Tobyhanna Army Depot Recognizes Employees of the Quarter

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’s Latest Employees of the Quarter

Although many different things go into running a world class business, at the end of the day, it is the people that matter the most. That is why every three months, Tobyhanna Army Depot (TYAD) chooses two employees to be named their Employees of the Quarter (EoQ).

On a depot of about 3,500 people, there are many great candidates to choose from. This quarter, Shana Fields of the Production Management Directorate and Raymond Loewenthal of the C4ISR Directorate have been selected as the junior and senior honorees respectively.

Fields currently serves as a secretary and has been a member of Team Tobyhanna for about six and a half years. During her time at TYAD, she has provided high levels of service and support at both branch and division levels. She is responsible for maintaining communication with all 70 divisional personnel members across both the C4ISR Integration & Fabrication Division and Avionics & Sensors Division. She has been credited for her exceptional accuracy when tracking personnel pay and leave, managing government travel and purchase requirements, and ensuring requests are processed through the approval chain to meet required time and documentation suspense.

Chief of the C4ISR Integration and Fabrication Program Management Division, Mike Monroe, lauded Fields for her drive and professionalism.

“Shana’s service has consistently epitomized initiative, professionalism, endurance, competence, efficiency and accuracy,” said Monroe. “Those attributes, combined with her infectious, positive attitude have made her a leader within the division that all personnel come to for advice, clarity and support.”

Fields is also known for trying to find new, efficient ways to achieve her work. Despite having to manage many different tasks, she has maintained a “Six Sigma” reputation for her remarkable accuracy, meaning she has the skills to find, fix and finalize efficiencies to save time and money and improve our nation’s ready forces at the best value. This laser focus is directly credited for the division’s seamless record in meeting suspense dates on all tasks and correspondence.

Monroe said that Fields’ selflessness is one of her most admirable qualities.

“Shana is known for her willingness to take on further work and responsibility,” said Monroe. “Her attitude and work ethic consistently bring great credit upon herself and are recognized across the organization as someone who always puts her fellow employees, and the mission to support the Warfighter, ahead of herself.”

Fields said that receiving this honor only solidifies the appreciation she has felt ever since she started at TYAD.

“One great thing about my job is that I have never felt unappreciated,” said Fields. “It feels great to receive this honor. I feel as though it reinforces the acknowledgement I have received here for a while.”

Known for his ability to take initiative and work diligently, Loewenthal is an Electronics Mechanic and has been a member of Team Tobyhanna for 18 years. When his team recently experienced a failure to the MSS AN/TRC-194 terminal that prevented them from performing final testing and inspection of assets, Loewenthal sprang into action and was able to determine the failed component, work with engineers to find a replacement, and work proactively with his teammates to install it. His hard work and ingenuity restored the terminal to full mission capable status.

Chief of the MILSATCOM Branch, Christian Cognigni, commended Loewenthal for not only setting a great example for his teammates, but also living the Army Values.

“Mr. Loewenthal set a great example for new employees and seasoned co-workers alike. His actions demonstrate taking ownership of his workload, identifying priorities, good problem solving skills and excellent communications skills. He also displayed initiative, focus, diligence and attention to his assigned duties,” said Cognigni. “His example in this effort reinforces the Army Values and has been recognized by other departments within the TYAD organization.”

Loewenthal’s efforts benefitted TYAD in both the near and long term. Not only was the MSS AN/TRC-194 Satellite Terminal restored to full operational status in a timely manner, but the attention brought to this failing part has ensured no down time will be incurred if it is a problem again in the future.

Cognigni said that he appreciates Loewenthal’s willingness to do something that is outside of his usual responsibilities.

“This entire effort was outside his ‘comfort zone,’” said Cognigni. “Ray needed a degree of courage to take on this responsibility for us and we appreciate him stepping up.”

Loewenthal has also been selected as the CECOM Employee of the Quarter. He said that he appreciates being recognized for his hard work.

“It feels great to have received this honor,” said Loewenthal. “Although I have had a long career, it takes time to earn great things so I couldn’t be happier that the work has paid off.”

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.

New Blast Booth Expands Upon Tobyhanna’s Diverse Capabilities

As a part of Tobyhanna Army Depot’s (TYAD) continuous mission of providing top-of-the-line support and being the best value for the warfighter, a new blast booth was recently installed in the C4ISR Finishing Center to improve processes in the shop.

Artisans in the Systems Integration and Support Directorate previously used blasters that shot aluminum zirconium at the asset being worked on, however those that work in the new booth will use blasters that fire small pieces of plastic at the asset.

The use of this plastic media is an alternative to hand sanding sensitive assets, which is a very time intensive process. It also allows for more versatile capabilities when it comes to the removal of certain layers of an asset. Aluminum zirconium is an abrasive form of media, so much so that it goes as far as removing the plating off an asset when working with it. Conversely, the plastic media is much less abrasive and allows depot employees to just remove the coating, for example. Although the plastic media is very diverse in its capabilities, it doesn’t totally eliminate the need for aluminum zirconium as the latter substance is more effective when working with corroded assets and will still be heavily relied upon at the depot.

Supervisory Production Management Specialist Thomas Petroski said that this new capability is great not only for depot employees, but also for our customers and the warfighter.

“The use of plastic blasting media grants us with many advantages that were previously unavailable to us,” said Petroski. “It replaces a lot of sanding that is done by hand, it reduces the repair cycle time which saves our customers time and money and it also allows us to process some work faster than before so we can get these assets out on the battlefield quicker.”

Like the C4ISR Refinishing Center itself, the new blast booth is also Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certified, which allows TYAD to play a significant part in being good stewards of the environment. The 25 by 40 foot blast bay has a reclamation system all across its floor. As the plastic media falls through the grates on the floor, the reclamation system separates it from the other coating residue that comes off an asset and cycles it back through to be blasted once again. The plastic media can be cycled about 10 times before it becomes so fine that is no longer useable.

This new blast booth provides Tobyhanna with expanded capabilities and is directly aligned with Tobyhanna’s long-range strategic plan, TOBY2028-2035, which has four focus areas: Investing in Our People, C5ISR Readiness, Shape the Future and Strategic Communications. TOBY2028 aims to posture the depot for success in the coming years as the Department of Defense’s premier worldwide C5ISR readiness provider.

Tobyhanna Modernization Efforts Support Future Warfighter Needs

Tobyhanna modernization efforts support future warfighter needs
Electronics Engineer Mark Sgobba briefs Maj. Gen. Edmonson during the QUB. (Photo Credit: Thomas Robbins)

Modernization and growth were the main points of discussion during this week’s quarterly update brief (QUB) at Tobyhanna Army Depot.

Maj. Gen. Robert Edmonson, Commanding General of the U.S Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM), and Command Sergeant Major Kristie Brady spent three days with Team Tobyhanna during a wide-ranging visit that included tours, interactions with the workforce, and briefings on current Tobyhanna modernization initiatives.

Much of the QUB focused on the recent visit of the Organic Industrial Base (OIB) Modernization Task Force. The cross-functional Task Force team toured TYAD on November 8, the first in a series of visits to the 23 depots and arsenals within the OIB.

Their mission is to determine what is required to support the Army Materiel Command (AMC) 15-year OIB modernization strategy, launched earlier this year by AMC Commanding General Edward Daly. The phased plan focuses on ensuring the OIB is prepared to support all future Army requirements.

While some of the Task Force’s stops will be conducted with a critical eye, those involved say the team came to Tobyhanna to learn.

Tobyhanna modernization efforts support future warfighter needs
Maj. Gen. Robert L. Edmonson addresses Tobyhanna personnel during a recent visit. (Photo Credit: Thomas Robbins)

“The Task Force was focused on how the Army can capitalize on the nearly $1B in modernization efforts that have transformed TYAD’s facilities and ensure we are prepared to support warfighter requirements today, tomorrow and into the future,” said Katlin Edmunds, adding that the depot is further investing in four focus areas that support its future vision: to provide full-spectrum support for the Department of Defense’s communications and electronics readiness needs.

“We will not stop growing – we continue to evolve our C5ISR readiness, cable, radar, and systems integration capabilities to expand our footprint,” she said. Edmunds leads the Strategic Initiatives Office.

During the visit, Edmonson urged Team Tobyhanna to challenge their existing perspectives and ensure the organization is consistently focused on supporting future warfighter needs.

“This [the OIB Task Force effort] is bigger than us, and it will have significant effects for years to come. Our focus must not be on what is best for us – but rather, what is best for America’s warfighters.”

Gen. Daly will brief Congress in early 2022 on the OIB Modernization Strategy. The briefing will include findings from the OIB Modernization Task Force as well as funding recommendations to best support emerging warfighter requirements and Army Futures Command 31+4 modernization initiatives.

Tobyhanna modernization efforts support future warfighter needs
Tobyhanna personnel pose with CECOM personnel during the recent quarterly update brief. From L to R: SFC Brent Leverette, CECOM CSM-Enlisted Aide; CPT Ashley Cooper, Aide-de-Camp to Commanding General; Command Sgt. Maj. Kristie Brady; Maj. Gen. Robert L. Edmonson, CECOM Commanding General; Tobyhanna Deputy Commander Frank Zardecki; Depot Commander Daniel L. Horn; Morgan Monts, Financial Management Analyst, CECOM; and Depot Sgt. Maj. Michael J. Wiles. (Photo Credit: Thomas Robbins)

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 3,700 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is 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 empower the Soldier with winning C5ISR capabilities.

TOBY2028 Strategic Plan Drives Growth at Tobyhanna Army Depot

Big changes are happening at Tobyhanna Army Depot – all thanks to the organization’s future-focused strategic plan, TOBY2028.

TOBY2028 aligns with the depot’s four strategic focus areas, called lines of effort (LOEs): Invest in Our People, C5ISR Readiness, Shape the Future and Strategic Communications. The endeavor was launched in 2018, as depot leaders envisioned becoming the Department of Defense’s premier worldwide C5ISR readiness provider.

According to TOBY2028’s overall lead Heather Fiedler, the plan’s success can be attributed to the participation of depot employees.

“TOBY2028 has showcased the talents and passion of Team Tobyhanna, and they have done a great job working to shape our future and deliver on our commitments.” Fiedler is the depot’s organizational development specialist.

The foundational LOE under TOBY2028 is Invest in Our People (IiOP), focusing empowerment efforts for the Army’s most important resource: its people. Fielder lauded the success of the IiOP’s Peer2Peer (P2P) Proactive Education Program, which trained employees on how to handle peer-to-peer disclosures such as harassment, suicidal ideations, substance use and mental health issues.  The program strives to create grassroots support where trained peers can connect co-workers with the appropriate first responder for intervention.

“Because we know that disclosures are often made to peers first, we developed this program to ensure members of Team Tobyhanna always have a trained person to confide in. After less than a year, we’ve received a wealth of positive feedback for the program – and its participants,” Fiedler said.

P2P, aligned with the Communication- Electronics Command’s Selflessness-Ownership-Unity-Larger Purpose (SOUL) program, is part of a larger slate of people-focused initiatives outlined by Fielder. Two standouts include a reciprocal shadowing pilot designed to build relationships across organizational silos and a twice-weekly mindfulness group to help reduce employee stress.

A pivotal accomplishment under the C5ISR Readiness LOE is the enhanced scheduling process, identified by the Army Materiel Command as a best practice earlier this year. The endeavor, originally piloted at Tobyhanna, provides leadership with real-time reporting tools based upon data entered by production floor personnel. It also heightens visual management to optimize production floor execution. Production floor leadership gave the new process rave reviews.

“Enhanced scheduling enables us to more efficiently execute mission requirements by clearly defining and prioritizing workload requirements based on real-time data,” said John Scott, Chief of the Tactical Satellite Systems Branch in the C4ISR Directorate.

As subject matter experts on the topic, Tobyhanna hosted 12 government agencies for a summit in July to provide training on the enhanced scheduling process. The summit also allowed depot personnel to directly interact with their counterparts at other organizations, sharing knowledge for collective growth.

Strategic communications (STRATCOM) were also improved under TOBY2028, with the introduction of multiple initiatives to better inform depot stakeholders. One such initiative was the development of a recruitment video to attract talent, jointly produced by the IiOP and STRATCOM LOEs.

Anne Gebhardt, Recruiting the Future Workforce team lead, says the video will be a big help in publicizing Tobyhanna to prospective employees.

“We believe this video will showcase not only the many different careers at Tobyhanna, but also the excellent benefits package and the advancement opportunities here. We also believe current employees sharing why they remain part of Team Tobyhanna is a powerful endorsement.”

Another STRATCOM initiative was aimed at ensuring a growing communication platform – social media – was fully accessible to all members of Team Tobyhanna’s diverse stakeholder group.

“Our team was excited to develop a plan to guarantee our media products were 508-compliant, ensuring our teammates who are deaf or blind can still engage with our digital platforms and are spun up on the latest news from Team Tobyhanna,” said Ryan Beilman, co-lead of the STRATCOM Effective Communication team. Beilman outlined the plan, which requires all depot social media to include closed captioning for videos or the integration of a sign language interpreter, while images all must be accompanied by a detailed image description.

Significant efforts are also underway for the Shape the Future LOE, whose mission is to drive a collaborative approach to innovation to support emerging requirements for the future force. The team’s current focus is the Technology and Capability Review Team (TCRT). This new group will identify sustainable short and long-term workloads and establish a business case analysis to address the investment opportunities. Shape the Future Lead Katlin Edmunds believes the TCRT will be a big success for Tobyhanna.

“This new effort will enable us to use data for process-based decisions on strategic capability investments. Simply put, it will help us better identify new workloads for Tobyhanna’s unique skill set.”

Fielder says TOBY2028 will endure long past the year 2028.

“TOBY2028 is not only our organizational roadmap today; it will remain our guide well into the future.”

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