“If you stay focused, informed, don’t take things personal and always stay respectful of others, all will work out well. I am one of those people that believes in doing things correctly, by the book and completely and I think that’s why I’m a natural for Quality Assurance and Compliance.”
Currently, my role with SOC at the Hawthorne Army Ammunition Depot is ensuring compliance and providing oversight. This would be in meeting all regulatory requirements in Environmental, OSHA and training, as well as providing the oversight with Quality Assurance in the mission here of shipping, receiving, storing and demilitarization of the ammunition and explosives.
Actually, my career has evolved over the last 32+ years. I started as an Explosive Operator in 1988. I was mentored by a coworker who was in the QA department at the time and they encouraged me to join them as a QA Inspector. This is where my career really took shape. I moved through the ranks within the QA department and ended up managing the department. QA was tasked through the years with training the workforce in ammunition and explosive operations and I headed the training team there. I also worked in HR for a couple years as the Training and Compliance Officer. This all has evolved, as I stated earlier, into the position I hold now as the Compliance and Training Director.
Certainly technology. Computers have vastly changed the way we do business here at the Depot. I remember us having to keep huge libraries for all the regulations, drawings, and procedures. Getting information was at times daunting. Now, with everything electronic, information is instant. The mission here at the Depot has also changed since I started in 1988. We use to renovate and manufacture AA&E, now the main mission is archival storage and demilitarization for DOD.
I can say that each day brings new challenges…even after 32 years! Just when you think you have seen it all, something or someone surprises you. Compliance and training are always evolving and we have to stay current. I work with my departments and managers to ensure we are meeting the regulations and the customer’s expectations. As part of the senior management team, I am consistently working closely with the GM and other Directors to ensure we are meeting mission and contract obligations.
There are a few, but what I remember the most is the Depot’s role in supporting the warfighter and Operation Desert Storm in 1991. We shut everything down but the shipping operations to start loading trucks and trains to get the ammunition to the soldiers. This was serious teamwork by all employees. We would work until we just couldn’t any longer (17-18 hour days, 7 days a week). Everyone was willing to do their part and take on different roles if needed. Together we created success and met the mission. We proved that the contractor, Day & Zimmermann, could deliver and get the job done well.
Compliance and oversight often does not make friends. Usually people don’t like to see the Compliance group coming their way (haha)!. However, if you stay focused, informed, don’t take things personal and always stay respectful of others, all will work out well. I am one of those people that believes in doing things correctly, by the book and completely and I think that’s why I’m a natural for the QA and Compliance role. Training people and giving them the skills to be better at their job is extremely rewarding. This is the favorite part of my profession. I would prefer to just train and connect with my fellow employees all the time.