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New group providing new hires with networking, development opportunities

  • Published
  • By Bradley Hicks

New hires may often be unsure of who to turn to for help on a project, have questions about the structure of the organization they work for, or want more information on what they can do to help their company prosper.

A group was recently formed to provide new hires with the Test Operations and Sustainment contractor at Arnold Air Force Base, National Aerospace Solutions, and its subcontractors with an environment for quality networking, career development and stewardship.

That group, dubbed NextGen, kicked off with a general interest meeting on March 29. Future plans for the group and ways in which NextGen can bolster professional development among its members were discussed during the gathering.

Although open to all employed by NAS and its subcontractors, the target audience for NextGen is new employees, early career employees, recent graduates and those in their first five years at Arnold.

Tyler May, a modeling and simulation engineer who serves as president of the NextGen Board of Officers, spearheaded the establishment of the NextGen group.

“The goal of NextGen is to provide a place where new hires can network, get to know each other, and get familiar with everyone else’s roles on the base” May said. “Across the multi-disciplinary teams at AEDC, who you know is incredibly important. Therefore, good communication and a solid network to fall back on can be a significant asset. For example, if I need data from a specific tunnel or test, I should be able to call someone who I met at a NextGen function expecting that they will point me in the right direction.”

May, who has worked at Arnold since September 2017, said he was inspired to start NextGen after someone in his new hire training class commented that a similar group existed under a previous contractor but NAS did not have an organization dedicated to providing new hires with information and networking opportunities.

“I walked out of orientation thinking that I needed to get involved in some kind of initiative,” May said.

May worked with Laurie Winton, an engineering knowledge specialist, to bring NextGen to fruition. Late last summer, Winton sent an email looking for employees to serve on the NextGen Board of Officers. Since the group’s establishment, the NextGen officers have worked with the Office of the General Manager and others to get the organization off the ground.

Along with May, those serving on the NextGen Board of Officers are: Garrick Muncie, treasurer; Kassandra Brexel, networking chair; and Sara Rhoades, secretary.

An email was recently sent to all employees under the TOS contract to notify them of the formation of NextGen and to give those meeting the target group a chance to RSVP for the March 29 kickoff meeting. May said the response was very positive.

“We have received much more interest than we expected,” May said. “Almost every new hire that I’ve spoken to has expressed excitement over an organization like this.”

May said future NextGen events are already in the works and announcements will soon be forthcoming. He encouraged new employees to strongly consider giving the group a look.

“This is going to be the biggest chance new hires have to meet each other, network and participate in professional development in their upcoming time at NAS, and I would urge them to take advantage of this opportunity and to keep their eyes out for more announcements in the coming weeks,” he said.

For more information on NextGen, call 931-454-6511.