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News | Oct. 21, 2021

Walking in the DLA Energy Commander’s steps

By Irene Smith DLA Energy Public Affairs

For four days in early October, Procurement Analyst Darren Dunham shadowed an Air Force one-star general attending high level meetings and watching senior Defense Logistics Agency leaders make influential decisions.

Dunham, a GS-14 within the DLA Energy Directorate of Supplier Operations, applied for the DLA Energy Shadow Program and requested the opportunity to shadow the DLA Energy Commander Brig. Gen. Jimmy Canlas.

“I applied for the shadow program to gain a better perspective of the operations and strategic decision-making at the highest leadership level,” Dunham said. “I wanted to see how the Commander collaborates and communicates within our organization and with other DLA MSC’s, J-codes, military services, and the DoD Joint Staff.”

Dunham attended several meetings with the Commander, watching him engage with DLA Energy stakeholders and seeing firsthand how his inputs leverage strategic decisions.

“It was absolutely amazing to see how well the Commander’s front office and the Strategic Communications Group work together to ensure that he is armed and prepared to go from engagement to engagement and lead our military support command without skipping a beat,” Dunham said. “It was also interesting to see our own employee inputs from within our own directorate and business units are utilized by the Commander in a meeting with a U.S. Senator.”

Employee development is an integral part of DLA Energy’s culture that strengthens the workforce and aligns directly with the DLA People and Cultural Strategic Plan. The DLA Energy Shadow Program allows selected GS 13-15 employees to choose the senior leader they want to shadow for professional development opportunities, networking, and a broader understanding of the whole of DLA Energy.

“People and culture are fundamental to our ability to address new challenges that threaten our global environment,” Canlas said. “Our most important asset as an organization is our people. We have a responsibility to provide the opportunities to allow them to grow and excel.”

Energy shadowing and mentorship programs are designed to provide individuals a “behind the scenes” look at the challenges, issues, and decision-making processes of senior leadership, said DLA Energy Training Officer Adrian Hines.

For business unit directors, the shadowing and mentorship programs offer opportunities for professional growth and development.

Erin Ralph is the director of DLA Energy Bulk Petroleum Products. In her position, she oversees the contracting support for the bulk petroleum supply chain, including worldwide military jet fuel and marine diesel fuel requirements

“Darren is in a unique position within the Bulk Petroleum Products Business Unit in which he frequently interacts with members of the team at every level and is in a position of leadership and trust,” Ralph said. “By taking advantage of this excellent opportunity, he broadens his skills and understanding of the rationale for strategic decisions within the military support command and is able to improve the Business Unit’s capability to adapt and support the warfighter while meeting leadership’s intent.”

As part of Dunham’s leadership development, he will provide a brief overview of his experience to Bulk Petroleum Products staff during an all-hands event next week, Ralph added.

Opportunities to shadow leaders are offered across the command throughout the year.

“I would highly recommend this shadow program with the Commander to anyone in DLA Energy who aspires to attain greater leadership responsibility within our organization,” Dunham said.

Employees interested in the Shadow Program can apply through the Strategic Communications Group (CAC required).