How did you get started in the military? During the summer after my junior year in high school, I attended the Summer Scientific Seminar (S3) at the U.S. Air Force Academy and gained an interest in the math and science studies. S3 is a program in which high school students complete math and science classes along with hands-on projects related to a current Air Force issue. This was my first introduction to what a career in math and science would be through the military.
During my senior year of high school I decided I wanted to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy, pursuing a degree in physics. I had a back-up plan to attend U.C. Berkeley in case I did not receive the needed congressional nomination to attend a military academy. However, a nomination came through for me and I was accepted into the U.S. Air Force Academy. There, I received my Bachelors of Science in Physics and thus began my career path in the military.
What has been your career path leading up to your recent posting at Edgewood? In the military you move around – a lot. My career path has been fairly diverse and provides a background that will, I believe, will lend itself to my current position as the JPM for Biological Defense.
After the U.S. Air Force Academy, I began my career with the Electro-Optics Group in the Avionics Laboratory (now the Sensors Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. After that four-year assignment, I moved to the Central Measurement and Signature Intelligence Technology Coordination Office (CMTCO) working initially in electro-optics, and then moving on to serve as the Chief of Counter-proliferation Technology. During this time I worked on the development of innovative sensors to detect chemical, biological, and nuclear warfare agents.
Following my work in electro-optics at CMTCO, I was accepted into the Education with Industry Program and worked with Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, NY. This was an excellent opportunity to work within a civilian company and learn commercial best practices. After this brief stint at Eastman, I was selected as Military Assistant to the Air Force Materiel Command Chief Scientist where I had the opportunity to gain a broader understanding of the Air Force’s science and technology programs.
Next I gained international program management experience working for the Air Force Materiel Command, cooperating with the French on hypersonic and ramjet engine research. From there I moved to Washington, D.C. to be the Director for Air Force Sensor Technology interfacing with Congress to advocate for funding for research in automatic target recognition and early warning technology.
At that point you made the move to D.C. to work for the Air Force Director for Sensor Technology. Is the move to Edgewood next?
Not quite! Just a few more steps. Change is a certainty in the military and is something that I thrive on.
After my work with the Sensor Technology Director I moved west to the Vandberg Air Force Base in California and worked as the Deputy Chief for Vandberg Launch Systems. There, my work consisted of helping to direct space launches for organizations like the NRO, NOAA, and NASA.
After that, I was assigned to NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Belgium to work in J3 Operations. I was then selected to work as the Executive Officer to Deputy Chief of Staff Operations within the Command Group. Immediately following this position, I moved to Turkey to serve as the Deputy Commander of the 425th Air Force Group providing support to NATO’s Air Component Command located there. After my work abroad, I came back to Washington, D.C. again to work at the Missile Defense Agency as the Deputy Program Manager for Space-Based Missile Defense. Following that I moved to the Air Force Office of Scientific Research where I served as the Deputy Director for the Mathematics, Information and Life Science Directorate, and later as the Deputy Director for the International Office.
My last appointment before coming to Edgewood was with Defense Technology Security Administration (DTSA) as the Senior Military Assistant to the DTSA Director.
How will your diverse background and experience help you in your current position as the JPM for Biological Defense?
I have a strong background across science, technology, and basic research. My work with MASINT was my first foray into this important area of chemical and biological defense and provides me with a great working knowledge base. Additionally, I have experience in program management from my time spent as an acquisition officer in the Air Force and at the Missile Defense Agency.
I also feel that my international experience will be a definite asset to this position. I would like to continue JPM-BD’s effort in collaborating with the U.S. interagency and expand cooperation with international partners. As we seek out solutions for CB issues that are becoming increasingly complex, it will be important to develop a broad range of strategic partnerships.
What is something about you that others might not know?
I enjoy photography, taking pictures of life’s special moments. I used to do gymnastics, I have been a fitness instructor for eight years and I’ve been playing the piano since I was three-years old. I also enjoy learning languages and studying different cultures.