BATTLE CREEK, Mich. –
Brandon Awkerman is in his second year of the Pathways to Career Excellence Program and is currently located at Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services Headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan. He is in the Contracting PaCE Program, so he will not be placed at a field site location during or after his participation in the PaCE Program. Brandon’s group had a unique experience in the program as they were in their first year of the program when the pandemic began.
In your own words, how would you describe the PaCE program, and what can you gain from it?
The PaCE program is an opportunity to learn about the entire organization, rather than just one specific directorate, and how each branch and directorate impacts one another and DLA Disposition Service’s mission to support the Warfighter. It is an opportunity to learn new skills and knowledge to become a well-rounded, resourceful employee.
Why did you first apply to the PaCE Program? Was it your first position with DLA?
I applied to the PaCE program because it was recommended to me by several co-workers, and it was the only available path for me to pursue a career as a contract specialist. It was not my first position with DLA, but I had only been with DLA for one year.
What was your position before coming to the PaCE Program, if any?
Before being accepted into the PaCE Program I worked as a Procurement Tech in the Operations Contracting Division. Prior to that I was a Route Sales Representative and Warehouse Specialist at Frito Lay in Battle Creek.
What have been your favorite parts of the PaCE Program?
Lots. Meeting new people and networking has been awesome, learning how all the branches and directorates support DLA Disposition Services’ overall mission, and shadowing Mr. Cannon, the director of DLA Disposition Services, and the division directors was a major highlight and was very enlightening to the daily challenges our organization faces.
If there was one thing that could’ve been different for you in the PaCE program, what would it be?
Simple answer for this one, no COVID. COVID impacted our travel and in-person training.
What would you say is the most important quality to succeed in the PaCE program?
A willingness to learn and the drive to want to be better and improve yourself each and every day.
Where are you assigned to next year? Where was it on your list?
I will be assigned to Battle Creek, Michigan, as a contract specialist. This was not a surprise to me as I knew this was the only location available.
What’s your plans for your future in the agency?
I hope to be involved in supervision and hold some kind of leadership role. I hope to spend several years in contracting, but am open to trying something new in the future to learn and impact another area of the organization.
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.