Karoly Qader spent six months at the “Happiest Place on Earth” and hopes to bring back some of that pixie dust to NAVAIR.

Qader, a recent graduate of the NAVAIR Leadership Development Program (NLDP) and a member of the Training Integrated Program Team on F-35 Lightning II, went on a job rotation with Walt Disney World’s Facilities and Operation Services (FOS) as part of an NLDP requirement.

Qader’s interest in Disney began when she took her daughter to Universal Studios to ride the Harry Potter simulator in celebration of her completing the book series. Unfortunately, the ride broke. Looking at it, Qader thought the ride was similar to the flight simulators built at NAWCTSD.

“I wondered how Disney does it and wanted to learn from it,” she said. “I wanted to benchmark best practices from a non-competitor.”

Qader started her rotation in December 2018. FOS is the sustainment arm of Walt Disney World, taking care of the park and its attractions. FOS is comprised of more than 20 different businesses and 12,000 cast members and has responsibilities ranging from transporting guests around the resorts to building and maintaining the rides, shows and attractions, to ensuring the safety and security of all who work and play in Disney theme parks and resorts.

There, she learned about how Disney approaches data collection and analysis throughout its four parks — Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom — to make decisions on current and future projects.

“I liked learning how the entertainment industry is embracing and using big data to prioritize their workload, respond more rapidly to downtimes and to overall influence the design for sustainability,” Qader said, explaining how Disney works to become proactive to issues that come up in the overall sustainment posture of each park across the world.

She began asking several questions: “Do we need to collect data in a similar fashion? How can we use it to drive our workload? As F-35 moves into a performance-based logistics construct, I would like to apply these lessons learned,” she said.

Using the following four steps, Qader hopes to apply a similar approach to Disney’s “big data” collection when it comes to the F-35 training devices:

1. Define the data that is needed; for example, what data can be collected to improve the availability of the simulators?

2. Define how the data will be used

3. Capture the data, use the data to influence/improve the design and align the workload

4. Define both long- and short-term goals

Qader also hopes to collaborate further with Disney World, sharing lessons and best practices in the areas of visual engineering, instructional systems development, training and contracting.

NLDP helps prepare civilian and military employees to learn and master leadership skills more effectively. Over the course of several years, participants such as Qader take classroom-based leadership development courses and online training, shadow senior leaders, find a mentor, engage in professional reading and go on six-month job rotations.

“This rotation not only broadened my knowledge by providing me with valuable insight into Walt Disney World sustainment operations, but also provided me with a great opportunity for personal growth as well,” Qader reflected. “This rotation was a major change to my work environment, and in the beginning, it was hard for me to adjust. It completely took me out of my comfort zone and essentially forced me to adapt to new processes, surroundings, personalities and even a new dress code. But in doing so, I had to make a decision and embrace the opportunity that I had worked so hard to get.”