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NEWS | Dec. 10, 2020

Innovator, high performer improve productivity, earn accolades

By Ms. Jacqueline Boucher

High performance employees have improved productivity in more than one work area at Tobyhanna Army Depot. Individual contributions to warfighter readiness were recognized recently as part of a recurring incentive award program.

Information Technology Specialist James Lentz and Electronics Mechanic John McHale were named the Tobyhanna Army Depot Employee of the Quarter for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020, junior and senior categories, respectively.

Co-workers say McHale is a natural leader and his constant motivation is contagious. His innovative ideas have transformed how they repair military system components.

“John developed repair capability for U.S. Marine Corps AN/TPS-59 Long Range Surveillance Radar components, which gave Tobyhanna Army Depot the ability to test, repair, and align the assets as stand-alone assemblies,” said Jeffrey O’Neill, Air Defense Counter Fire Systems Division chief. “He teamed with production engineering experts to design, fabricate and validate a test fixture. Furthermore, John developed a more efficient route and bill of materials for the assets, which saved more than $500,000.” McHale and O’Neill are assigned to the C4ISR Directorate.

Teamwork is the key to McHale’s success, according to O’Neill, who suggested changing the award winner’s job description. It should read “individual does whatever it takes to support the warfighter,” the division chief remarked.

“John completes more than 90 percent of his assigned tasks on time and within schedule,” O’Neill said. “He possesses high personal moral standards and consistently displays good judgment and behavior.”

McHale’s other noteworthy attributes include mentoring less experienced technicians and volunteering to partner with other depot organizations to improve how Team Tobyhanna does business.

“I know the warfighter is counting on Tobyhanna to produce a quality product on which they can depend,” said McHale. “I am proud that my ideas have generated more efficient ways to test and troubleshoot military assets.”

McHale said he was surprised and honored to receive the award. However, his coworkers weren’t surprised when McHale attributed his success to the people he works with on a daily basis.

“Everyone I’ve worked with at Tobyhanna works very hard and are good at what they do,” McHale said. “I’ve learned that all of us have a role to play and you won’t be successful if everyone isn’t on board.”

Lentz has faced his share of challenges this year keeping Team Tobyhanna connected as the world responded to a healthcare emergency. He played a key role in helping to image and distribute hundreds of laptops to personnel authorized to work from home in accordance with existing mandates.

Coworkers praised Lentz for his positive attitude and high quality of work despite the challenging and unprecedented conditions. His ability to keep track of all the assets is commendable, according to Matthew Raup, Customer Service Branch chief.

“Jim was selfless and committed to helping others,” said Raup. “He was on-site every day enabling others to work from home.” Raup and Lentz are assigned to the Installation Services Directorate.

Self-commitment and sacrifice are key attributes to civilian service, according to Lentz, who shared some words of wisdom that have served him well throughout his career.

“Do a little extra for others when they need help, build up your team and do your best even when no one is watching,” he said.

Raup pointed out that Lentz helped maintain the effectiveness and productivity of a number of depot staff by migrating them to laptop computers that were more suitable for teleworkers. This process included installing software, transferring data, and providing peripherals that allowed staff to access the software and data they needed to be successful in their jobs.

Lentz is an advocate of Lean principles. He’s found them useful at work and at home. They are what helps him maintain high standards of accountability. Apart from responding to a global pandemic, it’s business as usual for the 14-year depot veteran.

“I’m honored and humbled to be selected for this award,” Lentz said. “I just hope that what I do makes a difference.”

Recognizing employees for a job well done is directly linked to one of the Toby 2028 objectives -- Invest in our People. The objective centers on developing an agile and innovative workforce dedicated to providing the best value to the warfighter. The quarterly awards program identifies and rewards junior-, senior- and supervisor-level employees who, in the performance of their assigned duties, have established a pattern of excellence. Nominations may be submitted by co-workers, who work with the nominee, directly or indirectly, with a minimum of at least four nominators or by an employee’s supervisor.

Winners will receive a special parking space for the quarter, a $500 On-The-Spot Award and a plaque. Winning packages are automatically forwarded to the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) to compete in their respective categories. The C4ISR quarterly award winners receive the Department of the Army (DA) Achievement Medal for Civilian Service and CECOM quarterly award winners receive a DA Certificate of Achievement as well as their name on a Perpetual Plaque.