Mike Ilko Graduates from the Sergeant’s Major Academy

Mike Ilko Graduates from the Sergeant's Major Academy

After two years of hard work, Mike Ilko celebrated his well-deserved graduation from the distinguished Sergeant’s Major Academy this past April. 

In August of 2022, Ilko began his journey through the Sergeant’s Major Academy program. The Sergeant Major Academy includes 18 months of rigorous distance learning and two weeks of resident course phase at the Sergeant’s Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas. This program serves to produce and develop apt and competent leaders for the military, and graduates are considered to be in the top 1% of the military, signifying the difficulty and prestige of this program.  

While of course Ilko wanted to join this program to become a more competent leader, he clarified, “First of all, I had to complete this program to keep my rank in the military.” All Sergeant Majors are required to complete the Sergeant’s Major Academy in order to keep their status in the military.  

When describing what the program was like for him, Ilko explained that it was a series of self-paced modules that soldiers were expected to complete and keep track of themselves. A large part of the program involved improving literary comprehension and structure through college writing. This was especially important since some soldiers in this program had never taken a college writing class. 

Ilko stated that there were some significant challenges to this course for him and other soldiers. “Time management is the key. Between managing home life, military outside of the program, work, and the program itself, keeping yourself balanced can be difficult,” he explained. However, through many late nights and long days, Ilko persevered through this accomplishment. 

Despite the challenges, Ilko emphasized that the program was beyond beneficial and definitely worth it. He admitted that, although the self-paced nature of the program was hard to keep up with at times, it allowed flexibility for busy soldiers and reminded Soldiers about accountability. 

Ilko agreed that he also developed many skills beyond time-management and accountability. One very important skill that he developed in this course was communication. “I am not a social butterfly,” Ilko remarked. “That course showed me that I need to open up a little bit, especially because many of my soldiers are Gen Z.” With those communication skills, Ilko in turn learned how to communicate with people that have differences in culture and generation, which is something that he believes that many leaders struggle with throughout their time. “Those are my soldiers, and I need to be able to communicate with them,” he said. 

When asked if he thought that his directory for the future would change because of this program, Ilko answered no. “This is pretty much where I am now until I retire,” he laughed. However, Ilko claimed that the leadership skills and habits that he developed through this distinguished program would follow him through the rest of his life. 

Besides this recent accomplishment, Ilko has been a part of the LIS team for 11 years and now holds the position of Survey Coordinator for LIS, serving as an integral part of the organization and coordination of projects for LIS. At LIS, Ilko works to schedule and delegate field crew for projects. Throughout his time at LIS, he has also balanced his military career, being a Command Sergeant Major. 

Tyler LaPointe Graduates Warrant Officer Candidate School in Top 20%

LaPointe after pinning

Tyler Lapointe Graduates warrant officer candidate school in top 20%

Tyler LaPointe, LSIT, survey technician, recently transitioned from Staff Sergeant (SSG) to Warrant Officer (WO1) with the Army National Guard. This transition occurred after LaPointe attended and completed the Warrant Officer Candidate School for five weeks in early 2024, having met numerous requirements including various physical challenges, as well as several academic assessments and interviews. His graduation ceremony was on February 14 at the Army Aviation Museum on the base of Fort Novosel in Alabama.  
“Attending the Warrant Officer Candidate School is an experience that I will not forget. This has set the foundation for the rest of my military career, and I look forward to where this development takes me in the future,” shared LaPointe.  
Now that LaPointe has graduated from the Warrant Officer Candidate School, he is eligible and plans to attend the Warrant Officer Basic Course (WOBC) for six months to become a 120A Construction Engineering Technician. LaPointe’s responsibilities of a Construction Engineering Technician (120A) will then include serving as the subject matter expert (SME) on construction operations, facilities management, and project management in a multifunctional capacity across various engineering operations from an Engineer Company through Army Service Component Command (ASCC) units. Along with this, Construction Engineering Technician provide commanders and staff with expert technical advice on the maintenance and repair of various infrastructures. 
“We are proud of Tyler’s hard work and dedication to his military obligations, career at our company, and industry as a whole,” commented LIS President Patrick Smith. “There is no doubt the leadership experience and hands on skills he has gained in this time with the Army National Guard has allowed him to grow tremendously.” 
This past January, LaPointe celebrated his 5-year employment anniversary at LIS. During this time, he has worked on a wide range of projects and acted as a mentor for new staff and interns. Additionally, LaPointe graduated in December of 2023 from East Tennessee State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Surveying and Mapping. 

Larry Smith Honored as Keynote Speaker at Local Veterans Day School Program

Larry Smith Honored as Keynote Speaker at Local Veterans Day Program

Larry Smith, Executive Vice President and cofounder of L.I. Smith & Associates (LIS) was invited to be the keynote speaker for the Veterans Day program at Dorothy and Noble Harrelson School on Friday, November 10th, 2023. 

Located just a few miles from the LIS headquarters in Puryear, TN, the Dorothy and Noble Harrelson School hosted a Veterans Day program that brought together 40 veterans, as well as their families and Harrelson School students. The program showcased several performances from various age groups of Harrelson students to honor the Veterans. These talents consisted of self-written poems, instrumental performances, and singing from Harrelson Chorus. 

During Smith’s keynote speech, he invited all of the veterans in the room to stand up for a moment of recognition for their service and sacrifice to our country. Smith went on to convey his experience of entering the Air Force at a young age and how his time in the service aided in his admiration for those in the military. After the ceremony, veterans and their families were invited to join the Harrelson students for a luncheon in the school cafeteria to honor all those who served our country. 

“It was an honor to speak to a group of Veterans from the different branches of the Military and experiences,” remarked Smith.  

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