Supply Chains in Action!

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Professor Ram Ganeshan took his summer Supply Chain management course–including the entire cohort of the MG James Wright Fellowship–on a field visit to see what how different commercial industries executed their supply chains.  The first visit was to the Dan Daneil AAFES distribution center, just south of the Mason School of Business.

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As our tour guide pointed out, “if you’ve bought toothpaste in a Shoppete, PX or Commissary anywhere from Fort Benning to Iraq and Afghanistan, chances are it passed through this distribution center.”  The class spent several hours walking around the massive, 1.2 million square foot warehouse.  Not surprisingly, one stop included a sorting station where racks up on racks of Affliction T-Shirts hung awaiting purchase in PX Men’s Departments.IMG_1520

The second stop of the day was at the Port of Virginia, where massive cargo ships offload their fare for movement all along the Eastern seaboard and into the interior of the United States. Following an executive presentation on the construction of the port, the window shades retracted offering a stunning view of the sprawling facility.

 

The tour continued through the headquarters building, giving the group a behind the scenes look of the command and control aspects and requirements for such a massive undertaking.  From the planners who scheduled the delivery sequences months in advance to the individual operators who remotely controlled the container lifts, the team work necessary was apparent.

The visit gave each of the MG James Wright Fellows and their peers new perspective into how logistics and supplies are efficiently managed on the largest scales.

 

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Behind the scenes of the Robert Gates Visit

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MAJ Brandon Bangsboll (MGJW, ’17) is no stranger to high visibility events.  As a Company Commander at the Old Guard, Brandon led ceremonies for Presidents, Heads of State and countless dignitaries.  So when Robert Gates–former Secretary of Defense and current Chancellor of the College of William & Mary–agreed to visit the Mason School of Business only if the event would be student led, Brandon tapped into his experience to head the effort.  IMG_9967

Recruiting other members of the MG James Wright Fellowship and students from the MBA association, Brandon worked closely with Professor Karen Locke and Mr. Gates’ team to coordinate a discussion on leadership with over 200 students.  Professor Locke said later “I heard from my contact in the W&M President’s office that it was a very enjoyable visit for the chancellor with great questions from very engaged students.”  The hour long session was highlighted by stories from the former CIA Director and Secretary of Defense.  Said one student, “this was by far the best guest speaker we’ve had.”

IMG_9970Easily handling the behind the scenes coordination of security and logistics planning, Brandon’s only real challenge was crafting a short biography for Chancellor Gates.  “Summing up such a distinguished career in only a few sentences, that was hard” commented Bangsboll.  Undaunted, Brandon made the introduction then effortlessly transitioned to facilitating the question and answer session.  Professor Locke commented, “I’m very appreciative of the lead that Major Bangsboll and our MGJW fellows’ took in shaping Chancellor Gates’ visit to the Mason School.  A great opportunity for our students that the MGJWs executed seamlessly!”

Meet the 2018 MGJW Cohort

The results are in and we are happy to introduce the future of the MG James Wright Fellowship.  Please have a look at the bios below and celebrate this achievement with us.  We look forward to having them around to receive the torch this summer:

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CPT Greg Wardwell is currently an instructor at the Army Logistics University at Fort Lee, VA. He is married to Shannon Wardwell and has three Children; Bennett (5), Anderson (4) and Remington (2). He previously served as Commander of 647th QM Company (Riggers) at Fort Bragg, NC. He also served in 4BCT 82ND as well as 1 SBCT 25TH. When not working or in class he will be exploring the outdoors and enjoying time with his family.

CPT Brandon Staub, stationed at JBLM, WA, plans 7 ID’s missions on Pacific Pathways. He is married to Christina, and they have two ferocious mini dachshunds (Marty & Benny). He has previously served in 101 CAB, 16 CAB, and 1st SFG(A) as an attack helicopter pilot or aviation planner. During his free time, Brandon enjoys urban adventuring, running, live music, and remodeling projects.

CPT Eric Robles is currently the Squadron Home Station Commander of 4th Squadron, 3d Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood, TX. He is married to Erika Robles; they have 2 children, Davin (15) and Olivia (3). He previously served with 2nd BCT, 10th Mountain Division. When not in class, you will most likely find him in his backyard with his family; grill hot and music playing.

CPT Danny Priester is currently the Company Commander of C/2-505 PIR/ 3BCT/82ND ABN at Fort Bragg, NC.  He is married to Blair Eastman Priester. His prior units are 3rd Infantry Division and the Infantry Basic Officer Leadership Course. When not immersed in studies, you’ll most likely find him on a golf course sharpening his game for future career options, post military.

CPT Albert “Trey” Leddy is currently the Chief of Operations for 1ABCT, 3ID in Ft Stewart, GA where he previously served as the A Co and HHC Commander for 1-64AR.  He is engaged to Caitlin Boers and they are scheduled to be married in May.  He previously served with 2-12IN, 4IBCT, 4ID.  He looks forward to spending time outdoors, exploring the historical sites in the Williamsburg area, and visiting the major cities along the East Coast.

CPT Gregory Hjelle is currently the Troop Commander of HHT/1-89 CAV, 2 BCT, 10 MTN at Fort Drum, NY. He is married to Shannon Hjelle and has a 5 year old daughter Tess. He has previously served with 4-31 IN, 2BCT, 10 MTN and 5-7 CAV, 1BCT, 3ID. He looks forward to spending time with his family visiting the historic sites in the area.
CPT Myles Durkin is currently the Company Commander of HHC/1-5 IN, 1st SBCT at FT Wainwright, AK. He is married to Cathy Durkin and they have a wonderful daughter, McKenzie. He has previously served with 1-187 IN, 3rd BCT, 101st ABN (AA) Division. He looks forward to sailing, deep sea fishing, diving and spending time with his family in between classes.

CPT Jude Coe is currently the Aide-de-Camp to the Commanding General, U.S. Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL.   He previously served in 3rd Brigade (Rakkasans), 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) where he was a Forward Support Company Commander and a Headquarters and Headquarters Company Commander.  Jude enjoys helping manage his 9Round 30 Min Kickbox Fitness Gym in Henrico, VA, reading, playing guitar, exercising, and visiting his family in his hometown of Charlottesville, VA.

Joining the Army sponsored James Wright Fellows will be another fantastic Navy Officer as well in an accompanying program to the Fellowship:

LT Corinne Sims is a native of Hamburg, NY and joined the Navy in 1999 after high school. She has been stationed in Norfolk since 2001, serving multiple sea and shore rotations. In 2010 she graduated from Old Dominion University with a BS in Civil Engineering. Following commissioning into the Civil Engineer Corps she has completed tours of duty with the Seabees and Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic. Corinne is married to Senior Chief (Ret) Michael Sims and they reside in Suffolk, VA.

MGJW Fellows dine with Mike Petters, President and CEO of Huntington Ingalls Industries (America’s largest military shipbuilder)

“If your ambition is to be an Admiral, you are going to be disappointed.”  These were the memorable words delivered to Mike Petters by his Commander as he received his first written evaluation (FITREP in Navy speak, OER in Army talk).  After a sufficiently long pause,  Ensign Petters Commander continued: “…but if your ambition is to serve well, do right by your teams, and the leave the world a better place than you found it then you are going to have an amazing and satisfying career, full of experiences you will never forget…and who knows, you just might be an Admiral too.”

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Mike shared this story and many additional lessons learned in a private luncheon with members of the MG James Wright Fellowship class of 2017 on February 6th, 2017.  As a Naval Academy graduate, Mr. Petters gladly recognized the forum as a chance to talk with military leaders about his experiences in and out of uniform and how they shaped the success he continues to enjoy.  Highlighting a difference between the military and private sector, he pointed out that, “the intensity of your job now [in uniform] is unlikely to be met in the private sector…the military is where you find out who you are as a leader and  in about 1/10th of your life you will earn a lifetime of leadership experience.”  Mike also spoke of an early exposure to “authority, accountability and responsibility” as a Midshipmen that he feels served him well when compared to his civilian counterparts as he made his transition.

IMG_9948As a CEO and President, Mike Petters interviews and meets with many people looking to join his team.  To that point, Mike pointed out that he can quickly identify great leaders by how they describe success; “your greatest success should come from when your people do their best work, too many leaders I interview only attribute personal success to their own actions.”  Another attribute he looks for–that is often seen in Veterans–is the ability to “work on every floor of the building and in any seat.”

 Imagine your company is a 25 story building…there are alot of good, hardworking people who don’t know what happens on the 25th floor, and that’s ok because we need 9th floor experts.  And there are some folks on the 9th floor who started in the back row of seats and over a successful career worked their way to the seat at the front of the room…we need those guys and gals because they know the 9th floor better than anybody else in the organization.  But we also need members of the team who can sit in the back row on the 9th floor, then move to a middle row on the 11th floor, then take a front seat on the 2nd floor, then run the 15th floor…people with the adaptability and flexibility to do this  eventually end up on the 25th floor.  And from what I have seen, people with Service backgrounds tend to exhibit these types of qualities.

Mr. Petters concluded his remarks with a mantra by which he now operates his firm but could easily be applied to continued service in the Military.  “At the end of the day, our Company does need to make a profit, but when we weigh decisions, we always remember ‘if its good for the Soldiers and Sailors, then its good for us’ .”

Special thanks to Will Lindberg and the Raymond A. Mason School of Business for facilitating this discussion.

Where Are They Now?

Since graduating its first cohort in 2012, the Major General (Ret.) James Wright Fellowship has educated and sent forth 85+ leaders who continue to contribute to the Army and the Nation.  Serving around the globe, with over a dozen currently deployed to places like Iraq and Afghanistan, here are brief reflections and glimpses from previous Fellows highlighting their experiences and accomplishments since earning their MBAs from the Mason School of Business:

 

“I was a member of the first cohort of fellows and graduated in 2012. Following graduation, I completed the acquisition basic course and my first assignment as a contracting officer at the Fort Drum Mission and Installation Contracting Command Office.  I currently work at the Defense Logistics Agency in Philadelphia and am involved in a range of projects and procurements that directly affect and provide support to our joint service members. My experiences at the Mason School of Business broadened my perspective, allowed me to build a great network of genuine connections, and encouraged me  to take risks. I still keep in touch with my former fellows, classmates, and executive partner. The relationships forged during this phenomenal opportunity are truly a strength of the program.”  –MAJ Alicia Burrows (2012)

I’ve worked at CASCOM since graduation…the MGJW MBA has certainly given me a new set of tools with which to consider any issue or problem —  MAJ Jeremy C. Gottshall (2014)

I recently graduated from the Defense Language Institute.  After ILE, I will perform duties as a Russian-language DLI GraduationFAO during in-region training at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia.  Thanks in large part to my time at William and Mary, I now hold a LSS Black Belt and continue to apply the lessons of learend at Mason School of Business to my new career field — MAJ Andrew Horsfall (2014)

After graduating in August 2012, I was assigned to III Corps, G4 Plans and Operations at Ft Hood TX, where I deployed to Afghanistan and promptly started putting my newly acquired skills to work leading a team that developed the a cost analysis that reinstated the 4 meal cycle in Afghanistan for all US service members, DoD Civilians, Contractors, and allies resulting in a cost savings of $8 million every six months to the Government.  After that I served as the Support Operations Officer for 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) developing the plan to bring their 3,000+ pieces of equipment out of storage and ready for an aggressive train up to deploy to South Korea as the first Armored Brigade Combat Team rotational unit deployed in support of the 2nd Infantry Division.  Upon redeployment from Korea, I transitioned to Rock Island Arsenal, IL, the home of the US Army Sustainment Command where I continue to use the skill set learned at W&M to impact strategic logistics for the US Army. –MAJ Rebecca A. Milkowski (2012)

Since graduating in the MGJW Class of 2012 I completed two years as a Battalion S-3 and Commanded Alpha Company/404th Aviation CPT Cait SmithSupport Battalion on Fort Carson, Colorado. In 2016, I transferred from LG-branch to Force Management (FA50). I now serve as a Force Integration Officer in the ARNORTH G3/7 on Fort Sam Houston. The knowledge and experiences gained during the MGJW Fellowship have been integral in strategic planning and
force management operations–  CPT Cait Smith (2012)

Since graduating from W&M (August ’14) I have continued to reside in Williamsburg after receiving orders to the Combined Arms Support Command at Ft Lee, VA.  I am assigned as a Logistics Proponency Personnel Development Officer while attending the Command and General Staff Course satellite course at Ft Lee.  Shortly after assuming duties in Proponency I received Worldwide Individual Augmentation System (WIAS) orders to deploy to Kabul, Afghanistan, as a counter-IED advisor to the Afghan Ministries of Defense and Interior Affairs.  Also since graduating, my wife Dawn, son Nathan, and I welcomed our newest Family member, Nina, on 4 February, 2016.–MAJ Aaron Workman (2014)

I am currently stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and am on a WIAS tasking supporting the Office of Security Cooperation – Iraq. This is a joint billet where our office is under Chief of Mission (COM) Authority. I work in the Security Assistance Branch and I am the Logistics Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Case Manager. I work hand in hand with the Government of Iraq and US Industry in accordance with US Foreign Policy. I believe that my experience in the fellowship has given the fundamental skill sets required and subsequent confidence in my abilities to manage programs in value of over $220M. All while developing future cases to support US Foreign Policy Interests and continue to develop the Iraqi Security Forces capability to sustain themselves. — MAJ Zac Bock (2014)

 

I was part of the initial cohort to come through William and Mary, graduating in 2012.  After graduation, I deployed to sunny Afghanistan, where I was a BDE Projects Officer.  The skills from my time at William and Mary were vital during multiple projects designed to increase efficiency on the battlefield.  From there I spent two years in coastal GA Commanding one of the Army’s last Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET) Companies.  The organizational management skills developed during the Fellowship were vital there.  After that, I spent a year on Kwajalein Island, as the only Logistics Officer within a few thousand miles.  The self-sufficiency and researching abilities that were essential back in VA, were just as applicable in the middle of the Pacific.  I am currently at the Defense Language Institute.  The skill of extreme efficiency in your own life becomes very important here, which reminds me a lot of what it takes to get through the MBA program at William and Mary — MAJ Daniel O’Connor (2012)

I graduated from the MGJW Fellowship in August 2014, and I immediately went to work as the Ordnance Basic Officer Leader’s Course Manager, stationed at Fort Lee, VA.  I served approximately 18 months at Fort Lee before heading off to Kabul, Afghanistan on a WIAS.  I served as an Operations Officer in the Train, Advise, and Assist Mission for Resolute Support Headquarters.  In Afghanistan I prepared products to enable our senior leaders to make decisions, often utilizing the data analysis and problem solving skills developed during my time at Mason. The skills I developed at Mason have enabled me to succeed both personally and professionally.  I look forward to the next challenge that lies ahead. — MAJ Brian Slotnick, (2014)