Tobyhanna Army Depot Artisans Recognized on National Tradesman Day

Members News

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.”