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News | Sept. 3, 2020

San Joaquin’s Foster selected for the 2020 Blacks in Government Military Meritorious Service Award

By Annette Silva, DLA Distribution San Joaquin Public Affairs

Supervisory Management and Program Analyst Pearl Foster of Defense Logistics Agency San Joaquin, California, was awarded the 2020 Blacks in Government Military Meritorious Service award. Foster is currently serving as the Resource Management Group chief managing over 107 employees in the distribution center’s most diverse group with missions that impact day-to-day operations across the entire center.

According to the BIG website, this award honors military members and Defense Department civilian employees, who have supported the DoD mission, overseas contingency operations, or whose attributes best epitomized the qualities and core values of their respective military service or other DoD component. Foster was one of six awardees who received this prestigious award.

“Ms. Foster is one of our most talented senior leaders at Defense Logistics Agency Distribution San Joaquin, California, capable of successfully managing a myriad of demanding work centers simultaneously with seamless perfection, all the while weaving the concepts of fair and equitable treatment and diversity awareness in all her managerial duties,” said DLA Distribution San Joaquin deputy commander Jodie Johnson-Micks.

Although hired as the deputy chief, she filled in as the chief 100% of the time this past year while the incumbent was activated to active duty. Foster assumed the role full time and her group never missed a beat under her stellar leadership. Her keen abilities resulted in critical RMG support to mission accomplishment and was key to the center meeting or exceeding the strategic distribution center’s key performance metrics for the entire calendar year of 2019.

Foster’s role as the “resiliency champion” and her leadership for the culture climate survey efforts led to tremendous improvements in staffing across targeted areas. She led an outreach campaign targeting affinity groups to include veterans, organizations serving the deaf, individuals with cerebral palsy, and other Schedule A candidate pools, directly aligning hiring practices to affirmative action goals. In managing efforts that were key to staffing DLA Distribution San Joaquin, Foster demonstrated she could look beneath the surface and make decisions based on merit and always with the best of intent for fair and equitable treatment for all DLA Distribution San Joaquin employees.

Further, her 2019 staffing planning and efforts increased diversity across demographics, to include Schedule A employees and veterans. In total, she oversaw 70 hiring panels resulting in the on-boarding of over 100 new hires and 12 employee orientations. In addition, she managed promotions for almost 100 employees this past year, helping us build our bench strength internally. She also planned tailored training to help mentor and coach the leadership team of over 120 first-line supervisors to senior managers, on staffing, equal employment opportunity and labor relations at the monthly leadership forums.

Foster understands Warfighter first! Under her oversight, the Causative Research and Physical Inventory Teams processed denials for 3,437 materiel release orders and allocated denials for 314 MROs leading to a total of $2.4 million in savings and a fiscal year denial rate of .23% against a goal of .40%. A low denial rate represented a focus on material availability and was in support of DLA’s focus on Warfighter First and their mission readiness. Additionally, under her purview of the Causative and Physical Inventory Teams, the Incoming Supply Discrepancy reports saw a decrease in 2019, resulting in a .12% reportable rate against a goal of .25%.

Further, she served as the distribution center’s sole “super-user” for the DoD Performance Management Appraisal Program. She was key to meeting the headquarters’ mandated timelines for implementing new plans at the start of the season, meticulously tracking completion of mid-term performance appraisals, and ensuring everyone had a plan by the year end cut-off date. She managed this program for over 950 personnel, conducting employee and supervisor training as needed and enforcing compliance to EEO practices. Her knowledge and expertise in DPMAP management led to her designation as the DLA Distribution Headquarters alternate for all DPMAP related matters.

Always one to take care for the needs of the workforce, she expertly managed the annual health and education fairs. These annual events provided employees with valuable information regarding their choices for education services and health care providers, as well as affording the entire workforce an opportunity for free health care screenings. These events aimed to bring much needed services to the employees and cut back on time away from work required when employees sought them out personally. With everything she managed, she always enforced EEO tenets and inclusion for all.

Foster takes care of the distribution team. She coordinated with her team to implement health benefit training sessions during the open enrollment. Her team hosted sessions over eight days and provided time-sensitive training to 128 employees. Her efforts were key to the workforce understanding their benefits and ensuring they had much needed medical and insurance coverage. Most noteworthy, two of her staff members traveled to employee’s homes when they were not able to come to work and helped them complete the forms due to medical issues.

Foster served as the chairperson of the Stockton Full-Scale Wage Survey. She worked with the Human Resource’s Wage and Salary Division to coordinate with management and labor participation in the 2019 survey. This important wage survey garnered information from surrounding businesses that perform similar distribution missions and used the data to analyze our wage grade pay scale, ensuring our employees received comparable pay to their community counterparts.

She understands the importance of communication. Foster successfully led the digital signage project and was instrumental in obtaining 50 new monitors for this key communication upgrade. Although she was able to get this effort off the ground in 2018, she never stopped looking to improve upon this communication project. She worked tirelessly with Information Operations, local engineers, Distribution Headquarters staff and the contracted team to procure and install these new monitors in key performance areas. These new monitors allowed these areas to track their performance metrics, ensuing shipments met their required timelines. In addition, this entire initiative was key to improved communication for 1,300 employees across our installation.

Foster has a tremendous heart and makes a concerted effort to give back to the local community. She participated in the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign, donating toys for economically disadvantaged children. She also helped to raise funds to purchase 30 wreaths for the Wreaths Across America Organization, to lay wreaths on graves for veteran service members in the Tracy Cemetery. She donated turkeys and other food items to local food banks and provided holiday meals to families throughout San Joaquin County. Further, she continues to financially support the Breath of Life Outreach, a non-profit organization focused on feeding the homeless, providing food baskets during the holidays and adopting families for gifts at Christmas and school supplies for the school year.

Foster is a high performing leader who is dedicated to her staff, the distribution center, America’s warfighters and her community. She is recognized as a leader among leaders and was recently awarded DLA’s Global Distribution Excellence EEO Supervisor of the Year for 2019.

“Ms. Foster’s exceptional performance throughout this past year exemplified the essence of the Blacks in Government Meritorious Service and are in keeping with the highest standards of this prestigious award,” said Johnson-Micks. “She is a stellar role model and Team San Joaquin is honored to have such an exemplary candidate receive this prestigious recognition.”