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News | July 19, 2019

DLA Distribution Norfolk’s Deputy Commander retires from federal service

By Diana Dawa, DLA Distribution Public Affairs

Having served 41 years in the federal service, Denise Cordeiro-Bennett, deputy director, DLA Distribution Norfolk, Virginia, is retiring. 

Cordeiro-Bennett was recognized with an Exceptional Civilian Service Award; a Distinguished Career Service Award; a retirement plaque; and a retirement certificate; for her outstanding contributions to the Agency’s mission in support to the warfighter.

Her spouse, Steven Bennett, received the Spouse Retirement Certificate recognizing and honoring his dedication and support.

Throughout her career, Cordeiro-Bennett made significant contributions to agency-wide operations and the Department of Defense’s readiness. Beginning her career in 1978 as a data transcriber for the Navy, she quickly moved through a progression of logistics related positions, culminating as the deputy commander at DLA Distribution Norfolk.

Cordeiro-Bennett led successful efforts in support of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission, Navy Warehouse Transfer, absorbing the Navy Container Freight Station, acquiring retail support at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and attaining Occupational Safety and Health Administration Voluntary Protection Program Star Status. 

During her tenure with DLA, Cordeiro-Bennett has served as the inaugural deputy commander of DLA Distribution Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the inaugural commander, and then inaugural deputy commander of DLA Distribution Sigonella, Italy, and culminated her career as the deputy commander of DLA Distribution Norfolk, Virginia; providing support to the largest naval base in the world. 

Cordeiro-Bennett applied her many years of Navy and DLA leadership and her extensive knowledge of storage and distribution concepts, practices and principles to successfully establish a progressive vision and growth strategy for each of those organizations and ultimately led those organizations through uncharted territory to achieve unparalleled success in support of the warfighter. 

Cordeiro-Bennett’s proven performance in successfully transitioning as is-where is Navy distribution operations to successfully execute local and global support using DLA Distribution processes and practices is a true indicator of her leadership, customer focus and visionary abilities.

While leading the charge into new territory for DLA Distribution operations; both geographically and related to unique customer support and business opportunities, Cordeiro-Bennett has created a lasting legacy of accomplishments and success. 

Cordeiro-Bennett noted the biggest challenge throughout her tenure was maintaining a work-life balance.

“The biggest challenge has been to balance the finite number of hours in a day to somehow manage to pursue the great opportunities and interesting new initiatives that were constants at each of the distribution centers I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to work at, while still allowing for enough time to maintain healthy family relationships. Sometimes the choices between the two were difficult, so I am very grateful to have had extraordinary support from coworkers and family members, especially during the most stressful situations,” said Cordeiro-Bennett.
DLA Director, Army Lt. Gen. Darrell K. Williams, praised and congratulated Cordeiro-Bennett on her retirement in a “Gold Letter” presented to her during her retirement ceremony.

“As you begin this new phase in your life, you may take pride in the knowledge that you have earned, many times over, the respect and admiration of everyone who has had the joy of knowing and working with you. You will be missed by your supervisors, peers and many friends at DLA,” stated Williams, adding, “On behalf of everyone at the Agency, I thank you for your loyalty and devoted support of the Department of Defense mission. Retirement is not an ending, but a new beginning.” 

Cordeiro-Bennett shared the most rewarding and meaningful events of her career were those experiences when she prepared to leave each of the distribution centers. 

“Those “break points” became opportunities to reflect back on the accomplishments of each of the distribution centers in focusing on and providing enhanced support to the warfighter. And maybe even more importantly, it was a chance to reflect on the tremendous commitment and effort of the diverse, flexible and dedicated members of the workforce that made it all happen. It is always difficult to leave, especially when an organization is doing well, but knowing you can leave and that organization will continue to provide critical services with pride and commitment is a great feeling, and makes for wonderful memories.”