Strengthening a professional team through mentoring, standardization and continuous learning
By Rachel Lytle NAWCAD Public Affairs Intern and Kelly Burdick NAVAIR Logistics and Industrial Operations Public Affairs Officer
Opening the NAVAIR Logistics and Industrial Operations', or AIR 6.0, "opportunity of a lifetime" event June 12, AIR 6.0 Assistant Commander Rear Adm. (select) CJ Jaynes was the first, but certainly not the last, to stress the importance of learning from and about our colleagues' progress.
AIR 6.0 leaders cleared their schedules for the day to provide updates on technical initiatives, host a picnic and awards ceremony, and provide career-planning sessions.
This first "Logistics Day" marked an occasion of "continuous learning points," as Jaynes greeted the NAVAIR professionals and faculty with optimism about improvements in all AIR 6.0 areas and mentoring opportunities.
The day began with an array of booths outside of the theater auditorium filled with NAVAIR's strategic Defense Acquisition University partners, who were also sponsors of the event. NAVAIR's Airwaves "Year in Review" video touched on fleet advancements and development, as well as the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Program available for children enrolled in agreement-partnered schools.
Aviation Readiness and Resource Analysis Department, or AIR 6.8, Technical Director Roy Harris took the podium to convey the key goals and objectives of NAVAIR's Command Information Cell. After explaining all of the sustainment metrics that are being tracked, he confirmed that the AIR 6.0 CIC is up and running, and is poised to improve readiness and reduce sustainment costs.
"This is a data-driven method to identify targets of opportunity across the acquisition value stream and fleet readiness," Harris said, describing the CIC's ability to identify areas for improvement. "By taking an analytical approach, we can focus on systemic issues and work collaboratively with programs and other competencies to improve NAVAIR performance."
Robynn Hebert, director of logistics for Fleet Readiness Center, or FRC, East in Cherry Point, N.C., followed with an update on Commander FRC, or COMFRC, refinement and consolidation efforts. These efforts unite level two and three FRCs and evaluate work and commonalities - while continuing to equip naval aviation, at the same time improving cost and schedule.
Hebert spoke of standardized training and command policies and processes that would reach everyone in the same manner to ensure efficient and effective support.
"We want to be sure that we're doing everything consistently across the sites," she said.
Capt. Art Pruett, for the Logistics Management Integration Department, or AIR 6.6, continued the standardization theme.
"The key is learning from your mistakes," Pruett said.
Establishing a Center of Excellence in order to tap into resources and improve and prevent previous problems is the goal.
"That's the theme of 6.6 . standardizing what we do," in order to make it easier and more efficient, he said.
Capt. Brian Jacobs' passion for the 6.7 department was evident, advocating the importance of being there for one another.
"We're all logisticians," he said, recounting that there were seven divisions created for a reason: to make their customers' job easier and more effective.
"That's what we're here for, the customer," Jacobs said.
Dan Nega, AIR 6.8 director, spoke to the team about impending budgetary challenges and the need for standardized tools, efficiency measures and out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to supporting the fleet.
As part of the Teammate Appreciation Month, an employee picnic lunch followed the morning sessions, with hot dogs and hamburgers provided by the First Class Petty Officers and the Chiefs manning the grills. With rain clouds approaching, the awards ceremony was moved inside and employees were recognized with Length of Service awards.
A surprise to employees was revealed at the ceremony: the NAVAIR 6.0 Innovative Logistics Excellence Award. New in fiscal year 2012, this was designed to recognize and acknowledge both military and civilian employees whose innovative programs and/or projects have had a positive impact within the AIR 6.0 competency, NAVAIR program offices and U.S. Naval Air Forces fleet units.
While the morning session was focused on the technical work of the competency, the afternoon embraced the audience as individuals and professionals. AIR 6.0 Deputy Assistant Commander Garry Newton said, "It's important to invest in our employees and make sure we cover planning and training for their professional and personal development."
Dr. Teresa Fazio spoke on behalf of NAVAIR's LogU, or Logistics University. "LogU is the alignment of all the information we've been talking about all day," she said. The goal of LogU is to take the 29 logistics focus areas and create a way to improve our professionalism and manage one's own career.
Lainie Rodriguez provided an overview of the 2012 NAVAIR Career Guidebook, which is a self-help tool to assist NAVAIR employees with career planning. She discussed how it can better enable employees to make deliberate, connected and career-oriented education, training and developmental decisions. For the AIR 6.0 community, the guidebook lays the foundation for LogU, and allows employees to be more competent, capable, and versatile to provide the best support to the Warfighter.
The remainder of the afternoon centered on mentoring relationships. Mentoring Externally Directed Team Lead Michelle DeMoss-Coward said, "You have to take initiative." DeMoss-Coward stressed that in order to debunk myths and unlock potential, selecting a mentor is key. "Find a mentor, become a mentor," she said.
To wrap up the engagement, lively guest speaker Sharie Bourbeau, principal executive for program development with U.S. Customs and Border Protection of the Department of Homeland Security, provided the grand finale with her inspirational leadership presentation, entering the theatre dressed to impress.
With a stereotypical Harley outfit and song to match, she opened up her discussion about the power of first impressions, communication, and how to manage the obstacles that those create. Throughout her dynamic presentation, her message to "acknowledge your obstacles, don't empower them" was evident, as was her support for mentoring.
Claiming her father as her first mentor, "There's no doubt that I wouldn't be where I am today if I didn't have mentors along the way," she said. She highlighted four attributes that make great role models: credibility, fair mindedness, inspiration and competence.
Bourbeau went on to describe experiences in her life that most people can relate to all too well, and the importance of not letting previous negative experiences and impressions force you to miss the current opportunities.
"For me, a mentor will help you see the picture. You can't see the picture if you're in the frame," she said. "That's what a mentor can do for you. So have a mentor and be a mentor!"
Feedback received at the conclusion was very encouraging and indicates this forum provided excellent insight for AIR 6.0 employees into the bigger picture of their day-to-day activities and will be used to plan future events.