FORT BELVOIR, Va. –
For her nearly 40 years of selfless service, people skills and trailblazing legacy, former chief of the Acquisition Workforce Development and Intern Center, Kathleen “Kate” Straub-Jones was inducted into the Defense Logistics Agency Energy Hall of Fame on the McNamara Headquarters Complex on Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Oct. 31.
Straub-Jones is fighting glioblastoma, an inoperable cancerous brain tumor diagnosed in 2018, and was unable to attend the Hall of Fame ceremony. Her son, Kent Straub-Jones, a current DLA Energy Supervisory Contract Specialist, stood in for his mother and accepted the commendation plaque.
Straub-Jones began her career as a GS-5 administrative assistant with what was formerly called the Defense Energy Support Center London in 1996. Prior to that, she spent 21 years in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a senior chief petty officer primarily responsible for personnel support. Straub-Jones went on to positions of greater responsibility within DLA Energy, becoming a contract officer, and finished her career as a GS-14, chief of the Acquisition Workforce Development and Intern, in 2014.
“Of all the great things she did in her career, Ms. Straub-Jones made her mark as a contract specialist,” said DLA Energy Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Jimmy Canlas. “In this role, she managed the complex negotiation and award process of numerous multi-million-dollar contracts in the Bulk Petroleum business unit.”
“Anyone who worked with Mrs. Kate Straub-Jones respected her acquisition expertise, trusted her innovative ideas, and valued her personnel management skills,” Canlas said.
One of her peers said she worked on a problem until she had a solution, whether it involved someone changing careers or providing fuel to the warfighter in an austere environment. “There was ‘no quit’ in Kate.”
Erin Ralph is the division chief of DLA Energy Bulk Petroleum Products. She was Straub-Jones’ supervisor for five years.
“I have so many fond memories of my friend and colleague, Kate. It’s hard to choose just one because I worked with Kate in several different positions and divisions over the year,” Ralph said. “One of my fondest memories was in 2009 when I was able to steal Kate away from the Policy Division in the Procurement Process Support Division to work together to stand up the DLA Energy Acquisition Workforce and Intern Center. Kate began to reference the change as ‘running away to join the circus’ and the phrase stuck. She was beyond thrilled to tap back into her personnel background gained in the U.S. Navy to bring in and develop new talent and generally, just help people.”
Ralph said she counts herself lucky to have had the opportunity to work with Straub-Jones over the years and to form a lifelong friendship with her.
“I imagine that I’m only one of many in DLA Energy and in her life that can say the same,” Ralph added. “She’s made a lasting impression and positive contribution to the workforce and has always put people first!”
According to her son, Straub-Jones’ greatest accomplishments was the mentoring and development of young Energy employees.
“My mom would say what she is most proud of is not the contracting accomplishments but seeing all the people who came in with minimal federal experience, seeing how far they have gone, and where they are today,” he said. “Her proudest accomplishment was not the contracts she wrote, nor the problems she solved. It was seeing the fresh-faced interns come in, learn their craft, and grow into professionals.”
Ralph echoed the observation.
“She played a vital in the program where she gave everything she had as a mentor, a surrogate mom, and a trusted advisor to so many new employees starting their careers with the agency,” Ralph said. “They looked to her for guidance, and she pulled no punches in her honest and sincere delivery! She is largely responsible for the advancement of so many of these former Interns that now hold supervisory and managerial roles within Energy today.”
Two other former DLA Energy employees were also inducted into the Class of 2022 Hall of Fame. Read more about them in this DLA news story or learn more about all of the inductees on the DLA Energy Hall of Fame webpage.