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NEWS | April 20, 2022

Employees walk a mile in each other’s shoes through depot shadow program

By Ms. Danielle E. Weinschenk

Employees walk a mile in each other’s shoes through depot shadow program | Article | The United States Army

A pilot program designed to share work experiences is helping improve the culture at Tobyhanna Army Depot.

The effort, dubbed “In Their Boots,” pairs employees who have a collective interest in learning about how other depot organizations operated. Each participant is allotted eight hours to shadow their partner – “walking in their boots” – to expand participant knowledge and build relationships across the organization.

The program included participants from a variety of mission and base operations organizations, including the C4ISR, Production Engineering, Production Management (PM), Quality Management, Resource Management and Systems Integration and Support Directorates.

Jeffrey Brazzillo, a management analyst in PM’s Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance Program Management Division, gave the program a rave review.

“As an analyst in PM, it was beneficial for me to be paired with someone from the production floor," he said. "My work is influenced by what they do and vice versa, so it is important that we understand each other’s processes and mission."

Electronics Technician Justin White says he also found value in the experience.

“It was eye-opening to see how someone else’s contributions support our mission. Getting a chance to see how someone else helps support this larger mission. It [the experience] gave me a better understanding of the different pieces that need to fit together and mesh well to achieve success here at the depot,” he said.

White added that being shadowed gave him a heightened sense of pride about his career.

“Getting an opportunity to sit down and explain the processes that go into the work I do made me realize how much I have learned since starting my career. It was a subtle reminder of how far I have come and the possibilities for future growth."

Program organizers conducted pre-and-post surveys to gauge success. They say the results exceeded their expectations.

“At the conclusion of the program, our 22 participants reported increased empathy to different work conditions and a better understanding of depot processes. We believe that is a huge win,” said Brittany Anderson, a community support advocate in the depot’s Employee Services Center (ESC) and the lead of the TOBY2028 Cultivating an Inclusive Work Environment team.

“In Their Boots” is an initiative under the umbrella of Tobyhanna’s long-range strategic plan, TOBY2028. With four focus areas, the plan aims to posture the depot for success in the future by concentrating on investing in its people, ensuring C5ISR readiness for its customers, shaping the future and communicating strategically.

TOBY2028 lead Heather Fiedler lauded the effort for its connection to overall Army goals.

“The ‘In Their Boots’ shadow program cultivates shared employee engagement and team cohesion – two key tenets of Army Materiel Command’s human capital and talent management strategies," she said.

The program, which is strictly designed to develop participants and increase their overall knowledge about depot operations, will run another pilot in May. To apply for the next iteration of “In Their Boots”, depot personnel can contact the Employee Services Center at (570) 615-8873 or via e-mail at Applications will be accepted through April 15 and can be obtained on the Tobyhanna Intranet as well as directly from the ESC.

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 3,500 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.