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Senior leaders from the Defense Contract Management Agency Pittsburgh are doing their part to develop the next group of agency leaders.
“DCMA Pittsburgh’s Tier II Leadership Development Program is a group of aspiring leaders seeking to determine their potential while developing the skills and mindset to bring out the best in others,” said Jason Digon, an Engineering and Analysis supervisor at DCMA Pittsburgh, who is also the program’s organizer.
“Navy Cmdr. Robert James and John Brinker, our deputy commander, support this program as this is our contract management office’s primary way of developing future leaders. One participant described their experience to me as extremely valuable in providing insight into the numerous aspects of leadership that one can encounter while working for the agency.”
Since the program’s inception in January 2018, two groups of employees have participated in the 18- to 24-month program. The first group of four team members will graduate later this year, while the second group of three participants will complete the program in 2020. Typically there are three to four employees who are selected for each cohort.
“I have been a strong advocate of the Tier II program since its inception here at DCMA Pittsburgh,” said James, DCMA Pittsburgh’s commander. “It is an outstanding program and a win-win for everyone involved. I have always tried to emphasize to my management team that it is our job to train our replacements, and in my opinion, this program significantly contributes to that end.”
The program allows participants to grow and develop a variety of skills. The program’s curriculum consists of distant learning training, mentoring and coaching, special project assignments, two roundtable discussions, individual feedback, on-the-job opportunities, and a final capstone project.
Monthly meetings bring the employees, their assigned mentors and command leadership together to discuss leadership styles via TED talks, share best practices and complete various exercises developed specifically for each session. Some of the completed exercises include question and answer sessions, which allowed employees to discuss real-world leadership scenarios. In addition, employees have given leadership presentations and completed writing assignments on leadership challenges.
Ryan Miller, a quality assurance specialist, said he has learned a lot from participating in the program.
“The leadership scenarios have been providing me with a wealth of return on investment,” Miller said.
“This aspect of the program reinforces that leadership is just not knowing what to say or being right, but knowing how to recognize someone’s posture, tone and attitude to ensure productive communication,” he added. “These situational exercises have opened my eyes in that there are always two sides to any circumstance and that it is imperative as a leader to not jump to conclusions, but rather approach communication in an open-minded way.”
Digon said he hoped more employees would consider applying for the program.
“While the Tier II leadership program does not guarantee promotions or permanent lateral assignments upon completion, it ultimately prepares participants for future leadership positions as their careers with DCMA progress,” he said.
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