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NEWS | Jan. 25, 2024

311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) civilian symposium 2024

By Capt. William Stroud 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)

Civilians assigned to the 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) conducted the first Civilian Symposium at the George W. Dunaway Army Reserve Center in Sloan, Nevada, Jan. 16-17, 2024.

Chaired by the 311th ESC Command Executive Officer Shadonika L. Crawford, the Civilian Symposium was themed UNITE, EMPOWER, IMPACT: A Future of Strength and Readiness. Civilians from the 650th and 653rd Regional Support Group and 304th Sustainment Brigade were in attendance. The symposium is designed to educate the 311th ESC Army Reserve Civilians on the vast assortment of complex benefits, work-life programs, dynamic professional development programs, and leadership opportunities that play a critical role national defense and support of our Army, its soldiers, and their families.

The event welcomed the 79th Theater Sustainment Command, Command Executive Officer Ricky E. Simms Sr., who provided opening remarks on the importance of being cooperative teammates invested in supporting command initiatives and Soldier welfare.

“This is going to be an exciting 12 hours. I strongly advocate suggesting...make it a dialogue. You have a lot of smart people in the room. You'll get out of it what you put into it. So, I challenge you to make it count,” said Simms.

Simms focused on how the Army civilian workforce, underscored the command’s commitment to professional development by providing information and discussion on topics ranging from labor management and employee relations to equal opportunity and building strong workplace culture.

Attendees also received opening comments from the 311th ESC, Chief of Staff and Deputy Commanding Officer, Col. David G. Nowicki, spoke on the Four Pillars of our Army (enlisted Soldiers, officers, workforce, and families) and readiness.

“You will be doing yourself and your formations a disservice if you don't establish a relationship with your counterparts at the brigades or other sites. One of the best parts of why we are doing this in person, is so we can meet our counterparts, maybe establish a little bit of reform and share ideas back and forth. This is our deliberate attempt to rekindle those relationships and rekindle those ideas,” stated Nowicki.

He went on to conduct an in-depth question and answer forum to address his team’s concerns throughout their footprints.

Nowicki said, “My goal in life, is to connect a problem with a worker or an action officer, someone that can attempt to address it or solve it. The last thing a command wants you to do is suffer in silence. Yes, we have battle buddies. Yes, we have echelons and chains of command. But at the end of the day, if there is a legitimate concern that you or your information are facing. Don't hesitate to raise your hand and ask for help.”

He concluded his time with a focus on awards for civilian service time. The awards are given in five and 10-year increments. Awardee recognition ranged for 10 to 30 years of federal service. In addition, several civilians received retirement awards for their service to the nation.

The symposium went on to feature ten sessions reintroducing team members with the Army’s mission, vision, values, and the profession and Civilian Corps. Among the topics covered included the employee benefits program, career talent management, command policies, performance management, and individual development and planning.

At the conclusion of the event, Mrs. Crawford shared words of encouragement with her teammates as they return home and their tasks ahead.

“What we have accomplished this week, will translate to positive results in the days ahead,” said Crawford. “You are the continuity and the way makers for our Soldiers and executing the commander’s vision. We have an amazing team and together, we can accomplish anything we set out to do.”

The symposium was a success, and every civilian employee possessed the valuable information needed to understand employment, job expectations, benefits, and gained the knowledge, skills, and understanding of key relationships and functions that assist commanders, and personnel to achieve the Army Reserve Mission.