Fort Belvoir, Va. –
Name: Linda Adams
Organization: DLA Information Operations Strategic IT Business Operations - Strategic Workforce Capabilities Division
Years of Service: 21 years (six years a contractor, and 15 years as a government employee).
What is your job title, and what do you do, specifically?
I am a management analyst and oversee the J6 DTS travel program for about 1,700 J6 travelers. I also serve as the alternate for the J6 travel card program.
My job is to keep travel documents flowing. This includes helping travelers with problems or answering questions, monitoring for funding line rejections, moving travelers into the right organizations, confirming travel orders and vouchers are approved, and ensuring documents finish processing. I’ve conducted Microsoft Teams demonstrations to show how to build a travel authorization.
DTS is affected by DOD’s auditability requirements. If a traveler receives a credit balance refund on their travel card, I research vouchers to find the source. I look at common areas of overpayment, confirm the proper receipts are provided, and ensure any changes that occurred during travel are posted correctly.
What is your background, including experience and credentials? How does your background help you be successful in your current role?
I served in the Army as a motor transport operator, which is a fancy way of saying truck driver. They discovered I could type and put me to work in the training room, managing the metrics. I deployed to Desert Storm in 1990 and later transferred to the White House Communications Agency.
After the Army, I was hired as a DLA contractor working on the Business Systems Modernization program, creating presentations that were seen by prominent DOD officials. VADM Lippert and RADM Archer, DLA Director and Vice Director respectively, frequently requested me for their presentations.
I became a government employee in 2007 and ran the J6 SES conference room video teleconferencing equipment. From there, I was assigned to J6’s travel program as auditability became a hot issue. I learned the rules for auditability originate from the IRS’ rules for small businesses. For example, why does the hotel receipt need to be itemized? Because you can also purchase snacks, toiletries, and movies from the hotel. How about a rental car? Did you know when you sign the rental car agreement, you’re agreeing to a contract? These aren’t always intuitive for people, so having this knowledge helps.
What aspect(s) of your current job gives you the most personal satisfaction? Why?
One of the neatest things happened when I was in the National Guard. We had just been issued the new berets. I started to put on the hat, and the label caught my eye. It had the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia logo (now DLA Troop Support). It was a moment of “Wow. I’m part of that.” Since I deployed to Desert Storm, I knew how important it was to be able to get a uniform or food.
What are some of your passions outside of work?
I’m a trustee for my family’s 139-year-old house. The house was built by my great-great-grandfather and is on the National and State Historical Registers. The interior of the house is in original condition, just the way my grandfather built it. The trustee work focuses on maintaining the house and historical legacy. One of the projects is restoring brocade wallpaper in the ladies sitting room. The customized weave is being done by a company in England that worked for Buckingham Palace!
I’m also a hybrid fiction writer, which means I self-publish and also publish in traditional sources. My first self-published book, “Soldier, Storyteller” was my Desert Storm memoir. It took 25 years to figure out how to tell the story. My first short story “Alien Pizza” was published in Kevin J. Anderson’s Monsters, Movies, and Mayhem, and received a rave review in Publisher’s Weekly—both are high honors. I won Silver Honorable Mention and Honorable Mention on nine other occasions in the Writers of the Future contest.
My fifth space opera in the GALCOM Universe Series, Space Dutchman, is in the publishing queue for a November 15, 2022, release. My next project is a mystery using my family’s historical house as a setting. What better place for a mystery?
What advice do you have for DLA employees?
If you’re traveling anywhere—not just for the government but for yourself—request a hard copy of the hotel receipt when you check out. Hotels are never good about getting their bills correct, and it’s gotten worse with COVID staffing shortages. Case in point - I went on a personal trip earlier this year. When I checked out, I asked for a printed copy of the receipt. They charged me $20 a day for parking, and I didn’t have a car. If I had discovered the problem later I would have spent hours on the phone to fix it.
What other self-initiated efforts have you worked on?
I helped test a bot to help track training compliance for our DTS Travel Program, which addressed an auditability challenge. J6 technicians first created a database in Microsoft Access to help. While we uploaded documents into the database, we tested the bot. The bot looked for training that was expiring and sent emails to travelers. It was neat to see the bot open an email, and then start filling in a pre-loaded message.
We followed up by closing travel cards for non-responses. By emailing everyone, we also received responses from employees saying they didn’t need their travel card anymore. We quickly went from red status every month to green. It was a huge win for the J6 travel program.