D&Z’s 2023 EDP Leaders Accelerate Innovation and Growth

Day & Zimmermann developed its Executive Development Program (EDP) to educate and engage the company’s next generation of leaders. Part of the Leadership Development Curriculum, the program gives individuals an opportunity to work collaboratively across business units and to help them confront the challenges that executives face when setting strategic direction. 

The main purpose of EDP, simply put, is to build executive leadership skills. Other objectives, from an employee growth perspective, are to increase insight into personal effectiveness and to strengthen cross-functional collaboration. From a business growth perspective, the goal is to build problem solving skills and create a strategic solution to a real D&Z business challenge, increase insight into D&Z and business unit strategies and build capability to better develop employees, provide feedback, and grow talent.

There are four components to the EDP Program: competency-based development (talent, strategic mindset, and financial acumen) self-awareness (360 assessment), peer-coaching (pairs or groups of three meet regularly) and the applied learning experience. This collaboration emphasizes self-awareness, while creating a safe environment for participants to be open and vulnerable to constructive criticism, helping them grow as individuals and benefiting Day & Zimmermann long-term.

Each year, the EDP program is structured around selected participants. The 2023 participants are:

  • Patrick Phister, VP, Business Development, Maintenance & Construction
  • Amber Zilemba, VP, Marketing and BD, Government Services
  • Andy Wright, VP, Human Resources, Maintenance & Construction
  • Drew Finger, Controller, Finance, Maintenance & Construction
  • Lavanya Gutha, Director, ERP & Solutions Architecture, Corporate IT
  • Marcia Hagood, VP, Managed Services, Yoh
  • Chris Tobin, VP, Field Operations, Yoh
  • Wendell Christian, VP, Business Development, Munitions
  • Jon Mellis, General Counsel, Government Services

Thank you to Kathleen King and Regina Blair – without them, this initiative would not be possible. Kathleen was the group’s Executive Sponsor; she met with them regularly and helped them navigate the project. Regina is the EDP Program Manager who oversees the program every year. 

The program began in January 2023 with the participants attending D&Z’s Strategic Growth Conference – this is the group’s impetus – after attending, members focus on what they heard, how they should build on it, and how they can make a difference. For five months, group members invested a great deal of their time, completing 3-4 requirements per month, traveling often, and meeting outside of scheduled group meetings for additional project work and peer coaching. 

The participants wrapped up their project with their final presentation to D&Z’s Leadership Council and the Board of Advisors on May 3, 2023. They presented a new innovative growth lever, a centralized D&Z Innovation Hub to accelerate growth and innovation. They knocked it out of the park – sparking important conversations not only within the LC, but also with the Board of Advisors. This will lead to a review and next steps to move forward with their recommendations. 

Congratulations to the EDP Class of 2023 – Patrick, Amber, Andy, Drew, Lavanya, Marcia, Chris, Wendell, and Jon, and to Kathleen for supporting them along the way. Job well done!