Tobyhanna Army Depot Artisans Recognized on National Tradesman Day

Tobyhanna Army Depot celebrated National Tradesman Day by shining a spotlight on some of its expert tradesmen and saluting all tradesmen who contribute to the organization’s mission.

The depot employs artisans in a variety of trades for both mission and base operations.

Many other tradespeople work in the Installation Services Directorate’s Facilities Maintenance Branch, providing vital support to base operations and tackling a broad mission that ranges from plumbing to electrical and beyond, according to Public Works Division Chief James Wisnewski.

“The Facilities Maintenance Branch defines what it means to be a customer service organization. No matter how complex or urgent the task is, they are always up for the challenge. Their efforts ensure that Tobyhanna can accomplish its C5ISR mission,” he said.

Scott Burti joined the Facilities Maintenance Branch three years ago, after a successful career as a commercial electrician. A father of five, he says he sought federal employment for opportunity.

“My family is the most important thing to me and my prior career had me consistently working 11-to-12-hour days, 7 days a week. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of Team Tobyhanna, where I can use my skills while also having great work-life balance.”

Burti lauded the depot workforce as one of the organization’s greatest assets.

“I have made some of the best friends I’ve ever had here. The people here are amazing.”

While the depot’s vast campus allows Burti to utilize his electrical knowledge, he considers himself a lifelong learner and recently shadowed Installation Services directors as part of the TOBY2035 Federal Wage System Directorate Internship Program. He says the internship was truly eye-opening.

“Shadowing Mr. Ramey and Ms. Leonard changed my perception of what is required to be a senior leader at Tobyhanna. Experiences like this [the internship] are key to dispelling myths and improving our culture,” adding that he hopes to use his dynamic background to benefit Tobyhanna’s business operations in the future.

A graduate of East Stroudsburg University, Burti earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in business with a concentration in psychology and is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree. He is also a current member of the Leadership Lackawanna Core Class of 2023-2024.

In his personal life, Burti enjoys golfing, spending time with his family and volunteering in his community.

Michael Gaudette is a Maintenance Mechanic in the Installation Services Directorate. He is known around TYAD for his wealth of abilities which include plumbing, fitting pipes, and managing the heat and boilers on base. Prior to joining Team Tobyhanna in 2008, he had 15 years of experience doing residential and commercial work of the same sort.

Although Gaudette has taken a few classes here and there, he considers himself trained on the job. He said he trained alongside individuals with years of experience and learned many best practices from those mentors. Although grateful for the experience he gained, he looked to TYAD in search of something better, citing the flexibility as one of the main things that brought him here.

As TYAD covers 2.4 million square feet of space, it’s easy to imagine that no two days repeat themselves. Gaudette said that is what he likes best about working here.

“For me it’s always something different. I’m not in the same place every day,” said Gaudette. “We have tons of different buildings around TYAD and I’m in different buildings all the time. No job is ever the same.”

One highlight of his depot career thus far came in 2010 when Gaudette served for six months in Afghanistan working on Counter Improvised Explosive Devices. Although never having formally enlisted, he said he viewed the eye-opening experience as his way of helping to give back.

Outside of TYAD, Gaudette enjoys the outdoors, describing himself as an avid golfer, hunter and fisherman. He also enjoys spending time with his family and watching his four grandchildren participate in youth soccer and baseball.

Daniel Unger is an Air Conditioning Equipment Mechanic in the Installation Services Directorate. Growing up in a nearby community, Unger said he’s known about TYAD and its mission of supporting the Warfighter for most of his life. He attended Johnson College where he graduated with a Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) degree in 2019 and said that upon graduation, he wanted to try his best to join the Depot’s talented workforce.

Unger described himself as a hands-on person. He said knew early on that he wanted to enter an industry that allowed him to keep his hands moving. He took an interest in HVAC after shadowing a family friend who owned a HVAC business.

Unger officially joined Team Tobyhanna in 2020 as a contractor and was brought on as a full-time employee in May 2022. Like Gaudette, he said that his favorite thing about working at TYAD is that every day is different and presents a new challenge.

“The thing I like most about my job is that there’s so many different places and so many different types of equipment. I even have my own van,” said Unger. “[TYAD] is almost like its own little city so I don’t really work on the same equipment every day. It is always something new.”

When he’s not at work, Unger keeps busy by riding his 2021 Harley Davidson motorcycle around and working on his antique truck, a 1984 Ford F350. He also has his own HVAC business doing residential installations in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Facilities Maintenance Branch Chief John MacKinney III lauded the trio and emphasized their commitment to Tobyhanna’s mission.

“These are some of the most dedicated folks I have worked with.  They stay late or come in at all hours of the day to address emergencies,” he said. “I feel honored to lead this team, and hope we continue to exceed expectations.” Installation Services Director William Ramey agreed.

“They bring a wealth of knowledge to support our critical infrastructure requirements. Their commitment to teamwork and solving complex problems contributes to the success of our entire installation,” said Ramey.

Joshua Ward is one of Team Tobyhanna’s newest members, serving as a Heavy Mobile Equipment Mechanic in the Production Engineering Directorate’s Mobile Equipment Branch.  Ward and his colleagues in the depot Motor Pool sustain mission-critical equipment such as forklifts, utility vehicles, excavators and much more.

A Northeastern Pennsylvania native, Ward worked in the private sector as a plumber prior to his depot career.  He says his current role is a better fit for his abilities.

“I worked as a mechanic in the Army, so being a part of the Motor Pool allows me to use that experience.  Every day here is unique, and I like being able to work on different types of equipment for different reasons. Some days, I’m fighting to fix a door latch and others, I am changing batteries.”

Among Ward’s key roles is serving as Tobyhanna’s roll back operator – a role pivotal to Tobyhanna’s mission supporting military readiness.  Roll back materiel movement is required to relocate assets from one part of the depot to another, as well as to transport equipment on-and-off post for service not available in the Motor Pool.

While he’s only worked as an Army Civilian for a few months, Ward is no stranger to Tobyhanna Army Depot – he previously served on post as a member of U.S. Army Reserve’s 392nd Signal Battalion.  Ward continues to serve his nation as a member of the 412th Engineering Company, headquartered in Scranton and has more than 10 years of military service under his belt.

Like others, Ward noted the immense number of opportunities available at Tobyhanna Army Depot and says he is setting big goals for himself.

“In the future, I want to move into leadership, and I’m working now to identify courses that can help me grow. I also want to continue my education.”

In his limited free time, Ward enjoys do-it-yourself projects on his home, spending time with his two young children, and fishing – especially at Barney’s Lake.

Ward’s supervisor, Michael Fedorisin, celebrated Ward and the impact he has made in such a short time.

“Josh is a great worker and a true asset to our Motor Pool team.  He doesn’t hesitate to take on a repair that is out of his normal day-to-day routine, as he is always looking to expand his skill set.  His drive and strong work ethic show his passion to support his fellow warfighters.”

Tobyhanna Recognizes Employees on National Tradesman Day

Tobyhanna Army Depot observed National Tradesman Day on September 16 by shining a spotlight on some of its expert tradesmen and saluting all tradesmen who contribute to the organization’s mission.

The depot employs artisans in a variety of trades for both mission and base operations. Many of these tradesmen work in the Directorate of Systems Integration and Support (SIS), supporting refinishing and manufacturing operations vital to Tobyhanna’s overall mission supporting the joint warfighter.

Kenneth West is a General Equipment Repair Mechanic in the Systems Integration and Support Directorate. He chose to enter a trade simply because he had a passion for vehicles. West said he grew up riding and racing dirt bikes as a hobby and that he’s always felt a sense of gratification when learning how to take things apart and put them back together again. His father did a lot of mechanical work, which allowed him to get his initial look into working in that profession.

His passion for hands-on learning led him to the Motorcycle Mechanic School in Orlando, Florida which allowed him to get his start in the power sports industry. After spending a few years working at a small mom and pop store and then at Electric City Harley Davidson, West joined Team Tobyhanna in 2019.

Working in the Tactical Vehicle Branch, West is a member of the depot’s High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle shop where the team receives vehicles and then performs resets, repairs, inspections and more. West said he and the team understand how important the work they do is for our nation’s warfighters, and they take great pride in ensuring their work is done at the highest possible level.

“We’re helping out the Army and other branches of military by fixing these vehicles and making them mechanically sound for other bases and ultimately the battlefield,” said West. “Everyone in this shop takes pride in what they do. Every Humvee is worked on by a trained professional so that they’re sent out in the field one hundred percent mechanically ready to rock ‘n’ roll.”

Electronics worker Melvin Pena-Rivera is a member of Team Tobyhanna’s innovative Pre-Production and Planning Branch, responsible for onboarding and developing comprehensive processes for new cable workloads. The Branch’s mission was attractive because of its wide range of projects, Pena-Rivera noted.

“I like a challenge, and here I get the chance to do something different every day. I also can use many of the skills I have acquired to overcome the unique challenges presented during the prototyping process.”

Creativity runs in Pena-Rivera’s family – his father was a painter and sculptor, and Pena-Rivera himself enjoys artistic expressions such as producing original music, drawing and 3D modeling in his free time.

A relative newcomer to the depot, Pena-Rivera joined Team Tobyhanna in 2018 after emigrating to the United States. He left his home country of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria decimated the island, resulting in few job opportunities.

Despite having to start over, Pena-Rivera tries to bring the experience from his previous careers to his current one.

“Working as a technical engineer and drafter in Puerto Rico gave me skills and insight that I use to make Tobyhanna’s mission successful.”

Outside of his creative endeavors, Pena-Rivera enjoys movies, stand-up comedy and returning to Puerto Rico to spend time with his favorite two people: his daughter and his mother, whom he cites as a personal and professional inspiration.

“My mom is the hardest working person I know, and I’m proud to be her son.”

Tradesmen are also employed in other capacities at the depot, making meaningful contributions to the organization’s mission.

Gregory Kipp works in the Production Engineering Directorate, sustaining the critical equipment that powers the Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) warehousing system. Kipp and his co-workers play a key role in the logistics support required to achieve Tobyhanna’s mission.

A graduate of Johnson College, Kipp originally pursued a career in computer engineering, but quickly found he would rather make his living pursuing his passion.

“As a kid, I drove my parents nuts taking phones, calculators, and other things apart. During my early college years, I realized how much I missed that practical type of work, so I decided to change course.” Kipp subsequently earned a degree in Electrical Construction and Maintenance and joined Team Tobyhanna in 2004. He says he’s never looked back.

“I truly enjoy what I do, whether it’s troubleshooting a challenging problem or simple maintenance. Getting to do it with people I like is a bonus.”

Paul Deprimo, Chief of the Mobile Equipment Branch, says Kipp is a huge asset to his team.

“Greg continually strives to expertly maintain and repair any and all equipment he is responsible for, and does so with professionalism, dedication and pride.”

In his free time, Kipp enjoys cooking, woodworking, and spending time with his two young daughters. An avid movie-watcher, Kipp also boasts the unique achievement of having seen his favorite film, “The Fifth Element”, an astounding 140 times.

Tobyhanna Recognizes Employees on National Tradesman Day

Tobyhanna Army Depot observed National Tradesman Day on September 21 by shining a spotlight on some of its expert tradesmen and saluting all tradesmen who contribute to the organization’s mission.

The depot employs artisans in a variety of trades for both mission and base operations. Many of these tradesmen work in the Directorate of Systems Integration and Support (SIS), supporting refinishing and manufacturing operations vital to Tobyhanna’s overall mission supporting the joint warfighter.

Charles “CJ” Janiszewski works in SIS’s Machining Branch and is responsible for a variety of tasks, including machine program editing and set-ups. A graduate of Johnson College, he says Tobyhanna Army Depot was always his employer of choice.

“As soon as I graduated college, I pursued a career here because I was interested in an important mission like supporting the warfighter. I also heard a lot about the modern facilities here, and they did not disappoint,” adding that he appreciated the opportunity for personal growth thanks to the depot’s vast number of career opportunities.

Machining Branch Chief Keith Knecht lauded Janiszewski’s performance and contributions to Team Tobyhanna.

“CJ’s positive attitude makes him a great team member. He goes out of his way to help others, regularly offers suggestions to make things better, and is always willing to learn new things. He’s a rare find.”

After 14 years as a member of the depot workforce, Sheet Metal Mechanic Christopher Valenza still comes into work with a smile on his face.

“It’s amazing to be able to take a simple sheet of metal and transform it into something useful. I appreciate that I get to create something new every day,” he said.

A carpenter by trade, Valenza always had an interest in other types of hands-on work, but it wasn’t until he joined Team Tobyhanna that he began working with metal. According to Valenza, legacy employees get the credit for helping him transform his career.

“When I started here, I was lucky to have great mentors that provided me with on-the-job training and helped me apply my existing carpentry skills to this similar type of work. All these years later, I’m still using their teachings.”

Keith Knecht, currently dual-hatting and acting as chief of the Sheet Metal Fabrication Branch, noted the important role Valenza plays in the cost center.

“Chris is our go-to guy in the forming area. He is a creative problem-solver, ensuring we can always address our challenges and meet our customer requirements. He is also excellent at communicating potential issues – an extremely important quality in such a dynamic environment.”

Welder Matthew Nelson is one of the Branch’s top employees, according to Welding Branch chief Robert Knecht.

“Matthew has a commendable work ethic and is dedicated to our mission. His knowledge and experience make him a true subject matter expert.”

Nelson began welding in high school and parlayed his hobby into a profession after earning a degree at the Pennsylvania College of Technology. After several years of working in the private sector, he pursued a career at Tobyhanna.

“I was looking for a stable place to continue practicing my trade and Tobyhanna fit the bill. I was also excited about the opportunity to travel the world in support of missions,” Nelson said. He also noted that his depot experience so far had been positive – especially because his co-workers have been so willing to share best practices and knowledge. Looking ahead in his career, he says he’d like to become a certified welding inspector to continue to support his unique trade.

“The science of welding continues to impress and interest me.”

Robert Knecht says the Welding Branch has more than one superstar.

“Gerard Reichle goes above and beyond to produce the best quality product and, without hesitation, is always willing to step up to help – no matter how challenging the task. He is a great asset to our Branch, and the depot overall.”

Reichle joined Team Tobyhanna in 2018 after his private sector company was bought out. He says the challenging experience led him to great things.

“I can sum it up in four words: I love it here. Although it was disappointing to leave my last job, I love the culture at Tobyhanna.”

Like Valenza, Reichle has a background in carpentry, but was drawn to welding after high school.

“I appreciate that welding allows me to do something different every day – my work is rarely repetitious.”

When the work day ends, Reichle continues to work with his hands, whether it’s a major woodworking project or another item on his “honey do” list.

“I like to keep busy.”

Those interested in future career opportunities with Team Tobyhanna can apply through USAJobs at