News: Global athlete suits up for DCMA
Story by Thomas Perry
FORT LEE, Va. - Frank Sillmon was recently inducted into the Athletic Boosters Club Sports Hall of Fame for his high-scoring performances on the basketball court. He was previously inducted into the Alabama A&M University Hall of Fame for his hardwood accomplishments at the school.
Sillmon, a former conference, Finland and European League MVP, lived in Europe for eight years while he dribbled across the continent as a professional player, coach and mentor. And now, years after his final pro buzzer, a man used to living life with the ball in his hands, wanted to assist others.
“Because of my athletic scholarship and basketball career, I chose not to serve in the armed forces as a young man, so I am embracing the opportunity to serve my country as a (Defense Contract Management Agency) professional,” said Sillmon, a DCMA Huntsville quality assurance specialist Keystone. “I am really enjoying the DCMA professionals within the Huntsville (contract management office). The training is first-class, and I have been blessed to have a great Keystone coordinator in Edna Kostszycki and supervisors to assist me throughout the process.”
Nate Wilson, DCMA Huntsville North Alabama team supervisor, said like many elite athletes, Sillmon has an innate sense and need for constant improvement. Wilson believes Sillmon has now refocused that drive onto his agency assignments.
“Frank is first and foremost a team player, as one would expect, given his athletic background,” said Wilson. “He is extremely professional in his dealings with contractors, coworkers and customers. He sets an outstanding example of how DCMA employees should conduct themselves. Frank approaches his daily duties as if his team were down by three with 10 seconds left in the game.”
Sillmon’s desire to serve others and competitive nature to win — on the court and in life — originated from tragedy.
“After losing my mother to cancer at age 14, I decided to work at building a better life for myself,” said Sillmon, who was born in Talladega, Alabama. “As a young man, I didn’t know what that involved. My coaches helped me during that difficult time in my life. I have always been very grateful to those men and their wives. So, I decided as a young man that when I grew up, I would always try to give back to others who needed help. I think it is the best feeling in the world when you can be a blessing to others.”
As he grew, Sillmon’s on-court accolades blossomed. His first major recognition came in 1984 when he was named Alabama High School 1A Player of the Year and Alabama High School All-Star MVP. After graduating from Talladega County Central High School, he received a basketball scholarship to attend Alabama State University where he was named Southwestern Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year in 1985 and SWAC MVP in 1986.
Following two years at Alabama State, he transferred to Alabama A&M University. Due to the NCAA’s transfer eligibility policy, he was forced to sit out a year. Twelve months later, he was again in the spotlight. In 1987, Street and Smith Magazine named him a Small School First-Team All American. In 1988, Sillmon was named Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year. The next year, he was SIAC Co-MVP.
After college, Sillmon moved overseas and played professionally for eight years in Germany, Finland, France and Sweden. During that time, he earned three European League scoring titles and was named a Finland Basketball MVP and a European League MVP.
“People who haven’t met Frank might wrongly assume that given his background, he would be egotistical,” said Wilson. “This couldn’t be further from the truth. Frank does not boast about his accomplishments. I had to look him up on Wikipedia to find out how many athletic records he holds. Frank takes praise and criticism with the same humble attitude.”
After Sillmon retired from basketball, he began a career in law enforcement, which eventually led to a position in Afghanistan as a professional police advisor and mentor. Prior to leaving for Afghanistan, he applied to join DCMA through the Keystone 852 Program. Soon after returning home to Alabama, Sillmon received the phone call that would launch his DCMA career. His first agency supervisor, Donald Jones, CMO Huntsville lead quality assurance specialist, is glad Sillmon answered.
“Frank is comfortable demonstrating his leadership ability even though he is in a trainee role,” said Jones. “Frank always displays a positive attitude when shadowing his senior quality assurance team members during (on-the-job training). He almost always goes above and beyond his normal job activities to please his customers. He consistently takes the initiative when difficult obstacles arise and finds a solution quickly with little to no supervision.”
Sillmon said he always gave 110 percent on the basketball court and stayed focused on the task at hand. His next goal is to implement that discipline and energy within his agency career.
“My DCMA career has a very important role in the welfare of our most important customer — the warfighter,” said Sillmon. “I believe in the DCMA mission-statement philosophy. We must give our all to ensure delivery of quality products and services to the warfighter — on time and on cost."