In mid-February 2019, more than 265 resource management professionals from organizations across Redstone Arsenal (Huntsville, AL) and the southeastern region went indoors to participate in the American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC) Redstone-Huntsville Chapter’s Mini Professional Development Institute (PDI). The Mini PDI serves to provide the comptroller community with quality educational, training, and professional development programs, along with the opportunity to network with the resource management community. The chapter’s largest annual event includes speakers from across the DoD comptroller community.

Chapter President Jeff Bacon kicked off the day with a brief welcome, including a sincere thank you to the Mini PDI committee members and chapter volunteers. Following the opening remarks, Bacon handed over the microphone to MorganFranklin Consulting Director Todd Johnston, who spoke about financial management challenges the Army faces as the DoD continues on the path toward auditability.  Johnston highlighted various complexities across the Army’s operating environment as key audit impediments, including:

  • Nuanced differences across command- and PEO-level operations that make the standardization of business processes difficult
  • Complex migration from numerous static legacy systems to the Army’s integrated ERP environment
  • Stakeholders from across the Army (HQ, Command, PEO, Installation) interpreting financial improvement and audit readiness (FIAR) guidance differently.

Johnston also discussed MorganFranklin Consulting’s capabilities in supporting HQ, command, and PEOs as they navigate FIAR initiatives to remediate audit impediments.

William Roberts, a member of the senior executive service from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management and Comptroller (OASA(FM&C)) then briefed the audience on the Army’s current position from an audit readiness perspective and highlighted what resource and financial managers can do to help keep the Army on the path towards full financial statement auditability. Harry Hobbs, vice president for employee engagement at Huntsville Utilities, took to the stage and started his segment by having all attendees stand up and dance to “Backstreet’s Back” from the Backstreet Boys, in celebration of his presenting at the Mini PDI for the second time in as many years. Following the dance party, Hobbs lectured on managing across generational gaps.

After all attendees returned from lunch break, Joan Gray, vice president and administrator of Stand Down Together Huntsville gave a brief presentation detailing the charity’s mission in helping provide necessities for the homeless veterans of North Alabama. Mini PDI attendees showed their appreciation through monetary and non-monetary donations throughout the event. Next, longtime ASMC member Debbie O’Neal presented the Redstone-Huntsville Chapter’s Member of the Quarter award to Tina Hinze, who works as a program analyst with the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and serves on the Chapter’s Mini PDI Committee.

Lance Raymond, deputy comptroller at MDA, officially started the afternoon session with his insightful lecture on emotional intelligence and how it pertains to DoD financial managers. Laura Avery, SES, who is currently serving as the assistant deputy chief of staff for resource management at the U.S Army Materiel Command (AMC), then presented the AMC’s current posture and the topics of modernization and reform in relation to the AMC. Connor Owens, director for finance and accounting at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Huntsville Support Center in Huntsville, presented on audit readiness, challenges, and strategies for success in relation to the U.S. Army and the USACE. Concluding the speaker lineup, Dale Smith, director for resource management at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) took the microphone talked about the possibilities within command, focusing on professional, organizational, and technical possibilities, along with the methods through which to achieve the possibilities.

Other sponsors contributing to the event included Thompson Gray Incorporated, Guidehouse, Vintun LLC, TekSouth, American Benefits Exchange, Kearney & Company, Spry Methods, Canvas Incorporated, and Blake Willson Group.