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Meet Shea...

“Knowing what I know about the rounds, I can make sure it functions well for the soldier. I really like that about my job.”

Tell us what you do.

shea-seiberI am a Test Range Supervisor working on a 40 meter test range at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant in Iowa. I have three employees that work for me, and we test somewhere around 400 rounds of ammunition a day to check the quality and function of the rounds, in order to make sure all the weapons are safe. The way it works is that we take aim at a steal plate; every round then has to penetrate that plate. We have to file reports on how the rounds performed in terms of functionality, and we also measure the velocity of the rounds. I guess that’s the short of what I do.

How did you get into this job? Do you have a military background?

I started off at 18 working for Day & Zimmermann as a production operator, actually. Then I became a lead operator and did that for about three years, and then the job in test range opened up in Tennessee. I got a job there and did that for about four or five years in Tennessee and then moved to Iowa when they asked me to come be the supervisor here.

So what would you say you love most about your current position?

Knowing what I know about the rounds, I can make sure it functions well for the soldier. I really like that about my job.

When you tell other people about what you do, what is their reaction to that?


Do you have any particular stories from a day out on the range that stand out to you or hold a lot of meaning to you?

We had a Senator come out and talk to us one day and watch us fire and she brought a military officer with her. He honestly made me feel the best I’ve ever felt – he was so thankful and grateful for what I do because he knew the rounds worked when he fired them. He basically explained how these rounds could help soldiers hold off an enemy during a firefight until backup could arrive. I was grateful for his service.

Do you have any kind of advice for someone who is maybe considering this profession?

Have a strong sense of integrity and a strong sense of safety – those are two important things. The rounds we test are explosive bullets that have a 15-foot kill radius so there is lot of risk to what I do. But if you know what you’re doing and you do it right, you won’t have any issues as long as you make sure everyone’s safe. But, if someone wasn’t paying attention it could get bad.