Arthur Martin III – Road to Success

Public Affairs Office
Published Jan. 6, 2017
Arthur Martin III was one of only two individuals from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers notified of their selection to participate in the senior executive program at Harvard University.

Arthur Martin III was one of only two individuals from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers notified of their selection to participate in the senior executive program at Harvard University.

        “No one has yet climbed the ladder of success with their hands in their pockets.” Anonymous

Early in his youth, Arthur Martin III learned that success in life hinged on hard work, determination and a passion to reach for the stars.

Almost 30 years later, still reaching for the stars, he serves as deputy director, Installation Support and Programs Management Directorate, at the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville.

Late in November, Martin was one of only two individuals from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers notified of their selection to participate in the “very competitive” senior executive program at Harvard University.

Growing up in the coastal city of Mobile, Alabama, it’s a career opportunity, even he, though once the valedictorian of his alma mater, Williamson High School, could not have imagined. Something, Martin attributes to a solid foundation and upbringing in a blended family with three brothers and two sisters.

My parents and grandmother, as well as the Optimist Boys Club where I spent a good portion of my free time, played a huge role in that success, he said.

“My grandmother, the late Mary Posley, was one of my sources of inspiration,” he said. “She, along with my parents, valued education and made sure we all graduated high school and college. They wouldn’t allow any of us to strive for anything less."

At the Boys Club, Martin recognized individual leadership and developed his desire to be the best.

“The Boys Club pushed us to strive for excellence at all levels – home, school, sports, etc.,” he said. “There was no saying ‘I can’t’ at the club. We had to try and give our best.”

That mindset carried Martin to the University of Alabama, then a transfer to the University of South Alabama where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, followed with a Master of Business Administration from the University of North Alabama and a Master of Science with a focus in project management from New England College.

“I consider myself a life-long student,” he said. “I’m always looking for new and interesting ways to do that and I saw this (the Harvard Senior Executive Fellows Program) as an opportunity to further my leadership skills. The things that I’ve learned through raw experience as a division chief  and my dealings with various senior leaders in my current role as deputy director, as well as those academic opportunities that I’ve already had, made this a challenge that I wanted to try and conquer.”

According to Martin, the four-week program, which starts Jan. 15 and goes through Feb. 10, will immerse participants through a series of scenarios and leadership challenges at a national or strategic level.

Citing his previous experience with the senior civilian education system, he explained that courses like these often present participants with scenarios that Fortune 500 companies – for profit businesses – face with staffing, retention, economic factors, the evolution of the new millennial workforce, and the shift in the overall workforce dynamic – the number of people eligible to retire and losing the expertise that has accumulated over the past several decades.

“These are some of the problems government agencies face too,” he said. “These scenarios are designed to force us to collaborate; force us to look at problems outside our normal operational mindsets. It’s going to introduce us to the strategic decision-making process as well as help us think with a more strategic mindset as a practice of our everyday execution of duties process.”

Martin added that it’s a “strategic filter” and a new way of thinking that could benefit the Huntsville Center.

“As we consider the change in the workforce dynamic, we’re going to have to be open to new ways of approaching problems, new business line opportunities,” he added. “There has to be a way to sustain ourselves and consider managed growth that we may not have thought of yet. How do we approach that? How do we sustain what we have as we look to the future?”

Martin said that this new way of thinking, coupled with the knowledge and work experience he gained in federal service can help inspire younger generations.

“The bottom line is that I want to be of more value to the organization,” he said. “First and foremost you have to take care of home, and I want to apply those strategic principles here within the Huntsville Center. If at all possible, I intend to seek the opportunity to apply what I have learned at the senior executive service level with the goal of making this organization the best agency possible. I want to do my part in that endeavor.

“I want to take my leadership, my training and the knowledge gained over 30 years of federal service, and parlay it to a new generation of workers,” he said. “I’m young enough, energetic and willing to stay around long enough to do it. That’s my goal.”