A Homerun: The European Professional Development Institute (PDI).

Author:Daniels, Matthew

Guten Tog and Good Doy!

What is better than being able to serve your country overseas in Europe? How about attending an American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC) Rheinland-Pfalz and Stuttgart Chapters' Regional Professional Development Institute (PDI) on the Neckar River in the surreal city of Heidelberg, Germany! It was a truly unforgettable experience --full of information, financial management (FM) community updates, superb speakers, and best of all, meeting new people.

Although I've previously attended two National PDI events, this marks my first Regional PDI. Prior to attending, I wasn't even aware Regional PDIs existed. I always had the notion the National PDI was "THE ONE" to rule them all. I found out that is not the case. In only the second year of conducting a European PDI since sequestration, the planning committee knocked this event out of the park. The two day event, themed "Crossing the Bridge to the Future: Inspiring Excellence in DoD Financial Management," was attended by 230 financial managers, and presented a jam-packed schedule with speakers from Air Force, Army, Combatant Commands, Reserves, and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). As you can tell by the theme, the event covered a vast number of topics, and it did so in a unique way.

From the start, the event provided what I call "The Big 3" in professional development seminars; updates, tools, and opportunity. On the updates front, we received an informative congressional update from Maj John Forbes with the sound bite "it takes 218 (representatives)-60 (senators)-l (president) to pass a bill." Other updates included Army logistical sustainment in Europe, Air Force support in Africa, and the Army's optimization of their FM enterprise. My favorite update came from Mr. Thomas Murphy, who brilliantly used Route 66 and some music to explain why being auditable is so important to the department when operating in our technology driven environment. I cannot do his explanation justice, so you will have to ask him.

One of my goals is always to leave each day with a heavier toolbox. This event added many tools, which could have been the reason my car was scraping the ground on the way out of the parking garage. Several tools fell into the leadership category. We heard two DFAS leaders, Ms. Teresa McKay and Ms. Melissa Jacobs, provide tips for a successful career, insights to help cross the bridge to greatness, and the leadership fundamentals of a high...

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