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News | June 17, 2024

Employees of the Quarter lauded for innovative, impactful ideas and processes

By Mr. Justin Kucharski

Every quarter, Tobyhanna Army Depot (TYAD) recognizes one junior and one senior member of its world-class workforce with an Employee of the Quarter (EoQ) award. Great candidates are easy to come by as there are many talented and hard-working artisans supporting TYAD’s vast and varied missions. For the 2nd Quarter of FY24, it is Michael Benner of the Installation Services directorate and Michael Rudick of the Production Engineering directorate receiving the honors respectively.

Benner joined Team Tobyhanna as a firefighter in October 2020. He began his career in 2004, serving as a volunteer firefighter alongside his uncle and two cousins near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He earned a Fire Science degree from Harrisburg Area Community College, where he lived in a firehouse opposed to a traditional dorm. A native of Blakeslee, PA, he also served as a police officer with the Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department and an emergency medical technician with Pocono Mountain Regional Emergency Medical Services.

Benner is no stranger to the United States Army and its values as he joined the Army component of the Pennsylvania National Guard in 2012. One of the Army core values, “selfless service,” goes hand-in-hand with the type of work he performs on a daily basis. He said that helping people is something he feels naturally compelled to do.

“It’s something that I’ve always done,” said Benner. “I’m very familiar with the Army values and selfless service. I feel like everybody should have these values and help their fellow persons.”

Daryl Gebhardt serves as Chief of the Fire & Emergency Services (F&ES) Branch. He lauded Benner for his commitment to team cohesion and his strong sense of duty and dedication.

“Firefighter Benner exemplifies selfless service through his unwavering commitment to the Army values. He consistently prioritizes the needs of others above his own, demonstrating a willingness to sacrifice personal comfort and convenience for the greater good,” said Gebhardt. “Whether it's volunteering for challenging assignments, offering support to fellow firefighters, or going above and beyond to assist the community, Mr. Benner's actions reflect a deep sense of duty and dedication. His selfless service not only enhances team cohesion and morale but also strengthens the overall effectiveness for the F&ES Branch.”

Benner recently led a small team tasked with developing the F&ES Branch’s Box Alarms, a system that ensures a structured and standardized response posture when dealing with emergencies.

To do so, Benner met with mutual aid partners in the counties surrounding TYAD to develop a better understanding of what emergency response capabilities they were prepared to provide. He worked with them to ensure they knew exactly what was expected of them should the alarm rise to their level. The partnership works both ways so that TYAD’s emergency responders may also be dispatched should an emergency occur outside the gates of the installation.

Gebhardt added that Benner’s efforts have made a lasting impact on the F&ES Branch’s capabilities.

“Implementing Box Alarms under firefighter Benner's leadership streamlined resource deployment, improving response efficiency. His initiative set a precedent, inspiring others to adopt similar structured approaches,” said Gebhardt. “By optimizing response protocols, Mr. Benner exemplified proactive leadership, enhancing overall departmental productivity. His innovative strategies not only expedited emergency responses but also fostered a culture of excellence. His commitment to efficiency sets a standard for operational effectiveness within the department, while his dedication to continuous improvement drives ongoing enhancements, ensuring sustained efficiency in emergency response.”

Benner said he was grateful that leadership within the F&ES branch provided him the opportunity to lead a project so early into his depot career.

“The fire department is really great in letting junior members really take projects and run with them,” said Benner. “When I noticed the alarm system needed to be revamped worked on, I presented it to the chief and he gave me the full power to run with it.

Strong teamwork is a concept vital to the job of a firefighter. Benner credited the individuals he worked with on the project for its success.

“The team always works better when everybody puts the team ahead of themselves. Everybody benefits from it. If the team is winning, everybody is winning,” said Benner. “The people I work with, I feel like we’re all on the same page. They made it easy to take the lead because they knew what to do and when to do it.

Rudick is being recognized for his efforts dealing with the AN/TPQ-53, a multi-mission radar system, and the AN/TPQ-37 Firefinder system. When Army leadership needed a quick response for the evaluation of a AN/TPQ-53, he immediately took the lead to perform the necessary testing and provide a detailed report ahead of the requested deadline.

Knowing they would be required to install and upgrade the AN/TPQ-53 system software, Rudick earned his CompTIA Security+ and Network+ certificates. Getting out ahead of this requirement was critical to TYAD being able to complete the AN/TPQ-53 Pilot Program repair effort and provide technical support to fielded systems ahead of planned Depot maintenance. He also took the initiative to better himself and increase his effectiveness at TYAD by achieving his Certified Electronics Technician and Engineer-In-Training certificates.

Rudick volunteered to support another requirement by developing a test capability to validate digital phase shifters, a part critical to AN/TPQ-37 Power Amplifier Modules. He developed an automated program to reduce the amount of time required for manual measurements and also worked with the Original Equipment Manufacturer to develop a better understanding of AN/TPQ-53 testing. He then provided training to fellow engineers and C4ISR technicians in order to complete depot transition efforts within the contract timeline.

Mike Sherin serves as a Supervisory Electronics Engineer and works closely with Rudick. He said his efforts have made an impact on the entire team around him.

“Mike consistently dives head-first in new technical challenges. His self-motivation, positive attitude, and strong work ethic are inspiring to his peers. Mike volunteers for additional work assignments demonstrating a mission-first attitude to his team members and his hands-on approach allows him to lead by doing,” said Sherin. “Mike truly puts his best foot forward each and every day and encourages others to do the same. Mike is recognized by his peers as someone who is always willing to help others solve challenging technical issues, and takes any Pathways students under his wing to ensure they have a fulfilling experience at TYAD.”

The Employee of the Quarter awards and other employee recognition programs align with Tobyhanna's long-range strategic plan, TOBY2035 - specifically the Investing In Our People line of effort. The plan aims to posture the depot for success in the coming years as the Department of Defense's premier worldwide C5ISR readiness provider.

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 3,300 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 deliver integrated C5ISR weapon systems, business systems, and medical sustainment to enable full spectrum combat operations at the point of need.