NEWS | June 14, 2021

Tobyhanna Army Depot employees graduate from Leadership Wilkes-Barre Core Program

By Ms. Danielle E. Weinschenk

Employees at Tobyhanna Army Depot are expanding their abilities, thanks to skills and knowledge earned through Leadership Wilkes-Barre (LWB).

Established in 1981, Leadership Wilkes-Barre aims to develop informed and committed leaders from all segments of the community who will serve, strengthen and improve Northeastern Pennsylvania. The program has trained more than 3,000 community leaders through its comprehensive offerings, which target current and aspiring leaders from the high school level through senior leadership and beyond.

LWB’s flagship endeavor is the Core Program, which runs for nine months. According to the LWB website, the Core Program’s mission is to develop adult professionals who improve themselves, their organizations, and Northeastern Pennsylvania.  Each Core Program participant attends a monthly training session and, in addition, works as part of a cross-functional team to complete a community service project.

Christopher Lupole is one of Team Tobyhanna’s three participants in the 2020-2021 LWB Core Program. A Logistics Management Specialist in the Production Management Directorate’s Sustainment Planning Division (SPD), Lupole says he volunteered for the program to grow himself personally and professionally.

“LWB has a great reputation, and I believed the Core Program could help me become a better teammate in SPD. I also hoped the experience would allow me to re-engage with community service, something I am passionate about,” adding that the experience more than lived up to his expectations.

“This is a great program and the monthly Core Program sessions were truly enlightening,” he said. “However, I feel I learned the most during my community service project.”

Lupole and fellow depot employee Katie Brudzinski were members of the “Kirby Crowd” team charged with restoring parts of Wilkes-Barre’s Kirby Park. The team was responsible for all aspects of the effort, from project planning to fundraising to execution. According to Brudzinski, the task was a challenge, albeit a welcome one.

“LWB Core projects are ambitious to begin with, and our team had to complete the entire thing during a global pandemic. We were lucky we could get creative with fundraisers like raffles and ticket sales to help us achieve our goals.” She works in the Resource Management Directorate.

Brudzinski, Lupole and the rest of the “Kirby Crowd” finished their project last month, making a big impact on the beloved community space. The team repainted structures within the park, procured ten new picnic tables, and facilitated the preservation of a legacy wood carving in the park. In addition, the team researched the history of Kirby Park to create a visual timeline for patrons.

While Brudzinski found the team project to be a great learning experience, she noted her biggest “a-ha” moment came through an exercise at the monthly Core Program meetings.

“One of our sessions focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. To demonstrate what life is like for others, we participated in a simulated society-type exercise. I was one of the people designated as a ‘minority group,” who had a much harder time doing basic things like renting an apartment for example,” she said. “At the end of the exercise, I realized the hardships experienced by others. That experience has made me more open minded to experiences and perspectives of all people.”

Although she retired from federal service last fall, Marilouise Yermal continued to represent Team Tobyhanna in the LWB Core Program. She and her team worked to restore portions of Patriot’s Cove in Noxen.

Tobyhanna’s Leadership Development Specialist Tara O’Neil says the organization benefits just as much from the LWB experience as the participants do.

"Leadership Wilkes-Barre offers current and emerging TYAD leaders the opportunity to hone their leadership skills with practical applications that benefit our surrounding community. Our strong partnership with various community leadership programs not only allows us to give back to the Northeastern Pennsylvania region, but also enhances our leaders' strategic thinking and impact-conscious decision making competencies,” adding that the depot expects to have more employees participating in community leadership programs like LWB next year.

Connecting with the community is a foundational tenet of Tobyhanna’s long-range strategic plan, TOBY2028. The plan aligns with the depot's four strategic focus areas: Investing in Our People, C5ISR Readiness, Shape the Future and Strategic Communications and aims to posture the organization for future success.

Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna’s Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C5ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.

Tobyhanna’s unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our joint warfighters.

About 3,700 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command’s mission is to empower the Soldier with winning C5ISR capabilities.