US Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters Website

Huntsville Center’s professional development program provides foundation for future leaders

Huntsville Center Public Affairs
Published Aug. 12, 2020
Seventeen Huntsville Center employees completed Leadership Development Program Level I and are now working with deeper insights into their personalities and leadership styles.

Seventeen Huntsville Center employees completed Leadership Development Program Level I and are now working with deeper insights into their personalities and leadership styles.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- On Aug. 5, 17 participants completed Leadership Development Program Level I and are now working with deeper insights into their personalities and leadership styles.

The eight-month long program utilized a variety of methods for delivering content to develop competencies including: communication, time management, conflict management, customer service, contribution to mission.

LDP is a Corps of Engineers program with four levels that correspond to the Corps’ structure. Levels I and II are administered locally, Level III is at the division level, and Level IV is at Headquarters, USACE.

The program here at Huntsville Center is organized, administered and centrally funded through the Human Capital Office and is designed to give general schedule 11, -12 and -13 employees a broad picture of leadership.

Brandy Percell, procurement analyst with the Center’s Office of Small Business Programs, participated in the LDP I program.

She said the greatest aspect of the course was learning that leadership is a behavior, not a position. 

“The most valuable thing I have learned during the Leadership Development Program is that in order to successfully lead others, you must learn to effectively lead yourself,” Percell said.

To lead the group through the program, senior Huntsville Center employees were course champions. The LDP I Champions were Wes Trammell, Robert Jackson, and Michelle Crull. 

Jackson said the LPD I course was a challenge when Huntsville Center transitioned to maximum telework due to COVID-19 crisis which began in March, only two months after the LDP I course began.

“The LDP-1 participants were starting to develop a camaraderie with each other as well as gaining insight from the various Strength Finders and leadership discussions. Then, COVID-19 got worse in the U.S which lead to the HNC max telework starting,” Jackson said.

The challenge, Jackson said, was to return to the momentum participants had gained before the maximum telework policy was in put in place.

“One of the first things we did -- once we were able to get organized ourselves -- was to reach out to them as group to let them know we hadn't forgotten about them and that the LDP-I would still continue to move forward,” Jackson said.

“We were able to continue our group discussions virtually.  We increased our communication through email and made ourselves available to them individually by phone as needed to answer questions.”

Jackson said he and the other two champions continued managing the course by increasing virtual contact via email and conference calling. The champions collaborated to keep the course on schedule, pass down information to participants, reviewing participants submitted course material, and communication channels open between the champions and the Corporate Board. 

“We had to use some of the same leadership principles that were being discussed within the LDP- course to keep things progressing forward,” Jackson said.

Course participant Gabrielle Savior, and environmental engineer in the Engineering Directorate, said taking the course during maximum telework wasn’t ideal, but she said she adapted.

“In general, COVID-19 has caused me some difficulties,” Savior said. “I am an extrovert, so in-person activities are always preferred. However, I had to accept that telework has become the new norm, and I did not want to fall behind the rest of my class by over fixating on a situation I cannot change. Adaptation is not optional for those desiring success.”

Other graduates of the LDP I course were Stephanie Ancira, Precious Baker, Heather Covington, Hwaok Crabtree, John Daniel, Sheena Espindola, Jamie Godfrey-Fanning, Darcy Hackler, Sydney McDonald, Tracey Neal, Hannah Niedergeses, Utevia Nobles, Daniel Richey, Maureen Slater and Brody Taylor.