Battle Creek, Mich –
Mahlon May is a current member of DLA Disposition Services Pathways to Career Excellence Program Group 42. May is currently in his first year of the program at DLA Disposition Services Headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan, but he will be going to Ft. Hood, Texas, for his second year.
Why did you first apply to the PaCE Program?
I think I first applied for the PaCE Program when Group 38 started and then again in 2021. Now I’m here.
What was your position before coming to the PaCE Program, if any? Before coming to the program I was an MEI (Materials Examiner and Identifier) in Kuwait.
What has been your favorite parts of the PaCE Program? Traveling, I’ve loved being able to visit different sites and learn from others.
Do you have a favorite memory from your time in the program? So far, it’s been playing mini golf with my fellow PaCERs in Tucson and our introduction to Tucson style chili dogs, but I’m sure more good times are coming.
If there was one thing that could’ve been different for you in the PaCE program, what would it be? I feel things happened as they should, being in the program forced me out of my comfort zone and I better for it.
What would you say is the most important quality to succeed in the PaCE program? Attitude. Open yourself up and be willing to learn and be flexible you will have a lot to learn and unlike a traditional job you wont have a specific role that you consistently do and are able to become good at, you will find yourself working on a lot of things some you may have no experience with but that’s where attitude and flexibility become crucial.
In your own words, how would you describe the PaCE program, and what can you gain from it? The program for me was eye opening, coming from a field environment and then to HQ was a big change but it gave me an overview of how our agency works from top to bottom. What you can gain from the program is knowledge and connections. No one in this agency has all the answers, but someone has the one you need. For me, the program showed me how to go about finding the answers and the importance of networking.
What background do you have - did you have a lot of DLA experience, or were a recent grad, or did you come from another field? My background ranges. I’ve done a lot of jobs in my life from customer service, sous chef, to construction. I have almost 5 years working for DLA.
Where are you assigned to next year? Where was it one of you top choices on your list? Next year I will be heading to Ft. Hood, Texas. It was number 1 on my list due to being close to San Antonio where my family is located.
What your plans for your future within the agency? Do you hope to have a specific pathway/career field? Or a certain GS level? My plans remain the same, keep moving forward and doing the best job I can. I love working for DLA I’m looking forward to being back in the field and eventually I wouldn’t mind being an area manager and putting forth some of the leadership skills I learned along the way from people like Andy Lopez, Robert O’Hagan, and Jen Norvey.
Editorial Note: The Pathways to Career Excellence Program for DLA Disposition Services is a two-year program that takes PaCERs through all of Disposition Services and its processes to learn as much as possible about the directorate. The first year takes place at DLA Disposition Services Headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan, and the second year either takes place in Battle Creek for Contracting PaCERs or at an assigned field site for Property Disposal PaCERs. PaCERs begin as general schedule 7s, move to GS-9s at the end of their first year, and graduate the program as GS-11s. There are multiple pathways to becoming a PaCER, including being hired internally, as a recent graduate, or from military service.