May 23, 2012
WHIDBEY ISLAND — Douglas P. Tyler, an equipment specialist supervisor, was selected as Naval Air Technical Data and Engineering Service Center (NATEC) supervisor of the year.
The award recognizes Tyler’s accomplishments in leadership, innovation, team contributions, customer service and NATEC mission accomplishment. NATEC provides technical data support and engineering technical services to the Fleet, and Tyler has been a supervisor there since 1992.
“It’s nice to have someone tell you that that you are doing a good
job,” he said.
The journey to leadership
Tyler credits his recent experience in NAVAIR’s 2011 Journey Leadership Development Program (JLDP) for his success.
The JLDP helps develop future NAVAIR leaders, both civilian and military, through training and exposure to NAVAIR leadership responsibilities. Participants also enhance their interpersonal communication and productivity skills, gain a stronger working knowledge of Command operations, and develop a more robust personal network.
The program, launched in April 2010, has more than 618 NAVAIR participants nationwide.
“JLDP participants are all the leaders of tomorrow and help to guarantee the safety and success of tomorrow's Sailors and Marines,” said NAVAIR Leadership Development Program Manager Stephanie Peppler. “This program generates a cadre of high-potential employees, creates a stronger workforce — who then lead and teach by example — and builds stronger linkages across the organization.”
While Tyler admits he is “not the new guy on the block,” he said he joined the program to enhance his personal and professional growth while gaining a clearer understanding of the bigger NAVAIR picture.
His favorite part of the program was being out of his normal work environment, where he was exposed to new ideas through mentoring relationships, classroom and computer-based training courses, and job shadowing.
While shadowing three NAVAIR leaders in Patuxent River, Md., Tyler learned more about the NAVAIR business climate and the competency-aligned organizational (CAO) structure. The CAO structure is comprised of multi-sited, nationally-aligned communities of practice, known as competencies, to develop and sustain NAVAIR’s technical and business expertise.
“We’re at the deckplate level here [at NATEC] on a day-to-day basis, where the rubber meets the road. Getting back there [Patuxent River] to see the business climate, it’s much more of a team concept between the different offices than I imagined, and I liked learning the interplay between the competencies,” he said.
Josh Beers, NATEC 6.7 department head, said JLDP played a role in Tyler’s award selection.
“I believe this award from NATEC aligns with his completion of the leadership program and the ongoing, continued excellence of the work he does from a technical and an administrative and supervisory perspective,” Beers said. “This award demonstrates he has the potential to do whatever he wants to do.”
For Tyler, the JLDP is another tool in his toolbox. And, as both a field supervisor and a technical expert, he needs a lot of tools to get the job done.
Tyler works alongside Navy Sailors and Marines in the field and deploys with naval aviation units fleet-wide. Specifically, Tyler provides intermediate level support for ALQ-99 Electronic Countermeasures Systems and the Consolidated Automated Support Systems test stations for EA-6B and EA-18G aircraft.
“He has two very important roles. For him to be able to do both effectively, without showing any degradation in his capability or capacity to support both of those efforts, is really a testament to his motivation and determination,” Beers said.
Tyler said his most challenging, but rewarding, position was serving as the supervisor of the USS Independence/CAG-5 Navy Civilian Technical Specialist Team from 1992 to 1997 while stationed in Yokosuka, Japan. There, he learned the benefit of working as a team, independently at sea, making decisions and having the support and reach-back to make those decisions — skills he still uses today.
The importance of giving back
In his spare time, Tyler has volunteered with the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Lions Club International.
“Working in a technical field, it is often challenging to build the leadership skills necessary to qualify for supervisor and management positions,” he said. “Volunteer organizations are a great place to develop those skills.”
Tyler cited many benefits to helping the community, including the opportunity to take on leadership roles, learning to organize and lead projects and working as a team to accomplish a common goal.
“The challenge of organizing and motivating volunteers provides a unique balance of mission accomplishment, while still meeting the needs of the individual, and aids in developing a consensus building leadership style,” he said.
Tyler hopes to continue mentoring and advising more inexperienced employees and plans to apply to other leadership development programs, saying, “You have got to keep learning and growing.”
For Beers, Tyler’s award cements his status as a NAVAIR “superstar,” someone with extraordinary dedication who often goes above and beyond to get the job done.
“Those are the kind of folks we want as leaders in NAVAIR,” Beers said.
Find more information on NAVAIR's employee training programs.