COMMAND/ORGANIZATION: Program Executive Office for Combat Support and Combat Service Support
TITLE: Director of business management
ACQUISITION CAREER FIELD: Business cost estimating and financial management
YEARS OF SERVICE IN WORKFORCE: 15 years
MILITARY OR CIVILIAN: Civilian
DAWIA CERTIFICATIONS: Level III in business cost estimating and financial management, Level I in program management
EDUCATION: B.S. in mathematics with a minor in sociology, University of Michigan-Dearborn
AWARDS: Achievement Medal for Civilian Service (2008), Commander’s award for Civilian Service (2013), Commander’s award for Civilian Service (2014), 2015 David Packard Award for Excellence in Acquisition (team award), 2015 Project Management Team of the Year (team award), 2016 Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Should Cost and Innovation Award (team award)
HOMETOWN: Dearborn, Michigan
by Ellen Summey
Anisah Zeghir is a veritable force of nature. Bold, driven and known for her sense of adventure, she has something in common with famed explorer and mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary, who said, “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” She loves the outdoors, yes, but it’s about more than the fresh air or the views. Taking on a new challenge—like hiking or zip lining—is how Zeghir satisfies her own natural curiosity and ambition. “Every day is an opportunity to learn, try new things and get out of my comfort zone,” she said. From a very young age, her parents encouraged her to expand her horizons and explore the world around her—a life lesson they had learned firsthand. “My parents emigrated to the U.S. from Lebanon,” she said. “They settled in Michigan, where I was born and raised, and they made sure that my siblings and I understood how fortunate we were to be growing up here.” Zeghir was reminded to be grateful for things that are often taken for granted in the United States, like the ability to live without the constant threat of war. “I never had to experience that as a child, but my parents did,” she said. “They always encouraged us to work hard, study and take advantage of the great opportunities in this country. I always wanted to do my part to give back.”
That advice eventually led her to a career with the Army. Nearing the completion of her mathematics degree in college, she still wasn’t sure of her next step. After hearing a prior graduate speak to students about his work with U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM), she knew she had found her professional home. “A TACOM representative came to campus and was describing his work and his daily routine as an operations research analyst for the Army,” she said. “Immediately, I knew that was something I would love because it sounded challenging, unique and allowed me to give back.” With her sights set on that job, Zeghir launched her career as an Army civilian. In her first position as—you guessed it—an operations research analyst for TACOM, she evaluated parts for Army vehicles, incorporating data about useful lifespan and other factors, to determine which ones to buy. “I love numbers and spreadsheets and this was a way for me to do what I loved, while ensuring that taxpayers were getting the best product for their money,” she said.
Today, Zeghir is the director of business management for the Program Executive Office for Combat Support and Combat Service Support (PEO CS&CSS) Joint Project Office Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JPO JLTV). “I manage cost, budget, schedule and acquisition in the Business Management Office, to support the staffing of milestone decision authority packages, the preparation of portfolio and budget briefs and the completion of product-level taskers for JPO JLTV, which includes Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, Light Tactical Vehicles and Ground Mobility Vehicles.” In short, she works to make sure warfighters get the equipment they need, on schedule and within budget.
During her 15 years with the Army, Zeghir’s drive and curiosity have been instrumental to her success, but she credits leaders who encouraged her to take on new challenges, as well. “In my career, I have always wanted to learn more and understand how multiple disciplines integrate or impact one another,” she said. “I was fortunate to work with leaders who supported career-broadening experiences, especially outside my career field.” And those two points—a focus on systems thinking and an emphasis on building strong relationships—form the basis of her advice to junior acquisition personnel today.
“The advice I have given them is to take their time and learn how their current role impacts and supports mission, especially how it impacts the Soldier,” she said. “Getting to know the individuals I work with, what motivates them and their aspirations, allowed me to network both internally and externally, and those relationships were instrumental in successful task completion, meeting goals and ultimately getting the best possible product to the warfighter.” Cooperation and collaboration became even more important to Zeghir in 2016, when grappling with the care of her mother’s serious illness. Because she had built strong relationships with team members and stakeholders alike, she had the confidence to step away from work, knowing her team would continue the mission until she returned. “That meant so much to me—to allow me to focus on my mother and my family during that time, was invaluable,” she said. Her experience reinforced for her the importance of building relationships and also served as a reminder that she’s committed to serving the Army in any capacity she can.
So, what comes next for Zeghir? Time will tell, but she’s setting her sights on the possibilities. “Currently, I am completing my Level III program management certification,” she said. “It has given me the ability to integrate and solidify what I have learned on the job over the past 15 years in disciplines outside my career field, such as engineering and logistics.” She said she is becoming more adept at strategic planning and forward thinking. “We never stop learning,” she said. “No matter the career field, we all have one ultimate goal as Army civilians: support the Soldier.” She’s pursuing her goals and fulfilling her parents’ wishes. “My greatest satisfaction in my career is the ability to give back,” she said. “It’s a small token of my appreciation for all the opportunities made available to me.”
“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/.
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