RICHMOND, Va. –
The Frank B. Lotts Conference Center on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia has hosted its share of special events, i.e. retirement and promotion ceremonies, town halls, and various themed parties.
One particular event held there Dec. 20 had special meaning for close to 20 Defense Logistics Agency Pathways to Career Excellence (PaCE) Program participants. As mellow, festive holiday music flowed throughout the air, they talked, laughed, ate breakfast and shared experiences of what it’s been like in the program since August.
PaCE is a two-year training program designed to train entry-level employees for advancement in supply, technical quality, procurement and finance fields through on-the-job work assignments, cross-training, rotational assignments, and formal training. (e.g. classroom, distance learning, web-based training, conferences and seminars).
Antwan Jarrett is one of those just starting a career supporting the nations warfighters through the PaCE program. He’s assigned to the DLA Aviation’s Procurement Process Support Directorate’s Training Branch in training to be a contract specialist. He said the get together was very beneficial.
“It gave us an opportunity to let loose a little bit and enjoy each other’s company without thinking about work. It also gave us a time to build chemistry amongst one another while still having fun. It was a great event to end the year on a positive note.” Jarrett said.
Alicia Jackson, a supervisory procurement analyst/PaCEr supervisor within DLA Aviation’s Procurement Process Support Directorate’s Training Branch, organized the event.
“The idea behind the gathering was to allow each PaCEr the opportunity to network with each other and build lasting relationship that will carry them throughout their career at DLA,” Jackson said.
Jackson said she also wanted to create an opportunity for these new PaCErs to pick the brains of those who are also still in the program, but already going through foundational training.
There is where Andrew Kish comes in. He started in the PaCE program in December 2021 and is now training as a contract specialist in DLA Aviation’s Supplier Operations Original Equipment Manufacturer Directorate.
Kish was invited to address this new group of PaCErs about what they expect moving forward.
“It was an honor to be asked to speak with the PaCErs and share my experiences in the program so far. It was great to meet everyone and hear different perspectives about the program,” Kish said.
PaCErs also got a chance to hear from DLA Aviation’s Procurement Process Support Directorate Director Martha Tuck.
After the gathering wrapped up, Jarrett took time to reflect on his time in the program thus far.
“The biggest challenges I’ve experienced are learning how to navigate the various systems, understanding the plethora of acronyms, being courageous enough to speak up when I don’t understand something and just staying focused throughout the long training days,” Jarrett said.