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News | Nov. 29, 2022

DLA Installation Management fall off-site strengthens trust, teamwork, leadership

By Dawn Bonsell, Public Affairs Officer DLA Distribution Public Affairs

Focused on “trust and inspire” leadership, the 2022 Defense Logistics Agency Installation Management fall off-site meeting was hosted by DLA Installation Management Susquehanna in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, Nov. 2-3. The event featured guest speakers, breakout sessions and a tour of the Eastern Distribution Center.

Navy Vice Adm. Keith L. Lippert, retired, kicked off the meeting discussing lessons learns during the five years he served as DLA Director. Lippert recounted a few surprises during his tenure, including the purchase of a large amount of wheat and vegetarian packaged field rations to help feed the citizens of Afghanistan during the war. He also remembers the five-year journey to launch the vendor shipment module, a web-based system that improves cargo movement from DLA vendors to customers while providing in-transit visibility. A commitment from leadership and buy-in from the entire organization, not just the information technology team, led to a successful VSM launch. Lippert closed his presentation with a comment reflecting his admiration.

Man at podium addresses a crowd.
Navy Vice Adm. Keith L. Lippert, retired, kicked off the Defense Logistics Agency Installation Management off-site meeting Nov. 2, 2022, discussing lessons learns during the five years he served as DLA Director.
Man at podium addresses a crowd.
DLA Installation Management fall off-site strengthens trust, teamwork, leadership
Navy Vice Adm. Keith L. Lippert, retired, kicked off the Defense Logistics Agency Installation Management off-site meeting Nov. 2, 2022, discussing lessons learns during the five years he served as DLA Director.
Photo By: Diana Dawa
VIRIN: 221102-D-WD427-1031

“You’re a great organization. Don’t ever forget it,” said Lippert.

Following break-out sessions focused on authorities, concept of support, energy resilience and metrics, the group toured the Easter Distribution Center, where they saw the modernization efforts slated to improve efficiencies in moving material to the warfighter.

A rousing professional development presentation rounded out the second day, as DLA Chief of Staff Eric Smith led the group through a discussion on the “tough and lonely business” of being a leader and his personal leadership philosophy, “Always choose the hard right over the easy wrong.”

“The easy thing to do is look the other way — the right decision isn’t popular,” said Smith.

Man with microphone presents to a crowd in an auditorium
Defense Logistics Agency Chief of Staff Eric Smith led the DLA Installation Management team through a discussion on the “tough and lonely business” of being a leader and his personal leadership philosophy, during the Installation Management team off-site in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, Nov. 3, 2022.
Man with microphone presents to a crowd in an auditorium
DLA Installation Management fall off-site strengthens trust, teamwork, leadership
Defense Logistics Agency Chief of Staff Eric Smith led the DLA Installation Management team through a discussion on the “tough and lonely business” of being a leader and his personal leadership philosophy, during the Installation Management team off-site in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, Nov. 3, 2022.
Photo By: Dawn Bonsell
VIRIN: 221103-D-KL823-1110

He explained that a well-functioning leader that understands their values, beliefs and limitations, is like a well-functioning boat that emits a smooth wake. In contrast, a poorly functioning boat creates a wake that impacts everyone to the shoreline.

Smith described trust as the glue that binds leaders. Building trust is developed by being vulnerable, empathetic, loyal, following through and collaborating. To inspire employees, he suggested leading by example, treating people with respect, transparency and straight talk.

The off-site concluded with the transfer of “The Bird,” an iconic symbol of the DLA installation host for the next off-site meeting. Rob Montefour, DLA Installation Management Susquehanna site director Rob Montefour, passed the award to David Gibson, DLA Installation Management Richmond site director, signifying the passing of meeting host responsibilities for the spring 2023 off-site.

Man hands another man an award
Defense Logistics Agency Installation Management Susquehanna Site Director, Rob Montefour, left, passes “The Bird” award to David Gibson, DLA Installation Management Richmond site director, Nov. 3, 2022. The passing of the bird between DLA installation site directors, signifies the passing of meeting host responsibilities throughout the agency.
Man hands another man an award
DLA Installation Management fall off-site strengthens trust, teamwork, leadership
Defense Logistics Agency Installation Management Susquehanna Site Director, Rob Montefour, left, passes “The Bird” award to David Gibson, DLA Installation Management Richmond site director, Nov. 3, 2022. The passing of the bird between DLA installation site directors, signifies the passing of meeting host responsibilities throughout the agency.
Photo By: Dawn Bonsell
VIRIN: 221103-D-KL823-1137