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News | Jan. 31, 2020

Black History Month spotlight: Ahmad Burse

By DLA Energy Public Affairs

Editor’s note: February is Black History Month and this year’s Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute theme is “Honoring the Past, Securing the Future.” Throughout the month, we will spotlight Defense Logistics Agency Energy employees who are honoring their history and making a difference through their accomplishments both in their workplace and community.

Describe your job: I’m currently the acting director for the DLA Energy Equal Employment Opportunity, Diversity & Inclusion Office. I have been with DLA Energy for 10 months. My role is to ensure employees are provided with the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential. I’m responsible for the DLA Energy EEO program consisting of EEO complaints management, disability program coordination and diversity & inclusion coordination. 

What makes you proud about your job? The opportunity to help people see things from a different perspective. I am also proud to join the DLA Energy team because opportunities for EEO professionals can be extremely competitive. Before joining DLA, I worked as an EEO manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Prior to that, I was an adjunct instructor at a North Carolina college. 

What was the biggest influence on your career? Looking back, I once had a toxic leader who treated me differently because of the way I looked. As much as I tried to conform, it just wasn’t enough. That experience planted seeds of fairness and dignity within me. I made a promise to myself I would never discriminate against someone or allow others to be unlawfully discriminated against. 

How do you honor your past? I have a loving family and great friends; I acknowledge and recognize the help I’ve had in every stage of my life. I have accomplished nothing on my own. My mother is one of the most influential people in my life. She showed me how to be strong. My father taught me the importance of self-respect. 

I’m standing on the shoulders of people who had lesser opportunities. I honor my past by helping others and being the best version of me that I can. 

How do you make a difference? I smile, acknowledge coworkers, and take the time to speak and truly listen to people. I have a passion for helping others. I’ve volunteered at local schools teaching children how technology impacts their lives, and I’ve assisted veterans in securing gainful employment through mock interviews and federal resume writing training. I like to help people and share my talents with others.

Do you have any family members that were pioneers in the civil rights movement? My mother was part of the Women’s Army Corps. In the late 1960’s, women served in these all female versions of the Army. These organizations mainly supported the medical field and my mother was a dental hygienist. These women were trailblazers because they were right beside their male counterparts in major battles such WWII, Korea and Vietnam.