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NEWS | July 6, 2023

TRFB Invests in New Leaders Through Leadership Development Programs

By Blaine Laurion Trident Refit Facility, Bangor

Trident Refit Facility, Bangor (TRFB) offers Leadership Development Programs for all levels of career growth. Two of these programs are offered through the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Leadership Development Continuum (LDC) Programs, Next Generation Leadership (NextGen) Program and Journey Level Leadership (JLL) Program and the third program is vended through Graduate School USA, New Leader Program (NLP). A total of 23 TRFB employees have graduated from these programs over the last three years.

Employees at TRFB apply to these programs for a wide variety of reasons.

“I was looking for something different and challenging and the various aspects of the program appealed to me. I was hungry for an adventure, and an adventure it was,” said Mike Dean, JLL program graduate attached to Weapon’s Repair Department, TRFB.

Personnel at the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) said they created the Next Generation Leadership Program to develop capable leaders for NAVSEA, now and in the future. Individuals gain leadership skills through a blended course approach (classroom & online) which involves assessment, experiential learning and individual development opportunities.  

Nicole Brenner, a manpower analyst at TRFB, attended NextGen in 2021 and found the opportunity to network with employees from across the NAVSEA enterprise to be a valuable resource. “The best part of the program was creating connections and friendships that will stay with me throughout my career. I still keep in contact with people I met through the program and it's nice being able to support each other's growth and bounce ideas off one another.”  Nicole applied for this program to make the most of every opportunity available to her to continue developing skills and acquire new ones.  She also advises applicants to start thinking about their career paths now and not be afraid to further their education or enroll in a leadership program.

Candace Soufi, a business planning agent at TRFB, participated in the most recent NextGen cohort and had several takeaways from her experience.

“I really learned how to influence, motivate, and empower coworkers, so we, as a team, can contribute to Trident Refit Facility Bangor’s success,” said Soufi.

Soufi said her cohort has provided her with a lot of opportunities to grow and learn to motivate and lead teams from within.

The JLL program is a one-year course for high performing GS 11s, 12s and 13s or equivalent civilian employees who have demonstrated progressive leadership experience. The JLL program expands employee’s horizons and leadership potential with classroom instruction, networking, team building, an experiential 90-day rotation, and a capstone project pursuing an issue that aligns with the NAVSEA campaign plan. The program uses mentoring, professional assessments and personalized feedback to maximize impact. 

“[It’s] probably the most challenging and fun professional experience I’ve ever had,” said Dean. During the program, he was able to travel three times to Washington, D.C., twice for leadership training and once for graduation.

According to Dean, the most rewarding part of the program, by far, was the travel, meeting, and networking with people he didn’t know. He also found the team project to be a valuable learning experience as his team tackled on-time delivery of ships and submarines from the NAVSEA strategic goal, providing a brief to the NAVSEA commander, NAVSEA department heads and multiple NAVSEA senior leaders. 

The JLL program also contains a 90-day rotational assignment, which sent Dean to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard where he deepened his knowledge on Project Management as part of the USS California (SSN-783) Engineered Depot Selected Restricted Availability (EDSRA). “Overall, I gained valuable experience that I use to this day.”

Outside of the NAVSEA program’s TRFB also sends up to six qualified employees to the New Leader Program (NLP) conducted by Graduate School USA. This program is a six-month long and is designed to prepare employees for management and leadership positions. The programs theme "Leading Self" focuses on the Office of Personnel and Management’s Executive Core Qualifications framework and addresses 22 of the 28 competencies.  Some of the competencies addressed during the trainings include teambuilding, communication, conflict management, decision making and problem solving. 

Amanda Galeote is one of the TRFB graduates who was in the fully virtual version of the program during the COVID-19 pandemic and spoke highly of the program.

“As you talk to others you realize that everyone has something they can improve on,” said Galeote. “Even those leaders at the top whom you admire.”

“My favorite part of the New Leader Program was forming a team with people who are working towards the same goal of self-improvement. The time spent with my group created long lasting professional relationships that goes beyond the structure of the NLP. My group still connects to each other to catch up, checking in on our careers or provide professional advice.” 

Christopher Cristobal, attached to Quality Assurance Non-Destructive Testing, agreed with Galeote on the team learning side of the program, “My favorite part of the NLP was going into the weeklong sessions with the entire cohort and listening in to all of the guest speakers and feedback from other people from around the country. Each speaker was very knowledgeable and I feel like I was able to take away a lot from each session.”

Zack Cox, attached to the Mechanical Department Air Shop at TRFB, is a recent NLP graduate and found a lot of value in his growth as a young supervisor.

“My biggest takeaway was learning my own leadership style and how it may be perceived by others,” said Cox. “Recognizing who I am as a leader helped me to identify my own strengths and weaknesses, improve my communication skills and even allowed me to handle challenging situations more effectively.”

Each of these programs requires different commitments of time and travel away from TRFB but also requires commitments in the program while back in their daily job. The benefits of these programs are evident in each graduate as they grow as leaders here at TRFB.

Galeote summed it up as she provided advice to applicants thinking of applying for a leadership program, “Be willing to commit to the program and ensure you have the support of your current team. These programs require a lot of time outside of work and you will be away from your current position during various periods. The more time you spend on yourself and with your program team, the more you will gain from it.  It’s absolutely worth it.”  Cox echoed this with his advice, “The more effort you put into these programs the more success you will have, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and soak up as much knowledge and experience as you can.”      

Every employee will have a different experience and gain something different from whichever program they are involved in but the personal growth and leadership experience make it obvious why TRFB invests so much in these up-and-coming leaders across the command.  No matter the reason you apply for any of these programs you will walk away with more than you could have imagined.