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NEWS | Oct. 31, 2022

Interns walk, talk mission with senior leaders, team

Members of Tobyhanna Army Depot’s pioneering workforce brave a certain amount of uncertainty to do things they haven’t done before, face new obstacles with curiosity, and figure things out as they go to learn and grow.

Several times a year depot personnel compete for the command group internship, never knowing what to expect if selected for the job. Since its inception 16 years ago, more than 35 people from across the organic industrial base facility have found value in their experience gaining new knowledge and skills to help achieve individual and organizational goals.

“I would say my tenure as the command group intern is one of the most rewarding opportunities in my career,” said Larissa Warholic, management analyst, Resource Management Directorate. “I learned a lot about the mission side of the organization and was able to bring those experiences back to share with my coworkers.”

Former interns say they gained command-level experience and saw things from a different perspective after attending meetings, participating in events, leading projects, and joining visitors on tours of the installation. The length of service for an intern varies, but averages about 120 days.

“I would strongly encourage anyone who wishes to learn more about the business of Tobyhanna to express interest to his or her leadership,” said Electronic Engineer Mark Baron, Strategic Initiatives Office, who likens the experience to taking a master class in organic industrial base operations. “I believe, the internship is designed to develop future Defense Department leaders. If you look at the current positions of former interns, I think the program has been incredibly successful doing that.”

Everyone’s residency is different, according to Paul Hoban, Mobile Maintenance Project Management Branch chief, Production Management Directorate. Hoban urges anyone who wants to support the mission, while promoting the great work at Tobyhanna, to “take a chance.”

All interested candidates are encouraged to submit a resume through their chain of command. Nominations are forwarded to the command group for consideration.

Kevin Berry is one of the sitting interns and he decided to answer the call for resumes after 17 years in the avionics field. He’s looking forward to getting a “big picture” view of depot operations, as well as a chance to learn leadership skills from the organization’s top leaders. Berry is the chief of the C4ISR Directorate’s Flight Control Branch.

Typical internship tasks include working on the depot’s weekly activity reports, and the bi-weekly points of main effort documents and situation reports. The expectation is that command interns gather the information from various directorates and sources.

Interns participate in a variety of special projects, create briefings for conferences and speaking engagements, and develop information papers. Some recall traveling with senior leaders to military installations and private-sector companies to get a better understanding of the Army, learn new methodologies and be an advocate for Tobyhanna.

Warholic fondly remembers meeting Army senior enlisted leaders who traveled here from locations around the country to participate in the C5ISR Depot Maintenance Forum hosted by the former U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command Sgt. Maj. Kristie Brady.

The purpose of the command intern is to create a corporate culture that is inclusive, and help the organization and the employee stay connected, according to Nathan Thomas, deputy director, Production Engineering Directorate. Each intern provides insight that can help affect change and shape how leaders communicate with the workforce, he added.

For example, Information Technology Specialist Jessica Barto comes from the Information Management Division’s Customer Service Branch. She has firsthand knowledge and experience on the technology challenges of the depot.

“Jessica does not wait for opportunities to grow; she finds ways to grow by fully investing herself in any task she performs,” said Matthew Raup, former branch chief. “Her commitment to excellence and continual improvement provided her the opportunities that ultimately led to being selected as the command intern.”

Logistics Management Specialist Molly Lorenzen felt that what she was doing as an intern made a difference in moving the business forward. Her advice for future interns -- be proactive, organized and know when to ask for help.

“The beauty of the internship is there’s not an exact way to be an intern,” Al Lyons, EIS/IEW&S Cyber Support Branch chief, Production Engineering Directorate, pointing out that prior to his internship, his only government experience was in information technology. “As an intern, I was able to develop new skills and a build network of support across the enterprise I can turn to no matter the subject field.”

An internship is a professional learning experience that offers meaningful, practical work. It also offers the employer the opportunity to bring new ideas and energy into the workplace and develop talent.

“The Tobyhanna Army Depot command intern has a front row seat to the inner workings of a multi-million-dollar business,” said Bob Kinsey, program liaison, Naval Air Systems Command. “The experience has had a profound effect on my career and continues to influence my future.”