Hanscom celebrates newest program managers
By Jessica Casserly, 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
/ Published December 06, 2019
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Hanscom officials graduated 13 program management trainees in a ceremony here Dec. 5.
The new program managers recently completed either the PALACE Acquire program or a locally-funded trainee program. Both programs are designed to regenerate the acquisition program management workforce and all graduates are offered permanent, full-time positions upon successful completion of their formal training plan.
“My team and I are responsible for managing a program management workforce of nearly 500 civilians and 400 military personnel,” said Patrick Marr, Hanscom’s Program Management career field manager, during the ceremony’s opening remarks. “Today marks a major milestone in these graduates’ careers as program managers. We’ll officially welcome them into the ranks of our career field.”
All interns must complete Core Certification Standards courses, as well as their program manager level I and II certifications in order to graduate.
“The Air Force does things a little bit differently in terms of how we have program managers come into this world,” said Scott Owens, deputy director of Command, Control Communications, Intelligence and Networks, and the guest speaker for the ceremony. “We grow them by rotating them as much as possible, so that they get to see different pieces of the Air Force, different leadership styles and different missions.”
Both trainee programs are structured to produce fully-qualified acquisition program managers, but every intern experience is unique.
James Foley, a PALACE Acquire graduate and program manager for the Nuclear Command, Control and Communications Integration Directorate, learned about internship opportunities from a friend while completing his Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing.
“I was drawn to the [Air Force] mission,” Foley said. “On a personal level, I really liked the ability to give back to the United States and serve my country as a civilian.”
Others, like Kelly Sullivan, a PALACE Acquire graduate and program manager for the Digital Directorate, saw the program as an opportunity to change career paths.
“I had a Juris Doctorate degree and was practicing law when I heard about the intern program,” she said. “I wasn’t happy at my job, so I did a complete 180.”
Both intern programs offer participants formal training plans, as well as promotions and yearly salary increases based upon performance and supervisory approval.
“I feel like I’ve been lucky and had good mentors and leaders,” said Sullivan. “I feel like I wouldn’t have had these opportunities to interact with leadership and travel if I had not been an intern.”
Foley also worked collaboratively with his mentors and the program management functional office to ensure he had a well-rounded experience and understanding of acquisitions.
“I had the really amazing ability to do things I never thought I’d be able to do and work in areas that I never thought I would work in,” he said. “People would hand me the reins and say, ‘Let’s see what you can do. You’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to have great successes and at the end of it we’re going to figure out how much you’ve grown and show you where you’re headed in the Air Force.’”
According to Foley, a drive for success and tackling new challenges is key to excelling as an intern, and he encourages current and future interns to take control of their careers.
“Be bold, take risks and prove yourself. That’s why we’re here and that’s why we do this,” he said.
To learn more about the PALACE Acquire program and other employment opportunities, visit https://www.afciviliancareers.com/students.php.