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DLA News Archive

News | Feb. 20, 2024

R&D Black History Month Spotlight: Miesha Spann

By DLA Research & Development

Growing up in Oneonta, Ala., Defense Logistics Agency employee Miesha Spann developed a passion for logistics and service working in her parent’s restaurant, O’ So Good BBQ. Observing what it took to properly run a business prepared her for a career in the federal workforce.

“I learned how to manage both ‘hangry’ and happy customers, operations, and employees all before I turned 18,” she laughed.

Today, Spann utilizes those early skills as a program manager for DLA’s Information Operations Research and Development Technology Accelerator team. The team tackles complex logistics challenges across DLA by fostering collaboration among diverse stakeholders, providing innovative solutions, and launching prototypes. They host Innovation Navigator courses several times a year, providing opportunities for DLA employees to learn solution-based strategies, methodologies, and ideals to apply within their unique focus areas.

In 2019, Spann joined DLA Aviation as the Marine AV-8B Harrier Weapon System program manager. She previously held several acquisition positions in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program Office and the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command. She earned a master’s degree in logistics management from Florida Institute of Technology and is a graduate of the Excellence in Government Fellows Program.

“Ms. Spann is an outcome-driven professional and high performing collaborator,” said James Johnson, DLA’s acting program executive officer. “Her talent for bringing together the right team of professionals around a problem set or capability need makes her one of J6s’ rising stars.”

Spann attributes her success to remaining open, agile, and collaborative, and she encourages those seeking federal career opportunities to do the same.

“Only 18% of the federal workforce is African American,” Spann said. “The Biden administration has prioritized diversifying the federal workforce, so there are many opportunities out there. I advise those with a desire to serve as a civilian to be optimistic and persistent. Get out there and network, and most importantly, keep applying! With consistency, it will eventually pay off.”

Reflecting on the importance of diversity, Spann has always felt a deep connection to African American history growing up near Birmingham, Ala. and its iconic civil rights sites and institutions. She believes to build a more inclusive nation we all need to understand our collective history.

Given her family’s long history in the restaurant industry, it’s no surprise that soul food is her favorite aspect of African American culture.

“Cooking runs deep in our family,” she explained. “For many years, my grandma owned the first black establishment in our town called The Big S Café. There’s something special about the fellowship around food.”

Spann has come a long way from small town Alabama, but she’s kept those early lessons close. Her career has been one amazing, yet unexpected, opportunity after another.

“I had no idea what I was getting into when I came to R&D, there is no one way to describe what the Technology Accelerator team does,” she said. “We are truly innovating and learning as we go.”

To learn more about the Technology Accelerator Team, please visit their website here.