Friday, May 9, 2014

Matrixed Employees: Providing Valuable Technical Expertise, Direct Linkage to the Customer and Critical Support to the Warfighter

Matrixed employees make up approximately one-third of the ECBC Engineering Directorate’s workforce and play a valuable role as subject matter experts and liaisons to the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense (JPEO-CBD) and Project Managers for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Contamination Avoidance (JPM-NBC CA), Protection (JPM-P), Elimination (JPM-E), Medical Countermeasure Systems (JPM-MCS), Guardian (JPM-Guardian), and Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPM-RN). Their skills and experience in the areas of engineering, science, technology, logistics and business are an asset to both the PMs and the Directorate. “Matrixed employees bring a lot of work back into ECBC,” said Randy Laye, Deputy Director of Engineering. “They are not only demonstrating Engineering’s core competencies, but they also play an invaluable role as a linkage to our customers, their programs and their needs.”

Here, six matrixed employees share their contributions and experiences, including the benefits and challenges of being matrixed.

Luke Fallon, Program Analyst, JPM-NBC CA

“I am currently on a developmental assignment with JPEO-CBD Headquarters in the Business Operations shop in support of Army-funded programs and efforts. This opportunity to work in the acquisition field is a benefit of being a matrixed employee. The acquisition field offers participation in an array of programs that provide a diverse experience in both research and development and procurement.

“An exciting project I have worked on as a matrixed employee was an effort to field capabilities to the Civil Support Teams (CSTs). This project allowed me to interact with a range of personnel, from the Warfighters assigned to the individual CSTs to members of the National Guard Bureau. This interaction gave me an understanding of the range of requirements and needs we meet through ECBC and the JPMs.

“My connection with the Engineering Directorate has been in conjunction with the Dismounted Reconnaissance Joint Urgent Operational Need System (DR JUONS). The chance to interface with the Advance Design and Manufacturing (ADM) Division to facilitate the fielding of an interim solution in parallel with the development of the program of record (Dismounted Reconnaissance Sets Kits and Outfits (DR SKO)), has given me great appreciation for the capabilities of the Engineering Directorate.”

Nicole Goetze, Chemical Engineer, JPEO-CBD

“I serve as a chemical engineer on the Product Support Manager for the Joint Portfolio (PSM-JP) team. Currently, I both lead and participate in initiatives that work towards accomplishing the PSM-JP vision of balancing affordability and readiness for the Warfighter from a Chemical Biological Defense Program (CBDP) enterprise perspective. This role involves developing strategies and corresponding plans of action for implementation of those strategies, participating on multiple integrated product teams to provide input and expertise from the PSM-JP perspective, and coordinating with subject matter experts from the JPMs, ECBC and other organizations as needed.

“I began my career with the Engineering Directorate, and although I’m matrixed to a new organization now, I like that I still have a connection to ECBC. Additionally, I like the different perspective that being a matrixed employee allows me to have. For instance, rather than being purely customer-focused, I am now exposed to working with system stakeholders and have the opportunity to collaborate with teams at a broader level. It can also be challenging to work as part of an enterprise. The CBDP enterprise encompasses multiple stakeholders. Achieving collaboration between all of them requires a delicate balance in order to meet everyone’s expectations.”

Anne Hise, Operations Manager, JPM-NBC CA

“In 2008, I joined the Dismounted Reconnaissance Sets, Kits and Outfits (DR SKO) Program as the lead systems engineer. The program completely revolutionizes how the Services complete their missions by allowing them to safely conduct reconnaissance in confined and enclosed spaces. When I joined the team, the contract has just been awarded and there were no approved requirements, yet all Services wanted a system immediately. The program just successfully completed a Full Rate Production Decision in March 2014 and fieldings are set to begin this summer. Currently I am serving as the Operations Manager for the organization. The position began as a developmental assignment, and after six months, became permanent. My main duties include coordinating and answering all internal and external taskers, as well as all internal and external documents staffing, review and approvals; coordination of weekly staff meetings; and operational support for facilities, purchasing, business processes, media and information technology.

“As a matrixed employee, I enjoy the flexibility to grow and enhance my career by moving in and around ECBC and their partner organizations, while still being an ECBC employee. It has allowed me to explore opportunities without the fears that come with moving from job to job or company to company. But it does take work on my part to stay connected with ECBC. I do that through networking and building relationships with people at ECBC as well as with the JPM.”

Elaine M. Stewart-Craig, Strategic Planner, JPEO-CBD

“ “As a strategic planner, I am involved in both assessing where the JPEO is today and planning how to get to where it wants to be in the future. I work with organizational representatives from each of the JPMs, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency Joint Science and Technology Office (DTRA-JSTO), and the Joint Requirements Office (JRO) to better align the overall CBDP goals and JPEO programs to focus on the Warfighters’ priorities.

“Being matrixed to the JPEO-CBD and working with the other organizations within the CBDP allows me to see the big picture of where the CBDP is focused, which directly impacts the work at ECBC. For example, I am currently working on a materiel solution capability assessment that could impact how the entire CBDP plans for future programs. The intent of the assessment is to provide JPEO management insight into where our current equipment and development programs are addressing priorities and where we may need to make future investments.

“There are some administrative challenges to being a matrixed employee. ECBC is my home organization and I am responsible to ECBC for meeting training requirements, completing performance objectives and appraisals and addressing additional suspenses as needed. However, the JPEO sometimes has different requirements and timetables which I must also adhere to.”

J. Allen Swim, Test & Evaluation Engineer, Joint Expeditionary Collective Protection (JECP), JPM-P

“I came to the Engineering Directorate from industry in 2002 as an experienced engineer. Since then, I have participated in the Leadership Cohort, mentoring programs and also led a Balanced Score Card initiative for leadership development. In addition, I have worked in three different PM organizations under the JPEO-CBD and PEO-Ground Combat Systems (GCS). With all of these experiences, I have had the opportunity to learn about ECBC’s core competencies. In my current position, I feel better connected to the Engineering Directorate than in the past and I am able to speak with my Division Chief on a daily basis.

“Right now, I support Product Verification Testing (PVT) testing for the Joint Expeditionary Collective Protection (JECP) project by assisting in test site location, test plan preparation, and test execution and oversight. Support includes traveling to the test sites as needed throughout test events to oversee systems during testing. While I was matrixed to the PEO-GCS, I served as the CBRN engineer for the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCB) program as an expert in protection, detection, decontamination, and contamination survivability. This required an understanding of how all of the JPEO-CBD portfolio could be integrated onto a ground combat vehicle, and the ability to provide the necessary technical information to support vehicle development. It is hugely rewarding to contribute to an acquisition program that directly benefits the Warfighter.”

Michael Trzeciak, Director, Engineering and Acquisition, JPM-G

“I have an incredibly challenging and rewarding job representing the Joint Project Manager-Guardian (JPM-G) and providing acquisition leadership and guidance to three Joint Product Directors that span the mission space of Force Protection, Emergency Management and CBRNE Response. This mission space is so broad and diverse that it offers JPM-G a wide range of opportunities to provide the Warfighter with unique and critically-needed capabilities at an extremely fast pace. The position pushes me to constantly learn and grow throughout the Chemical and Biological Defense and Force Protection enterprises. I identify, cultivate and lead JPM-G efforts to build coalitions and partnerships in order to drive government efficiency and build future business opportunities with our Joint services and government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

“As a matrixed employee, I represent both the JPEO-CBD and ECBC, and facilitate awareness and understanding of each other’s needs while sharing and keeping the lines of communication open. Being matrixed, I have the advantage to reach out to two different organizations for guidance and mentorship and am able to have a much broader impact throughout the community. Both organizations consider me a key member of their team and allow me opportunities to professionally excel while providing world-class support to the Warfighter.”

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