This month’s ECBC Spotlight is on Ryan Kostick, Program Analyst, JPEO Biosurveillance Management Office.
What attracted you to working for the Army?
One of the biggest draws to working for the Army and government was the opportunity to explore various career paths. The willingness of the ECBC organization to rotate personnel and allow them to explore alternate teams and positions was an attractive feature because it felt like the organization wanted to keep their personnel satisfied and place people in environments where they may thrive. Working for the Army has afforded me the opportunity to travel the world, to places I’d never visit otherwise. Working for the Army and traveling to military installations across the world opened my eyes to just how critical the work done by scientists and engineers in the DoD is.
What are the benefits of being a matrixed employee?
Being a matrixed employee introduces the practices and organizational construct of an outside organization. Seeing the organization’s business and management structure has helped provide a comparison to my previous experience with ECBC and has helped formulate my opinion on the different approaches and practices. Networking is also one of the largest benefits of a matrixed employee. My current role has afforded the chance to work with people outside of engineering and more focused on business practices, contracting and program management. Working with and having the reachback to these people will be beneficial later as I progress through my career.
What are the challenges of being a matrixed employee?
While being a matrixed employee, I have found it hard to interact with the Directorate leadership on a frequent basis compared to the previous opportunities to interact on a daily basis. Prior to moving to the matrix position it was fairly easy to discuss current projects, seek advice while struggling and to continue building on mentor/mentee relationships.
What is the most exciting project you have worked on as a matrixed employee?
I’m currently focused on the development of a “Demonstration Model” that is closely related to the traditional Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD) Model. This model is an endeavor by the JPEO with the intent to accelerate acquisition and delivery of capability to the warfighter. This effort has the potential to have long-lasting effects on the business model of the JPEO and expediently fill capability gaps where they may exist.
What do you feel has been your biggest success in your career so far?
I consider my biggest success in my career so far to be a completed effort early in my career. While working with the Fixed Site Collective Protection Team, I led an effort to provide support at a military installation OCONUS. The effort required tracking and managing facility information, inspection records, conducting and certifying facilities, and training contractors at the installation on Collective Protection installation and protection to provide the installation an enduring capability. This effort pushed me past my comfort level in project management and provided the confidence and skills to tackle unfamiliar projects and endeavors.
What are your hobbies/activities outside of work?
I still play soccer in a few men’s leagues and I have begun working with electronics and circuitry for home DIY projects that utilize computer programming and physical hardware such as sensors to interact with the environment (light, temperature, motion, etc.).