Friday, September 27, 2013

A Fresh Perspective: a Guest Column by Jerome Vauthrin, ACWA intern

Jerome Vauthrin is a program and management analyst intern at the Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA). As part of his internship with ACWA's Chief of Staff Office, Vauthrin learned the basics of management at the New Leader Program at Graduate School USA. One of the assignments was to perform a 30-day detail with Tom Rosso, program manager at ECBC's Chemical Biological Application and Risk Reduction (CBARR) Business Unit.

I was not familiar with ECBC beyond what I read on the website, and all I knew of CBARR was that a number of government vehicles had their logo stickered on them. Thankfully, Tom Rosso, program manager, had been most receptive and willing to help me learn more about the Center and CBARR operations. Tom and his team have been very welcoming, and CBARR is a colorful place where everyone has their own contributions to the CBARR culture.

Vauthrin works on the fabrication of the new Field
Deployable Hydrolysis System, an elimination
technology with a 99.9 percent efficiency rate.
During my 30-day detail, Tom had set me up with some neat things. I was able to see ECBC senior leadership in action discussing a range of topics from employee concerns and safety topics to the impact of furloughs on day-to-day business and upcoming visits. I was also able to attend meetings and demonstrations of the Field Deployable Hydrolysis System, where Department of Defense personnel from different agencies and military commands were in attendance. This gave me an idea of what a site visit is like, including the diversity of people who attend, the types of questions asked and the amount of preparation that needs to be coordinated to ensure a smooth presentation.

Additionally, Tom provided a tour (in CBARR’s very own economically-friendly Chevy Volt) of a variety of ECBC facilities and laboratories, including the Mask Issue facility, the Environmental Monitoring Laboratory and the testing site of the Rapid Detect-Identify-Decontaminate Kit, which uses the C-130 military aircrafts. Needless to say, my days at CBARR have been a mix of interesting things.
Tom Ross, middle, talks to Department of Defense stakeholders
during an FDHS demonstration in June. Vauthrin shadowed
Rosso during a 30-day detail this summer.
It has been great entertainment and a great experience learning from the CBARR crew. I have had the opportunity to see what the chemical demilitarization world is all about as well as learn about some of the other projects occurring onsite at ECBC. So, what’s been the best part? To be able to see that much in the short time I have been here has really opened my eyes to the type of support the Center provides. If you were to ask me how to describe ECBC as a whole, I would have to say it is a very dynamic environment. And it has to be, given the number of missions it supports and the variety of facilities and personnel required to support those missions.

Do I sound like an ECBC fan? I must admit that my time here has turned me from an indifferent recipient who was vaguely aware of ECBC’s role in supporting ACWA, to someone who has gained a great appreciation for the CBARR work that supports a variety of missions across the world. I can say I have enjoyed my experience at CBARR and appreciate the novelty of a fresh perspective.

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