BATTLE CREEK, Mich. –
Michael Vaughn is currently participating in Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services’ Pathways to Career Excellence Program. He started the program in 2020 and is finishing his second year at Warner Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. Vaughn, like his fellow classmates, brings an interesting perspective to the program because they spent most of their first year working virtually during the pandemic.
In your own words, how would you describe the PaCE program, and what can you gain from it?
The PaCE Program is how the agency mold’s future leaders. You learn everything there is to know about the agency and participate in a variety of formal trainings. Throughout phase one, I attended high-level meetings and sporadically met with each directorate for a PaCE in-progress review. During these reviews, I would brief them about what I have learned from the program so far. I am challenged daily with different tasks and projects. The PaCE Program has helped me gain confidence in public speaking, knowledge of the agency and how it’s ran from top-down and understand my professional capabilities.
Why did you first apply to the PaCE Program? Was it your first position with DLA? (If not, how long have you been with DLA?)
I applied because I want to further my career and I researched what the program had to offer. During my research it led me to talking to the Program Manager to get some more perspective of the program. It sounded like something that I would be interested in and would challenge me to grow professionally.
What was your position before coming to the PaCE Program, if any?
I was a Material Identifier and Examiner in Alaska.
What have been your favorite parts of the PaCE Program?
My favorite part so far has been learning detailed information about the agency. I now have a wealth of knowledge and gained a different perspective of the agency, that an average, entry-level employee would not hold. The “Directorate Shadows” were amazing and I learned a lot about what goes into running DLA Disposition Services and how important teamwork is.
Do you have a favorite memory from your time in the program?
My favorite memory is when I was at Battle Creek, Michigan, for phase one and had the chance to shadow DLA Disposition Services Director Mike Cannon. I was surprised at how candid he was and learned so much during my time with him. Another favorite memory was during our last internal process review. It was interesting to see how far we came, as a group, from the first IPR - we were so nervous and overthinking it - to seasoned vets briefing as a team. It was a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.
What would you say is the most important quality to succeed in the PaCE program?
The most important quality to succeed in the PaCE program is flexibility. The ability to change directions and work on a different task at a moment’s notice is important.
What background do you have? Do you have a lot of DLA experience, or were a recent grad, or did you come from another field?
My background in DLA before I entered the program was as a Material Identifier and Examiner. I was in that position for almost two years.
Where are you currently placed? Where was it on your list?
I am currently placed in Warner Robins, Georgia. When I applied to the program, I listed this location as my first choice on my dream list.
What your plans for your future in the agency? Do you hope to have a specific pathway/career field?
I would like to move back to headquarters location in Battle Creek, Michigan, and work in the compliance department for a few years.
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.