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News | Oct. 3, 2017

Cherry Point employee retires after more than 30 years with government

By Kimberly K. Fritz, DLA Aviation Public Affairs

Denise Champine has dedicated her life to the military and her nation and now she’s hanging up her hat, but not before imparting some valuable insight to those she leaves behind. 

She’s retiring after 30 years of federal service including stints as a Navy Apprentice Program aircraft mechanic graduate, a Navy material management director, supply and customer service positions with the Marine Corps and finally her position as the Planning and Support Division director at Defense Logistics Agency Aviation – Cherry Point, North Carolina. In the position she is retiring from, Champine has managed a diverse team of customer support managers, demand and material planners and sustainment specialists.

She said the team ensures the materials needed are available for their customer, Fleet Readiness Center East, to repair and overhaul engines and components to improve the ability of the warfighters to complete their missions.

“One of the elements I most like about my job is my team and the commitment they have to the mission,” Champine said. “I like to take any opportunity I can to enhance their understanding of where they fit in the big picture and how their daily efforts contribute to the warfighter.”

“One of the aspects of my current position that gives me the most personal satisfaction is our customer’s opinion of my team,” she said. “I receive positive feedback from our customers almost daily. Knowing we are delivering what they expect tells me that I’ve done the right thing somewhere along the way.”

If she could speak directly to the warfighter, Champine said she would like to say thank you, and she hopes the work her team does for them shows their service is appreciated.

Champine said the biggest impact on her as a manager was when she was selected and approved to attend the Advanced Management Program.

“It was more than I could have hoped for,” she said. “In my position it is obvious that any functional and administrative training are important to carry out the daily duties, but as a manager it was the Advanced Management Program that made all the difference.”

“Some aspects of the course were difficult as I was forced to look at myself and identify my shortfalls,” she said. “But, the instructors then helped me find the path to improvement. I feel I benefitted greatly from this experience.”

Mike Kennedy, DLA Aviation – Cherry Point deputy commander said, “Ms. Champine is the ultimate teammate and has always supported her customer [Fleet Readiness Center East] and her employees to the best of her ability.”

Perhaps, it was her first paying job that led to the stellar service she’s provided to the warfighter, Champine’s first job was working at the candy counter at the local movie theater.

“My father instilled in me a respect for others, manners and a good work ethic,” she said. “He always made me believe I could be anything I wanted. He was the most influential person in my life.”

For the advice she imparts on those of left behind, Champine said she makes choices that matter.

“I choose to be happy,” she said. “It’s the personal motto I live by. What has served me best over my career is choosing my battles wisely. Sometimes you have to compromise and save your energy for the battles that need to be fought.”

When asked what her proudest accomplishment is, it wasn’t her lifetime of service to her country she spoke about. Champine said it was the woman her daughter has become.

“She is an amazing adult, wife and mother,” she said. “I like to think I had a little influence in that.”  

As she heads to “greener pastures” Champine wants her team to know the positive impact they have on the warfighters’ abilities to defend our country every day.

“Keep the focus on the warfighter,” she said. “Understand and remember where you fit in the big picture.”

Champine retired Sept. 30, 2017.

Editor’s Note: This article was written using current and previous interviews with Denise Champine.