-O5. Applicant backgrounds are matched up against desired and required skills of the specific companies.
The annual midpoint trip rotates each year to a different company—this year, Sig Sauer hosted it at their headquarters in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Lt. Col. Ken Elgort, Army Acquisition TWI program manager, said the midpoint “is an integral part of the TWI experience where fellows can cross pollenate ideas and best practices learned from their industry partners. These ideas can then help these future leaders in their next assignment, which for the most part is a CSL [centralized selection list] level billet.”
The week began with an escorted tour of the Sig Sauer headquarters, including the manufacturing plant and field range. The fellows had the opportunity to spend time with the CEO of Sig Sauer, Ron Cohen, who provided insight into the company vision and strategy, and an outside perspective on doing business with the military. The fellows followed the entire manufacturing process throughout the plant and learned how the company adapted through pandemic challenges, including making all parts in house and attracting competitive talent. During the afternoon, the fellows went out to the Sig Sauer Academy range, where they participated in a shooting safety overview and then competed in guided firing exercises to highlight features that Sig Sauer wants to bring to the military to improve performance, like red dot pistol scopes.
For the remainder of the trip, the group gathered to learn and contribute feedback about ongoing acquisition changes. Each fellow gave an overview presentation of their TWI experience to the group. Since most of the officers spent their entire career in the Army, there were great conversations on industry’s culture, leadership, history and business practices. Some officers rotated throughout different departments in an organization, while others’ experience was singularly within a team at their placement.
Other variants between experiences were placements in organizations that strove to always find an element of fun at work, while others maintained a strong engineering culture. Officers created their own experience and agenda for their year in the TWI program to meet their personal career goals. The group provided feedback to Director for Acquisition Career Management Office program managers on how to continue to improve the program—such as more opportunities for networking throughout the program year. Lt. Col. Laura Freeland summed up the experience: “The TWI Midpoint was an amazing three-day experience, not just to re-connect with friends and peers, but also to learn about their experiences, takeaways and recommendations to improve the program. Couple this with a truly unique company experience at Sig Sauer and we were given an opportunity we will not soon forget.”
To learn more about TWI and how to apply for the fiscal year 2023 program, go to https://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/aac-training-with-industry/