Collaboration Will Be Key to Our Success

For basketball and occasional basketball fans alike, perhaps the best time of year is March Madness. We just finished a great couple of weeks of games culminating in the men’s and women’s NCAA championships. By the time the last two teams reach the championship game, one can say there is a wealth of talent on each side. So, what separates the teams and, in the end crowns the champions? Perhaps we can learn from Michael Jordan when he said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”

In response to an unprecedented amount of national security threats and ongoing instability in the world, the nation is investing a significant amount of funding to modernize our munitions facilities. Our three major production facilities are all recipients of large projects by the U.S. Army. When complete, these facilities will provide huge opportunities for us, and the nation, in the decades to come. The projects include a new Future Artillery Complex at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant, a new M795 Artillery line at our Kansas facility, and a new Combustible Case facility for Artillery Charges at our Lone Star facility in Texas. However, just like anything else, with opportunity comes challenges. 

The challenges we face in building these one-of-a-kind facilities are multiplied by their complexity and the speed at which the nation is asking us to have them come online. As the Hopi proverb states, “One finger cannot lift a pebble.” Just as one finger cannot lift the pebble, one Business Group cannot complete these projects. Today we are drawing together the talents across the corporation to include bringing the best from all four Business Groups and the corporate staff. We could not achieve the requirements the Army has asked of us alone. We need the combined efforts of Maintenance & Construction, Government Services, and Yoh, as well as the corporate staff. 

At D&Z, we embrace the spirit of teamwork in our cultural tenet of Collaboration.  Collaboration takes work and is sometimes uncomfortable. We need to understand our capabilities and talents, work through tough issues and above all create trust between us. As one person said on a recent call, “We need to get comfortable being uncomfortable.” In fostering trust, embracing uncomfortable truths is sign a of mutual respect and critical to establishing the trust needed for world-class collaboration. When we bring all our talents to bear, working together, we can achieve remarkable results.

This is not new to us. The book, The Legend of Day & Zimmermann, illustrates the incredible contributions by D&Z that have shaped our nation since the founding of our corporation. By collaborating together, through our work teams, groups, and across the corporation, we are well on our way to writing the first chapter of volume II.


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BG (ret) John J. McGuiness

John McGuiness is President of Day & Zimmermann's Munitions and Government business and a member of the company's corporate leadership committee. Prior to assuming this role, John was the President of American Ordnance, a Day & Zimmermann company, since June of 2016. General McGuiness completed a distinguished 31 year career in the Army culminating as the Commanding General of Picatinny Arsenal and the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Officer for Ammunition, being designated as the DoD Single Manager of Conventional Ammunition. In this role, he led an 1100 person organization responsible for the development and fielding of high tech military systems by managing over 600 distinct ammunition, counter IED, artillery and mortar programs with an annual budget of $3.5B.