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News | Nov. 7, 2018

Kathryn Fantasia honored as fuel contracting expert

By Irene Smith DLA Energy Public Affairs

Kathryn Fantasia’s 23 years of fuel contracting expertise during times of war and humanitarian disasters earned her a place of honor in the 2018 Defense Logistics Agency Energy Hall of Fame.

The former director of DLA Energy Direct Delivery Fuels division, Fantasia began her career as a GS-3 at the Defense Fuel Supply Center (DLA Energy’s predecessor organization) learning the fuel business from the ground up.

“Kathryn was as a role model,” said DLA Energy Supplier Operations Director Gabby Earhardt. “I’ve known her my entire career. Her dedication to the warfighter and unwavering devotion to make Energy better was evident through development of the workforce.”

Fantasia was noted for her exceptional management of fuel acquisition and distribution network support during Operation Enduring Freedom. When disruption of distribution networks occurred in Afghanistan and Iraq, Fantasia found alternate supply chain routes to keep the fuel flowing for the warfighter. When transition occurred in Iraq from the military services to the State Department, her innovation and supply expertise ensured uninterrupted fuel service continued.

Fantasia’s ability to rapidly execute fuel contracts following natural disasters was instrumental to DLA Energy’s mission success, her nomination noted. When an 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, Fantasia’s leadership and contracting acumen assured a steady supply of fuel to those in need. She also spearheaded efforts to contract fuel support services when an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck Japan.

John Bartenhagen, a 2016 inaugural DLA Energy Hall of Fame inductee, praised Fantasia’s fuel contracting support.

“Kathryn was my deputy for a number of years,” Bartenhagen said. “She was just fantastic. Smart and level-headed, she could always figure out how to make things work and that is something very important in the acquisition of fuel in emergency situations.”

Fantasia’s legacy of contracting expertise and experience helped shape the DLA Energy acquisition workforce. She instilled in her staff a deep understanding of contracting goals and fiduciary responsibilities, which are pivotal to the success of a federal agency.

Her contributions at DLA Energy continually became more significant and important as she worked her way up through the ranks. In 2011, Fantasia was selected to be the DLA Energy commander’s executive advisor based on her leadership skills, ability to comprehend high-level concepts, interpret and synthesize requirements and deliver fuel to DLA Energy customers, Earhardt said. This position was the senior-ranking GS-15 position among more than 20 GS-15s throughout the organization.

“Kathryn’s talent was her ability to be innovative,” said Dave Peterson, DLA Energy Direct Delivery Fuels director. “She always met customers’ demands and always found a way or an alternative solution.”

The same was true for supporting domestic emergency fuel requirements caused by the devastations from both Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. Fantasia’s leadership in response to Hurricane Sandy by providing heating oil, diesel fuel and gasoline to support emergency personnel, emergency services, first responders and households in dire need of heating oil was critical to the relief effort of the Northeast, Earhardt wrote in the nomination.

Fantasia’s efforts along with DLA Energy’s support were recognized by the White House, three state governors and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, mainly because of her leadership efforts and accomplishments according to Fantasia’s nomination package.

“She was always out on the floor talking to people,” Peterson said. “She had an open door policy and never turned anyone away.”

To no surprise, many of the people currently holding leadership positions within DLA Energy were Fantasia’s former employees.

“It was important for her to develop the next leaders,” Earhardt said.

The DLA Energy Hall of Fame, and its inductees, represents 76 years of history, which stretches back to World War II.

“In this year’s ceremony, we recognize four individuals who guided DLA Energy through four challenging decades beginning in the late 1970s through 2014,” said DLA Energy Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Albert Miller. “They represent history and centuries’ worth of experience … their legacy will positively influence DLA Energy for a far greater span of time.”

Energy’s Hall of Fame was established in 2016 to honor and preserve the memory of past associates for their exceptional leadership, service, dedication to duty, and contributions in supplying fuel to the warfighter.