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News | Jan. 7, 2022

Employee Spotlight: Steven Richards

DLA Aviation Public Affairs Office

Employee spotlight regularly features outstanding non-supervisory personnel from throughout the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation and other DLA employees on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia. Organizational directors may submit names of employees they wish to feature in this column to DLA Aviation Public Affairs. For more information, call (804) 279-3139. 

Name: Steven Richards

Organization: DLA Aviation at Ogden, Utah

Years of Service: Two years   

What is your job title and what do you do, specifically? I’m a sustainment specialist. Basically, I see myself as a "sustainment warrior” serving on the frontline of DLA’s warfighter readiness and lethality sustainment mission. I serve as a materiel point of contact for maintenance customers, effectively managing more than 1,000 national item identification numbers. I use DLA’s business management tools and input from Air Force and key planning personnel to develop material supportability action plans supporting scheduled/phased requirements. I also determine parts supportability across all sources of supply to sustain the Air Force’s F-16, A-10, C130, F-35 aircrafts and intercontinental ballistic missile depot overhaul and component repair missions. 

What do you like most about your job? I absolutely love everything about my job. I feel as I am one of the luckiest persons alive to have landed such a spectacularly rewarding job. Nothing comes close to being able to help the warfighter deliver express lethality right to the doorsteps of those wanting to bring harm to this great nation and all that it stands for. Even with all the things facing this great nation today, the United States is still a beacon of hope for those seeking freedom and a better way of life. Working for DLA Aviation at Ogden allows me to keep that beacon shining brightly for all to see and it just doesn’t get any better than that. HOORAH!

What is your fondest memory of working for DLA Aviation?  My fondest memory of DLA Aviation is the warm welcome I received when I visited DLA Aviation at Ogden while I was looking to re-enter the workforce after 10 years of being retired from the military. Leadership informed me that they were in the process of ramping up their workforce numbers and that they would love for me to be a part of their team at any level if I passed the vetting process. I applied for two positions and got accepted as a general schedule 11 and have never looked back.  Frankly, every day for the past two years has been a “best day ever” and each day going forward is only getting better and better. Like I said, I am the luckiest person in the world to have landed such an awesome job with the magnificent DLA Aviation team.   

What kind(s) of training and education helps your work performance in your current role?  As a lifelong logistician, I have never seen such a more robust acquisition training program as that provided by DLA Aviation. As such, I am ecstatic to say that I am now a “certified acquisition professional” who has completed Level 1 Life Cycle Logistics pursuant to the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act.  In addition to this, I have completed 101 Learning Management System courses and am now keenly informed and abreast of DLA latest policies and practices.

What aspect(s) of your current job gives you the most personal satisfaction and why? To come to work excited every day to support the warfighter in the best way. By ensuring that the ICBM program has all the required new and replacement parts it requires to meet its deterrent operational goals and objectives. As a bonus, I get to work with America’s brightest individuals, leading technologists and innovators, DLA Aviation at Ogden’s exceptional organizational and associated supply pipeline logisticians, inventory managers, product specialists, supply planners, technicians, and engineers in performance of sustainment activities. This is simply spectacular!   

If you could speak directly to the warfighters you support, what would you tell them? To the warfighters at home and abroad down range on the battlefield, I want you to know that I totally “got you. I got your back.” As a former Air Force enlisted member and officer, I know that each one of you are doing an exceptional job protecting the United States of America and our just cause wherever you are currently stationed.  I know that your commitment, motivation, and dedication to this cause is relentless and unwavering which makes it an honor for me to be a proud member of your highly skilled war-winning team. As such, I too, am fully committed to you and the success of your mission(s) and promise to continue to work my fingers to the bone both day and night to make sure that you, from a DLA Aviation perspective, are always ready and prepared to deliver intense and overwhelming war-wining lethality to the fight.  As any military operation commences and gets underway, having your back as a sustainment specialist for DLA, we both are obligated to ensure our adversaries know that there will be a hefty price to pay if we have to activate our “ultimate deterrent” ICBM weapon systems to save the day.  We got you!

What was your first job? I was 17-years old when I got my first job as a dishwasher at a very popular restaurant in my hometown of Augusta, Georgia.

What advice would you have given yourself 10 years ago?  The advice I would’ve given myself 10 years ago would’ve been to not take a 10-year plus hiatus after retiring from the military. With hindsight being 20-20, I should’ve joined the DLA Aviation family right away.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?  For me, the road ahead is crystal clear. I have found my calling with DLA Aviation at Ogden and know that this is where I will be in the next five years.  

What are some of your passions outside of work? I have a love and affinity for traveling and seeing the world in all of it glorious wonders. I feel as if  I am one of the luckiest persons in the world.  My military career took me to places like England, Iraq, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and many more. After I retired from the military, I took it upon myself to travel to Hong Kong, China, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana and Finland. Hopefully, Greece and Italy will be my next stops-only time will tell.    

If you had a theme song, what would it be and why? My theme song would be “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. This is a classic American song that is perhaps known around the world as the song itself somewhat personifies what and who we are and what we stand for as Americans. Just a few lyrics which says it best …“It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight rising up to the challenge of our rival.”  Wow! Need I say anymore!

If you could pick a personal motto, what would it be? First to the Fight” is my choice of a personal motto. This again says it all. To be able run to the fight takes courage and self-confidence in one’s ability and one’s support team to be able to “bring the pain, deliver the steel” when need be and to bring warmth and compassion to help those in need when called to do so. This is American. This is what we live for. This is what we do. It is never a good thing to bet against America!  This has been proven to be true time and time again!  Who wants to have us prove it again?  This is the ultimate question. One that I hope never to see answered.

Who is the most influential person in your life, past or present?  The person in question has to be my 6th grade teacher. I have you know that I am not ashamed to say that school, at that time for me, was a little bit challenging. I mean learning anything at that time wasn’t at the top of my list of things to be doing I must say.  My grades before her were abysmal at best (LOL).  However, there was something about her that took ahold of me because all of a sudden, under her tutelage my grades went from low C’s/D’s to high A’s/B’s.  Perhaps in some way, I could sense that she really cared. Whatever the case, from that point on it was nothing but straight A’s and high B’s for me until I finished my master’s in aeronautical science from Embrey Riddle Aeronautical University in the early 1990’s.  Shout out goes out to my former teacher and now reflecting, my ultimate mentor.  

Who is your favorite actor or actress and why?  Of course, being a former military enlisted member and officer, I must say that one of my favorite actors is George C. Scott. However, one can never have just one favorite actor. Anthony Quinn is another of my favorites. Bringing up the rear of my favorite actors, I must include Denzel Washington, Rebert De Niro, Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio, all of whom are brilliant, successful actors. I just love all their movies. 

What is your favorite military aircraft and why? My favorite aircraft is the Air Force F-22 Raptor.  When it comes to waging war, we must always be ready to outsmart, out-class and be able to defeat our adversaries. This is what the F-22 allows us to do.

If you could start your life over again, what would you do differently?  If I could start my life over again, I would not change a thing. I am extremely happy with my life now and in the past. Well heck, the bulk of my time on this earth consisted of serving this great nation as a military member and now as a civil servant working for DLA. Since I was 17 years old, all I have ever known is the unmistakable sound of freedom represented by the many Air Force aircraft I have provided logistical support. You see, I would not change anything because I simply love the sound of freedom!

What is your proudest accomplishment? My proudest accomplishment was becoming the first in my immediate and extended family to become a United States Air Force officer. I had the unique honor of leading, mentoring and growing the next generation of Air Force leaders, both enlisted and officers. I feel proud that I left the well being of this great national’s military institution in the finest hands.