In her leading role at the Defense Information Systems Agency in Montgomery, Patricia Jones oversees a multitude of technology, tasks and data. Yet in the end, her job is all about people: the more than 600 personnel she works with and the countless warfighters her team serves.
Where are you originally from? I grew up in Foresthill, California.
How long have you been with DISA and how long as Director? 24 years. I became the Implementation Line of Business Chief and Data Center Montgomery Site Director in May 2019.
What is DISA’s mission? DISA has a huge mission to provide, operate and assure command and control and information-sharing capabilities in a globally accessible enterprise information infrastructure in direct support to joint warfighters, national level leaders and other mission and coalition partners across the full spectrum of military operations.
What all does your work in this role involve? I am dual-hatted. My primary role is as the Implementation Line of Business Chief, overseeing the onboarding and integration of all new workloads for DISA’s Ecosystem, a unified computing structure across several locations operating under a single command. I am also the Site Director for Data Center Montgomery, ensuring the overall welfare of the DISA personnel assigned to our site. We have nearly 600 civilian, military and contract personnel located here in Montgomery.
What role does DISA play in our nation’s military operations? DISA is the Department of Defense’s premier information technology provider and is committed to being the trusted provider to connect and protect the warfighter in cyberspace. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have never stopped working. The data center has been instrumental in providing critical support to ensure the DoD networks are telework-ready and capable to fully support the mission- critical duties performed by the department every day.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your work? I love being able to tie back what we do in information technology to supporting the warfighters. Sometimes in IT, it’s easy to lose focus and forget what it really means to keep servers, networks or circuits up and functional, but with DISA, there is a direct correlation to serving our warfighters. The second most rewarding portion of my job is the people. I love the people aspect of being a leader. DISA’s ethos is “Mission first, people always!” DISA has a huge mission that’s not always easy and not always understood. DISA is hiring more people in Montgomery, including those without a military or federal government background, and we need to invest in our local schools and universities. This will build a talent pipeline of skilled professionals who understand how their work directly supports the warfighter. We’ve partnered with staff at local schools and universities who now invite us to job fairs and we’ve been fortunate enough to hire some of their graduates.
I love that our Montgomery Data Center is in an area that supports our military and civil servants, knowing the challenging missions that are supported. I want to continue seeing the River Region flourish in ways that will allow my grandkids an opportunity to become productive and contributing citizens. To ensure that happens, we need to invest in our communities, whether that’s with the Chamber, our local AFCEA chapter, MGMWERX, Montgomery Information Technology Summit (MITS), Air Force Information Technology and Cyberpower (AFITC) Conference, or any other organization and event that is out there pushing the River Region forward to be a place people want to come, not just to visit, but to stay.
What’s your impression of Montgomery’s partnership with the local military, and why is a good relationship so essential? The River Region as a whole, and especially the Chamber, is an outstanding partner to the local military communities. When there are issues, they are there to assist in any way possible. It is clear how much the River Region values the bases, the employees who work on base, as well as the critical missions supported by Maxwell Air Force Base, Gunter Annex and Dannelly Field. Good relationships are critical to everyone’s success. We’re all intertwined in some way, and we are so much more impactful when we work together.
What are your interests and hobbies outside of work? My husband El and I love spending time with our family. We have a granddaughter in Montgomery and a grandson in Trussville. We also have three granddaughters in Tennessee. I love reading. El and I also enjoy donating to the Montgomery Area Food Bank, and we just started volunteering at the Montgomery Area Council on Aging (MACOA) Annual Culinary Caper to raise money in support of MACOA and Meals on Wheels.
Ready, Willing & Able
“During the ongoing COVID-19 efforts, DISA has been instrumental in supporting the Department of Defense with tools to support teleworking capabilities. DISA was able to rapidly identify key missions requiring onsite support, which allowed Data Center Montgomery to implement telework for the majority of our local staff, shrinking our footprint in our facilities during this time to minimize exposure and risk to our team. The fact that we have significantly reduced personnel onsite on any given day, given the critical missions supported out of Data Center Montgomery, is pretty incredible.”