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Picatinny Chapter focuses on workforce.

The Picatinny Chapter of Women In Defense is striving to increase opportunities for the workforce at Picatinny Arsenal, in Morris County, N.J. Picatinny is home of the U.S. Army Armaments Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC).

That decision set the tone for much of what the chapter has achieved on behalf of its members. The chapter even spelled it out in its bylaws, which stared that the chapter's objective was "to strive for the betterment of the workforce and local municipalities, as well as to provide community service."

The Picatinny chapter was established as the association's second regional unit on June 25, 2002, with 35 members. Its first president is Barbara Machak, from ARDEC.

Since its founding, the chapter has grown more than 100 members, many of whom are U.S. government employees at the arsenal. Offices represented include the ARDEC Program Executive Office Ammunition, Program Manager Soldier Weapons, PEO Ground Combat Systems, and Defense Contract Management Agency, Springfield.

The diverse membership includes small business entrepreneurs, senior managers from large corporations, engineers and administrative professionals. A number of corporations and academic institutions are also represented, such as: Alliant Techsystems, Baldini Resource Associates, Business Plus Corporation, Camber Corporation, General Dynamics, L-3 Communications, Magistro Associates, New Jersey Institute of Technology Defense Procurement Center, Robbins-Gioia LLC, STG Inc. and Wise Web Connections.

When the WID chapter was forming, leaders from the NDIA Picatinny Chapter provided guidance and financial support. Chapter Board Chairman John Amerspek and President Ralph Campoli were instrumental in fostering the WID chapter's development, Machak noted.

"The affiliation with 1 was a key factor in establishing the WID chapter," she said. "Through NDIA's support the chapter has continued to grow and been able to offer members a wide variety of programs."

At Picatinny, Machak said, "WID members share in the Army value of family, and that extends to the local industry partners and community. The members believe that reaching out to the local community to share pride in how we collectively support national security is important."

The chapter, for example, contributed to a "Rosie the Riveter" award ceremony held by the Women's Outreach Center of Morris County College. More than 60 women from the county who worked during World War II were recognized for their contributions. Many of them worked at Picatinny during the war. At the dinner held in their honor, each received a plaque acknowledging their contributions.

Last spring, the chapter held a major symposium on homeland defense. The two-day event, which was co-sponsored by the NDIA Picatinny Chapter and the Association for National Defense Emergency Resources, featured speakers from the office of Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J. and the arsenal. Moil than 100 attendees learned what is being done for Homeland Defense on the local, state and federal levels.

Chapter leaders requested and received permission from the arsenal's commander, Brig. Gen. Clay Newman, to operate as a private organization on post. Because the majority of chapter members work at Picatinny, most events are held at the arsenal.

The chapter also has collaborated with other local organizations host events. Teaming with the Picatinny Employee Assistance Office, for instance, the chapter held a Breast Cancer Awareness Day luncheon last fall and invited the 2002 Miss New Jersey, Alicia Renee Luciano, to address the audience of 65 people. In March, the Picatinny Arsenal Morale Welfare Center joined the chapter to sponsor the first Women's Professional Development training day in honor of Women's History Month. The keynote speaker was Betty Spence, president of the National Association for Female Executives.

The WID effort in which Machak takes the most pride is the mentoring program, she said, With the assistance of Patti Felth, of PM Close Combat Systems, this program has grown to include more than a dozen pairs of mentors, who have been aligned with proteges.

Every month, members hold a "lunch-n-learn session" with invited speakers to discuss professional development. "All who participate in the program are finding it helpful, and we expect membership to continue to grow," Machak said. "This is bur one way that WID Picatinny supports the membership and provides avenues for professional growth to junior women."

Chapter leaders plan to continue this date of activities. New programs will be added, such as the "Suits for Success" drive, in conjunction with a holiday gathering in December, and the Heart Association Luncheon in February. Learn more about the Picatinny Chapter by visiting http:/wid.ndia.org/chapters/picatinny.

WID's national organization continues to experience unprecedented growth, with membership now exceeding 700.

Individuals have expressed interest in forming chapters in San Diego and at the Communications and Electronics Command at Fort Monmouth, N.J. In such locations, government and industry align together to support national security. Janice M. Menker is president of Women In Defense.
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Title Annotation:women in defense: a national security organization
Author:Menker, Janice M.
Publication:National Defense
Date:Nov 1, 2003
Words:795
Previous Article:NDIA, Association of Former Intelligence Officers sign agreement to increase cooperation.
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