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News | Jan. 25, 2023

Employee Spotlight: Michael West

By By DLA Aviation Public Affairs Office

Name: Michael West

Organization: DLA Aviation Supplier Operations Commodities Directorate
Years of Service: 7.5 years

What is your job title and what do you do specifically? Post awards contracting officer. 

How do you support the warfighter? As a contracting officer, I am responsible for reviewing and addressing vendor requests pertaining to any issues within the awarded contract ranging from delivery schedule changes to routing technical issues to the proper authority to be answered.  The main objective of my job is to ensure materials are delivered in a timely manner to be available to the warfighter.

What do like most about your job and why? I get tremendous satisfaction from doing my job and knowing that I am a part of a dynamic team supporting the men and women stationed all over the world protecting freedom. It fills me with pride when I’m able to facilitate getting a part for an aircraft located in some remote part of the world that will ensure one’s ability to continue to fly. 

If you could speak directly to the warfighters you support, what would you tell them? I would tell the warfighters that I understand the sacrifices they are making. Missing certain milestones that many of us take for granted –the birth of a child, missing a baseball game or not being able to hold the hand or feel the embrace of their significant other. I get it!  I would look the women and men in the eyes and say from the bottom of my heart “I thank you for your service.”

What are your best practices for achieving goals or accomplishing tasks? First, I will say I am not a fan of multi-tasking. Regardless of how impressive it may sound during an interview. I believe it is a recipe for multiple errors and disaster. I have found that being able to prioritize works much better for me in achieving goals and tasks. My goals are clearly defined with checkpoints leading to a completion date. At each checkpoint I evaluate my progress or lack thereof and make the necessary adjustments leaving extending the completion date as a last result. This requirement forces me to be brutally honest and accountable to myself. Achieving goals at work is simple. Organize, have the necessary tools and eliminate unnecessary clutter. 

What is the most surprising/unexpected thing others don’t know about you? My wife and I married 83 days after we met. This was before internet dating.  My brother ED West, a former DLA Branch Chief worked with my now wife Sara Saunders. He asked her “why she wasn’t married,” and she said “if he’d introduce her to someone nice, maybe things would change.”  I’m amazed that she thought I was nice. The rest is history.   

If you had a theme song, what would it be and why? My theme song would be “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” by McFadden and Whitehead.  I find inspiration in the timeless message that nothing can hold me back. After having five back surgeries on my back, I have a spine made completely of titanium.  I’m good to go for the next 150 years.  Rocking chairs are for old folks. The sky is the limit and I believe I can fly.  At this juncture in my life, I am contemplating taking flying lessons since bungee jumping is out of the question…I trust aerodynamics more than I trust a giant rubber band.

What is your proudest accomplishment and why? Many of my accomplishments are a result of a group effort.  At a very young age, my parents nurtured me in the fear and admonition of God. That was the seed planted that has made me the man of faith that I am and continue growing into today.  My wife of 33 years and I have two sons.  I take great pride in seeing them grow to become upstanding productive members of society. One of my sons teaches Special Education and the other works in the Entertainment Industry. 

Have you ever been a mentor to a co-worker or other employee? If so, how did you help them grow? To whom much is given, much is required.  Since coming to DLA, there have been countless individuals who unselfishly gave of themselves, sharing knowledge, giving me direction, and coaching me to much of the success I have experienced. Many of them are still available to me today.  As a result, I have had the privilege to pay it forward.  Several people that I mentored and helped to train have been promoted and two are now GS-13s.