Joe David values determination, hands-off leadership and family

Joe David
Joe David, assistant product manager, GENM-O Europe (Credit: GENM-O)
Mission Area
Justin Creech, PAO, Global Enterprise Network Modernization - OCONUS
June 27, 2023

“You must want it mentally and you must show it physically, giving it your all.”

As an aspiring high school football player, Joe David received this advice from his father.

David used this advice to fuel a 23-year career in the United States Marine Corps as an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technician and officer, and his current role as an assistant product manager for the Global Enterprise Network Modernization – OCONUS (GENM-O) Europe team. GENM-O is part of PEO EIS’s Integrated Enterprise Network (IEN) portfolio.

For today’s #PEOEISTeammateTuesday, David answered questions about his life, career and working for PEO EIS.   

Tell us a bit about your career history.

I am a retired Marine with 23 years of active-duty service as an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technician and officer, five combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan combined, with experience in both special operations and conventional warfare spanning the globe. My last few years in uniform were spent in acquisition, managing the Marine Corps EOD portfolio, as well as the entire Ground Combat Element Science and Technology portfolio at the Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Virginia. After retiring from active duty, I worked as a contractor for Navy acquisitions out of Program Manager, Ships, Expeditionary Systems Underwater Division in Indian Head, Maryland before being hired into my current position as an assistant product manager (APM) with GENM-O Europe in Wiesbaden, Germany. Despite my Marine Corps and Navy roots, I conducted many combat operations with Army maneuver units as a Marine. Additionally, the Army taught me how to parachute — I’ll always be appreciative of that.

What does your organization do, and what is the impact of your mission on Soldiers?

My team helps optimize communications throughout the European area of responsibility. We do this via infrastructure modernization programs and new equipment and capability fielding. Essentially, we are managing information technology implementation throughout Europe for the Army. Currently, we are executing network modernization, technical control facility modernization and time division multiplexing decommissioning projects. However, our organization is always ready to pivot to implement and support Army programs when funded and prioritized. 

What is the best advice you received or gave? 

The best advice I received was from my father when I was trying out for the high school football team. He told me, “You have to really want it.” I was young and scrawny at the time. He added that you must want it mentally and show it physically, giving it your all. As a result, I made the team! Albeit as a benchwarmer. Ha! Of note, I have applied my father’s advice to everything I’ve done since then, both in the military and my private life.

Describe your leadership style. 

My leadership style involves providing an end state, but not prescribing the “how,” if that makes sense. The expressions “trust but verify” and “inspect what you expect’” are key leadership qualities I apply, but that doesn’t make it acceptable to be a micromanager. Respect is a two-way street, and that approach has served me well. I also get the team involved in the process, because it’s no longer an Army thing or a Joe David thing … it’s their thing too.

What does a good leader not do? 

Good leaders do not micromanage their employees, play games or cross the line into unprofessionalism — actively or passively. That type of leadership enables a hostile work environment.

Where did you grow up? 

I grew up in Illinois, rotating between Washington (near Peoria) and Joliet (Chicago suburb outskirts). My parents divorced early in my life, so I spent my childhood and teen years going back and forth between those two places.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? 

I enjoy a variety of activities, from spending time with my family to traveling, cooking, eating and laughing. I also enjoy working on my cars, helping around the house, supporting the kids with their activities and going on dates with my wife.

If you could have coffee with anyone in history or present day, who would it be? 

Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society and Ozzy Osbourne fame. The guy is a phenomenal musician — never writes a bad song or riff. Hanging out with him during a caffeine-fueled jam session would be tons of fun, loud and brutal.

Who inspires you? 

My wife and kids inspire me. They are all different, think differently, possess different skills, interests and abilities. I love being around them. Everything I do is for them.

Describe the PEO EIS culture. 

The culture at PEO EIS is great! Leadership at all levels gets involved because they care about their teams and the projects. They are supportive of their people, especially when we are dealing with personal issues, giving much flexibility to ensure personnel can take care of those issues while also coming up with flexible ways to keep projects and the mission on track.  Communication from the top throughout all levels at IEN and GENM-O, down to the most junior employee, is constant. Additionally, leadership development and career enhancement opportunities are always advertised, which shows the command is supportive of its people’s professional advancement. Working at PEO EIS has been a very positive experience for me, and I appreciate the opportunity the command has extended to me. 

What do you consider the most valuable virtue? 

Hard work. To me, putting in the work is an extremely valuable virtue.

How would you like to be remembered? 

I’d like to be remembered as a good person, a stand-up guy, great family man, a faithful believer and an asset that contributed to the improvement of this world. As a minimum, just spell my name correctly on the tombstone, please!



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