MALVERN, Pa. — The research conducted by Penn State Great Valley faculty has an extensive reach, not only in the Greater Philadelphia area and in terms of academics, but also across the country and throughout industry and the military. Kathryn Jablokow, associate chief academic officer and professor of engineering design and mechanical engineering, recently expanded her work with the United States military through a presentation to the senior leaders of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC).
CCDC is the Army’s science and technology execution arm and supports multiple research labs across the country, focusing on developing and delivering a variety of technologies.
“We often say that something is greater than the sum of its parts,” Jablokow said. “When it comes to science and engineering in the Army, that should be true. We’ve got all these labs and they’re all doing cool things, but imagine what they could accomplish if they were all doing things together.”
Jablokow’s presentation centered on building a unified team, crucial for CCDC as it navigates major changes; the United States Army is undergoing a reorganization, including the introduction of a fourth Army command — the first new command in over 40 years.
The new command created by the reorganization is the Army Futures Command (AFC), established in July 2018 to modernize and advance the Army. With the inception of AFC, the United States Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command (RDECOM) was rebranded as CCDC and transitioned under AFC.
Like many transitions and mergers in the corporate world, there were some bumps in the road, so AFC initiated a change management team to help orient CCDC personnel to Army goals and key tenets.
“[The transition] impacts a lot of people, and our people are our number one asset,” said Elizabeth Groover, who was part of the change management team. “What do we want to look like behaviorally? What pillars do we want to stand on? How do we want to work together? That’s part of what the Change Management team was designed to operationalize."
Lt. Col. Manuel “Manny” Ugarte, an alumnus of Penn State Great Valley’s Master of Engineering Management program, was a key part of the transition. Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins, Commanding General of CCDC, wanted to create a forum focused on collaboration for the senior leaders. Ugarte was working with Wins and his staff at the time, and something about the situation struck him.