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News | Aug. 23, 2022

A conversation with DLA Hall of Fame’s newest inductee Kathryn Fantasia

By DLA Energy Public Affairs

Kathryn Fantasia, former head of direct delivery fuels for Defense Logistics Agency Energy, was inducted into the 2022 DLA Hall of Fame at the McNamara Headquarters Complex Aug. 17. 

In a short discussion, Fantasia shared some of her thoughts, memories, and appreciation from her 23-year career at DLA, which began in 1991 as a GS-3 with the Defense Fuel Supply Center and culminated as the director of DLA Energy’s Direct Delivery Fuels Directorate from April 2007 to her retirement in 2014. In addition, she was named the executive advisor to the commander in 2011. This position was the senior ranking GS-15 position among more than 20 GS-15s throughout the organization.

What does it mean to you to receive this honor?

It is very humbling to receive this honor. I think it does great credit to DLA Energy and in particular the folks in DDF. This is a team award and reflects the accomplishments of every team member. While some teams were working crisis mode to meet emerging requirements, the rest of the team picked up the slack to make sure no requirement was unmet. This teamwork allowed us to meet natural disaster fuel requirements as well as contingency ops around the world from drug interdiction in South America to Afghanistan/Iraq.

What is your best memory of your time working at DLA Energy?  

My best memory of my time working at DLA Energy has to be the people. No matter what the challenge, there was always a team of talented professional working together. That includes Legal Counsel, Policy, Inventory Managers, Quality Managers and Supplier/Customer Ops. One of my favorite memories involved hurricane disaster relief. We were working on Hurricane Katrina requirements, and it was all hands-on deck on the weekend. There must have 20-30 people working. Then, all of sudden, in walked Lee Manley with fried fish with all the fixings, and of course sweet tea. It was so heartwarming to have a fellow employee take care of us in such a special way. That personifies the best of DLA Energy.

What is the one thing you are most proud of from your career?

I am most proud of working my way up from a GS-3 clerk typist to the Director of DDF. I was a young mother re-entering the workforce and was afforded so much opportunity for growth throughout my career. And it was very satisfying to tap on the glass ceiling that has existed for so many years. One of my mentors, Ola Lee, when she retired commented that we had a long way to go in terms of breaking the glass ceiling. I was happy to follow in her footsteps and to see how many women at DLA Energy advanced into executive level positions. Gabby Earhardt, Pam Griffith, Kathleen Murphy all broke through the glass ceiling and Energy was a better place for it.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank?

There are too many people on my list to thank. Suffice it to say that I was mentored by some incredible folks at Energy, and I think they know who they are. I would like to give a shout out to our incredible partners, Navy Petroleum, Army Petroleum, and Air Force Petroleum. We worked hand in hand on a lot of requirements and I'm grateful for their partnership.

What advice or counsel would you give to the young and upcoming at Energy personnel?

My advice to up-and-coming personnel is stay curious. Take on the hard challenges nobody wants. Don't be afraid to fail. And always use your voice. It's diversity of thought and personnel that makes DLA Energy great.