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NEWS | June 30, 2023

Leadership Lackawanna graduates grow professionally, create positive community impact

By Mr. Nicolo Manzo

Team Tobyhanna is celebrating four new graduates of Leadership Lackawanna’s core program.

To invest in the workforce, Tobyhanna Army Depot (TYAD) offers employees the opportunity to participate in Leadership Lackawanna.

Established in 1982, Leadership Lackawanna is an affiliate of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce and has graduated more than 2,400 community leaders. The organization’s flagship effort is the Core Program, which consists of ten monthly training sessions focused on leadership development in a variety of areas. In addition to the monthly meetings, Core Program participants must complete a service project benefitting a non-profit organization in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

This year’s TYAD graduates are Mobile Equipment Branch Supervisor Paul DePrimo, EEO Specialist Hannah Gaul, Chief of the Secure Communications Project Management Branch Anthony Portanova and General Business Specialist Patrick Ruane.

Each of the four graduates expressed gratitude for having participated in the program. They said the sessions offered numerous learning opportunities centered around professional growth, which have better positioned them for their work at TYAD.

Gaul said the program helped to give her new perspectives on working with other professionals.

“I have a different perspective as far as teamwork goes. With our project, what you put into it is what you got out of it. I think that’s something that’s good to apply to your everyday work mindset. I became better versed in areas including teamwork, communicating with others and project management. The project really reinforced the importance of planning ahead, communicating what everyone’s role is and executing the plan,” said Gaul.

Portanova said he is a better and more honest leader because of the program.

“I feel like I am a better leader and project manager having worked with motivated professionals on completing a project. In addition, Leadership Lackawanna’s partnership with Penn State Scranton and their Diversity Circles certificate program really allowed me to better understand myself and my biases as well as better understand some of the challenges others have had because of their background,” said Portanova.

Members of the class completed a range of projects that positively impacted several groups and organizations from the local community.

These projects offered the participants an opportunity to work together on initiatives that will positively impact the community for years to come.

The class said collaboration was an essential component to the success of their projects, as each team member brought an invaluable expertise to the group.

DePrimo and his team partnered with United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern PA to turn a vacant lot into a green space or “pocket park” in Scranton’s Pine Brook section.

Called “Capouse Corner,” DePrimo said the project was a gradual effort due in large part to the weather preventing the planting of trees and other greenery, but the team knew this was a worthwhile cause.

“This provides Pine Brook residents a space to gather, talk and enjoy.”

He said the ribbon cutting ceremony, attended by the Mayor of Scranton, news media, representatives from United Neighborhoods Center and community members, was his favorite memory of Leadership Lackawanna.

“Just seeing them happy with the project and that it was up to their standard, offered a great sense of fulfillment,” said DePrimo.

Gaul’s team renovated the North Pocono Little League’s concession stand. They revitalized the stand - making it more functional - through ripping out old cabinets, installing restaurant-style steel shelves and painting.

Gaul said the project’s success is a credit to the principles the team adhered to.

“A lot of planning went into it, and we communicated well. Everyone knew what their job was, and it was everyone’s job to stay on top of what we were doing,” said Gaul.

Portanova and his team renovated the waiting area of the Children’s Advocacy Center’s Teen Center.

Portanova said the team wanted to provide a safe space for vulnerable visitors.

“This is where teens go when receiving services and support for abuse and similar issues. The room is now a warm, comfortable, safe place. This was important because these are children and young adults in their worst moments and being able to provide small comfort to them and maybe help their healing process a little can have tremendous long-term impacts on them, their support system and the community,” said Portanova.

Ruane and fellow team members renovated the press box for the West Scranton Jr. Invaders.

After meticulous planning, Ruane and his team replaced the siding and windows, installed new flooring and countertops and painted.

Ruane said the project meant long nights at times, but the excitement of the coaches, players and parents made it worth it.

“The best part of it was at the ribbon cutting ceremony. They had the team show up - the coaches, the parents and the football players. It was nice to see how excited everyone was. To see the kids’ faces light up – it was cool to see how excited they were,” said Ruane.

Leadership Lackawanna Executive Director Nicole Morristell lauded TYAD’s commitment to the program and to developing our area’s leaders.

“For years, Tobyhanna Army Depot has been one of our most dedicated community partners. Their employees join our various programs with a commitment. A commitment to not only grow and expand their own personal and professional leadership skills, but to further the mission and community presence of Tobyhanna in the greater NEPA region,” said Morristell.

She continued to say this year’s TYAD graduates continued the tradition of excellence that has become the standard of Tobyhanna employees who participate in the program.

“This year’s participants in our 10-month Core Program proved no different. Anthony Portanova, Pat Ruane, Hannah Gaul and Paul DePrimo all successfully fulfilled their commitment to Leadership Lackawanna. Not only did these four individuals excel in each of the 10 sessions, but they played a tremendous role in the completion of our various community service projects. It is obvious that they each possess the qualities of an ideal leader – today, tomorrow and always. I am thrilled and honored to have worked with each and every one of them this past year,” said Morristell.

The feeling was mutual from the graduates, and all four encouraged members of Team Tobyhanna to take advantage of the opportunity to grow as professionals and be better positioned to support our nation’s warfighters.

Facilitating employee participation in community leadership programs aligns with the Invest in Our People and Connecting with the Community focus areas of TOBY2035, Tobyhanna’s long-range strategic plan. The plan aims to posture the organization for future success and has additional lines of effort dedicated to C5ISR Readiness and Strategic Communication.

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, postproduction software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our joint warfighters.

About 3,200 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, 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.