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News | Feb. 24, 2021

Strudwick and Manuel exemplify decisive action and prioritization, making them DLA Aviation’s November Employees of the Month

By Natalie Skelton, DLA Aviation Public Affairs

You can’t just “wing” it when it comes to communication and planning. It takes decisive action and prioritization like DLA Aviation’s November Employee of the Month awardees exemplify.

Michelle Manuel, a customer support technician for the Air Force Customer Facing Division, Customer Operations Directorate, Defense Logistics Agency Aviation at Ogden on Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah, and Yolanda Strudwick, a sustainment specialist for the Planning and Support Division, Customer Operations Directorate, DLA Aviation at Warner Robins, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, were both named DLA Aviation Employee of the Month for November. 

Manuel was selected in the general schedule (GS) 1-9 category and Strudwick was recognized in the GS 10-13 category.

Manuel compiles data for use by seven customer support specialists for research and supporting maintenance activities against 27 A-10 Warthog and six C-130 Hercules aircraft assigned to the Ogden Depot Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul Program at Hill Air Force Base. 

“My main duty as a technician is to aid the customer support specialists in order to best serve our customers in all variants of the backorder process,” said Manuel. “I feel the most important part is remaining prioritized, maintaining an open line of communication and always keeping an eye out for process improvements.”

According to the nomination submitted by Manuel’s supervisor, Alfred Padayao, Material Management Section chief at Ogden, Manuel’s multitasked, proactive approach was achievable through methodical research of four thousand line-item requisitions totaling $22 million and focusing on materials failing automatic release to the backorder.

“Communication is the key to building and maintaining relationships between persons and organizations. Having diverse communication skills allow a transparent view between DLA and our customer to eliminate most questions,” Manuel said. “Having great communication also allows a comfortable environment to encourage asking clarifying questions when they arise.”

Manuel’s decisive actions directly contributed towards completing 10 emergency retail buy packages totaling $450,000 in surplus purchases against nine A-10 aircraft; preventing lost revenue of $14 thousand per aircraft per day; saving the Air Force $167 thousand in production costs while meeting stringent maintenance review team timelines.

Padayao’s nomination emphasizes her professionalism, stating her solid work ethics make her a true standout among her peers.

Manuel says when she heard she was awarded November’s EOM she was surprised, honored and very grateful.

“[Receiving the award] reminded me to step back and see the overall effects we have as a whole and to not forget DLA’s overall mission.” Manuel said.

Strudwick directly supports the F-15 aircraft wing parts requirements for the 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group and managed parts supportability requirements in one of the CMXG’s high visibility areas directly supporting the repair and overhaul of wings for F-15C, D and E model aircraft.

“I believe planning ahead and having a strategy for managing a workload is fundamental.  I plan each day by allotting a certain amount of time to clear emails from the afternoon before and addressing any tasks that need my immediate attention, after that I prioritize,” said Strudwick. “I always set forth a goal of what it is that I need to get accomplished for the day whether that be reviewing a certain number of national stock numbers, submitting surplus buy packages, or drilling down through each of my production control numbers.”

An example set forth in the Strudwick nomination submitted by supervisor Robert McCormick, Planning and Integration Branch chief at Warner Robins, described a non-availability of F-15 longerons , making the programmed depot maintenance line experience a strategic pause for nearly a year, which directly impacted the workflow in the wing shop.

According to the nomination, Strudwick’s keen understanding of the importance and health of the supply pipeline drove her determined pursuit of critically required repair parts to sustain the projected wing workload when operations returned to normal. Her planning actions included monitoring numerous wing shop demand patterns, the modification of multiple systemic driven material support levels changes, spearheaded eight separate procurement actions including the purchase of critically required surplus materials and the generation of several organic manufacturing packages.

“It is important to have a concrete plan of what needs to be done and how much time you should spend on a particular task instead of randomly going from one task to another or spending too much time on a task that is not as critical as another,” Strudwick said.

Strudwick’s actions for the month of November assisted in a 96% order response time for CMXG [89% for DLA Aviation] which greatly exceeded DLA’s monthly ORT goal of 90%. 

Her knowledge, tireless work ethic and dedication to mission ensured the F-15 PDM line at Robins Air Force Base was sustained in a timely manner.

The nomination submitted by McCormick emphasizes her continuous strive for logistics excellence, all-the-while maintaining a positive attitude despite the ever-changing demands for critically required wing parts.

When asked for advice concerning barriers faced, Strudwick said to realize that we cannot do it all and accomplish everything in a single day. She said that if you are doing your absolute best and giving the job 100% of your effort, everything will be ok.

“If we are truly dedicating ourselves to learning the job and not only just being good at it but striving to be great, we should take comfort in that and knowing we are doing the best we can,” she said.

Strudwick clearly sets the bar high for peers to emulate in providing superior supply sustainment to her maintenance customers.

About DLA Aviation Employee of the Month

Employee of the Month is awarded to DLA Aviation non-supervisory civilian employees. Two recipients are selected based on individual general schedule pay levels – one from GS 1-9 (Category 1) and one from GS 10-13 (Category 2). Recipients receive a coin, a certificate of achievement from the DLA Aviation deputy commander and a cash award.