BATTLE CREEK, Mich. –
After about 37 years of federal service, Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services Business Support Director Mark Aicher was honored for his years of selfless service and commitment to the warfighter,
during his retirement ceremony Dec. 16 at the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center, Battle Creek, Michigan.
“Mark has been a key leader in very critical, foundational things for this organization,” DLA Disposition Services Director Mike Cannon said. “The work that he has done with A-123 [Budget Circular A-123] audit and WMS [warehouse management system] are absolutely foundational in what you all will be doing for the next 10 to 15 years.”
Aicher’s federal career started long before his days with DLA Disposition Services.
Newly graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, he found it difficult finding a job related to his degree. His solution, commission in the U.S. Air Force.
He graduated as the distinguished graduate from Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas, and was a career logistics officer and a qualified joint staff officer. Aicher retired from the U.S. Air Force after 25 and a half years of service.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been over 12 years since I retired from the Air Force,” Aicher said. “I recall a conversation I had with a colonel down at Laughlin Air Force Base over lunch. I was a captain and I asked him how he knew when it was time to retire. His response, ‘you’ll just know.’ I thought his answer was pretty lame; but fast forward to 2010 and he was absolutely correct. I just knew it was time to go. Since I was truly ready to close that chapter in my life, I was happy to be retired.”
After his U.S. Air Force retirement, Aicher joined the DLA Disposition Services’ team as a J-53 division chief that oversaw the compliance program, risk management, and continuous process improvement and external audit process.
“When I was at DLA headquarters from 2002-2005, I worked in the Disposal Policy Office, so I got to know Disposition Services very well,” he said. “It was the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office back then. Since I was a career logistician, mainly on the front end of the business, it made sense to me to work on the back end of the logistical process - plus the job got Tracy [his wife] and I back to Michigan. Shortly after I arrived, the division took over audit readiness and I’ve been involved in the audit journey ever since.”
Aicher’s most notable accomplishments at DLA Disposition Services includes leading the effort in the Department of Defense’s 16th business cycle Excess to Disposal, oversaw the development, transition and implementation of the Office of Management and Budget Circular A-123, oversaw the Law Enforcement Support Office, and has been instrumental during the DLA Disposition Services new Warehouse Management System.
Friends and colleagues gathered in the Palm Garden Room to celebrate this milestone with Aicher.
“We had a great run and we’ve worked some cool issues,” Cannon said. “I appreciate your leadership; we are going to miss you. From the bottom of my heart, thanks for all you’ve done for the nation, in uniform and out, DLA , DLA Disposition Services and for me.”
Cannon presented Aicher with the Distinguished Career Service Award, a Silver Letter signed by DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Michelle Skubic, and a SES Letter signed by Cannon. Additionally, his wife, Tracy, and daughter, Andrea, were recognized for their unswerving support with bouquets of roses – one rose for every year Aicher served his country, both as an Airman and a DOD civilian.
During his remarks, Aicher praised the work and accomplishments executed by the workforce and how it contributed to his achievements at the organization.
“I just happened to have the honor and opportunity to be a head of that and to keep it between the lines, but you all did that, I didn’t do that,” he said. “All of the great accomplishments on the citations, there is no way that I can do that by myself, I needed all of you. I truly appreciate it.”
As parting advice to his team, he shared his four leadership philosophies with the group: be humble, listen to understand, don’t listen to respond, learn your job, and take care of your people.
“I want to thank you all,” Aicher concluded. “I’ve enjoyed working for DLA, both as a civilian and a military member.”
Post-retirement, Aicher and his wife plan on spending their time as ‘yoopers’ in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.