TATRC Deputy Director Sails Off Into the Sunset while New Deputy Takes the Helm
November 8, 2018 | Download PDF
After 2 years of serving as both Deputy Director and Acting Director of TATRC, along with a dedicated life of work in the federal sector, Mr. Timothy McCarthy has retired from Civilian Service. The TATRC Times sat down with Mr. McCarthy and new incoming Deputy Director, LTC (P) Jeremy Pamplin for a collegial chat about where TATRC has been and where it is headed.
TATRC Times: Mr. McCarthy, how would you describe your tenure here at TATRC, and specifically these last few months?
Tim McCarthy: Full...to say the least. [Laughter] And it’s been good, but I have to tell you too, that it’s a period of great growth for me. It’s been… I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve felt so completely absorbed by what’s going on. Learning the business of TATRC and understanding where the organization had been before 2014 and where it is now, along with the transformation that it went through, I think were really significant and enlightening.
TATRC Times: How so?
Tim McCarthy: The transformation from being essentially an extra-mural management activity (in 2014) to intramural research was a huge change and adjustment for TATRC. I think that the organization has evolved tremendously even from that during the last two and a half years that I have been here, because we now have two capability area managers designated with POM funding to do much earlier research than ever before; and so we’re now in the position of actually steering the research and looking for venues to explore some of the areas that we think we need for the future. Some of this stuff is not born yet and I think that’s a very, very exciting place to be.
TATRC Times: So you touched on that in 2014, TATRC nearly ceased to exist. Funding down to zero, losing the congressional special interest grants. What good do you think came out of that 2014 transition through all the pain, through all the re-structuring?
Tim McCarthy: I think we had to learn to be a very responsive and agile organization and I think even now, as we take a look at TATRC, the way the labs were designated back in 2014, is becoming a little bit obsolete. It’s become a great deal more of a matrixed organization than it was before. I see for example, medical modeling, simulation and visualization underpinning a great deal of what both capability area managers for virtual health and robotic and autonomous systems are doing. I think that the future model may end up being more about putting together tiger teams, as the work progresses. We don’t know yet. That concept has been tossed around and we don’t know how it’s going to end up because we continue to evolve as the tasks and technology continues to evolve.
TATRC Times: As the new Deputy Director, do you feel that those changes have positioned TATRC favorably for the future?
LTC (P) Jeremy Pamplin: I don’t think I could really answer that question any better than Tim already has in a lot of ways. TATRC is, I don’t know if I can say uniquely positioned, but very well positioned to take advantage of not only its past history, I think -- I mean it’s not just coming into its own now. It’s come into its own at least three or four, maybe five other times in its past, and when I have tried to look at how that has occurred, it’s largely the resetting of technology innovations. You know, so when technologies advance to a certain tipping point, they tend to become adopted and TATRC seems to kind of re-organize at that point because it’s no longer needed to take advantage and research and develop the thing that’s now being used by everybody. So in a lot of ways, we’re at that point in time now, especially with the virtual health revolution that’s going on across the military health system. The challenge is how do we take advantage of the current status of technology and apply that to gaining future ground. That requires vision.
TATRC Times: This is interesting … So TATRC must evolve beyond our own branding?
LTC (P) Jeremy Pamplin: I think the telemedicine component is exceedingly key. It’s an infrastructure piece that we need to move to the next level, because without the adoption of telemedicine and in particular the data transfer, we cannot make the next evolution of medical care which is autonomous systems.
TATRC Times: Mr. McCarthy, where would you like to see TATRC in five years?
Tim McCarthy: First of all, I think that with the entire DoD medical community in re-organization mode that I see TATRC being recognized as the DoD’s innovation center for technology, tri-service recognition formally as a lab, as its own entity, the aggregation of responsibility for all of DoD operational and institutional technology advancement, the sorts of things that LTC (P) Pamplin has been talking about in terms of decision support systems, autonomy and certainly serving the sort of battlefield that we ourselves are being challenged to support in the future.
TATRC Times: Thank you very much for your guidance and leadership, both as Deputy Director for TATRC and for stepping in and serving as the Acting Director. So what now, sir? What sunset are you sailing off in?
LTC (P) Jeremy Pamplin: [Laughter] I heard something about a boat!
Tim McCarthy: Yeah, well my bucket list is huge. [Laughter] There are a lot of things that I haven’t done yet in this young life of mine, that have been neglected and one of them has to do with the fact that I am of an age where my parents are in need of my support, and are depending on me a bit more than they have in the past. I’m looking forward to spending time on my boat. My sailboat is certainly neglected. And I have lots of projects at home that have been put off for years and some exciting travel that has been put on the back burner. So I am looking forward to having more time than anything else. It’s time that’s important to me.
TATRC Times: Well, just from a professional career perspective, Mr. McCarthy your time is coming to an end. Dr. Pamplin, yours is just starting. What are you going to do? Where do you want to get started first? What are your plans?
LTC (P) Jeremy Pamplin: Well I think the first step is to express my appreciation and say thank you more than anything else. I’m appreciative of Mr. McCarthy who has helped lay down the foundation of the success that TATRC has today. Sir, Thank you so much for your leadership and helping me get started here. Everybody in the organization is exceedingly grateful to you. For me, the first thing that I really need to do is spend time with our Director, COL Adam. I need to get together with everybody and talk with people and understand what their concerns and issues are; because the position that I had before was a collaborative effort, but now I’m in a servant role. One I’m very much looking forward to stepping into.
TATRC Times: Thank you both for your time, and Mr. McCarthy... Fair winds and following seas, sir!
This article was published in the November 2018 issue of the TATRC Times.