April 23, 2013 -- By Jim Katzaman, MCSC Corporate Communications
Michelle Cresswell-Atkinson took the Senior Executive Service oath April 18 to officially become the newest Marine Corps Systems Command member of the SES. The ceremony in Harry Lee Hall at Quantico, Va., capped the latest milestone of her career that began as a receptionist in private industry.
Those origins showed Cresswell-Atkinson’s skills in customer service, which have served her well through the years, according to Brig. Gen. Frank Kelley. The MCSC commander selected Cresswell-Atkinson to be deputy commander for resource management with the inherent SES appointment.
“It was a tremendous honor and one of the most important things I will do in the command,” Kelley said about Cresswell-Atkinson’s selection. “It was an incredibly competitive field of candidates. I can’t tell you how proud I am that Michelle gets to start her SES career with the Marine Corps.”
The Senior Executive Service was established by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. The SES was created to be a cadre of executives with shared values, a broad perspective of government and possession of solid executive skills.
Preceding her SES appointment, Cresswell-Atkinson served as the MCSC director of financial management and deputy comptroller. She also served as the director of business and financial management for the Joint Program Executive Office Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle Program. She was also the MCSC strategic financial manager for the Ground Transportation and Engineer Systems Product Group.
As deputy commander for resource management, Cresswell-Atkinson is responsible for leading the command’s human resource management, financial management and comptroller activities in support of Marine Corps acquisition programs. She also serves as the competency director for the command’s financial, resource management and operations communities.
“After almost 25 years of my career, I’m the person I am today because of all of you,” Cresswell-Atkinson said to her family, and Marine Corps and Navy colleagues after taking the SES oath. “I can barely believe I’ve been with Systems Command for almost 10 years.”
She also recalled how the photo of an MRAP blown up was seared in her mind and made her dedicated to the program and serving Marines.
“MRAP was the ultimate example of how what you do today makes a difference tomorrow,” Cresswell-Atkinson said. “The MRAP program taught me leadership and management, and I learned a lot from that.”
Looking out to the audience and her family, the new appointee said, “I don’t know what I did to deserve such happiness. I’m thankful to all of you for sharing this experience with me and for all the other years of experiences.”
Cresswell-Atkinson is a certified Level III acquisition professional in business financial management. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Ohio State University and is a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute’s Leadership Development Program.