FORT BELVOIR, Va. –
More than 300 Defense Logistics Agency Energy employees and their families gathered for a day of food, fun and friendly competition at Fort Hunt Park, Virginia, May 17.
The luau-themed Spring Festival included a catered barbecue lunch, DJ and cornhole competition.
“It’s been a while since we’ve all gotten together,” DLA Energy Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Jimmy Canlas told the crowded pavilion. “Thank you for coming out, socializing and spending the afternoon with me and your colleagues.”
During festival planning, Canlas challenged directors to prepare a song for a lip synch contest. Nine leadership teams battled it out to win the “golden microphone.” Songs included “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen, “Love Shack” by the B-52s, “The Banana Boat Song (Day O)” by Goombay Dance Band, “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey and more.
The three-person DLA Energy Europe & Africa leadership team won the competition with Céline Dion’s “It's All Coming Back to Me Now.” Props included a wind effect using a leaf blowing machine, an empty plastic gas can as a microphone and exploding confetti cannons.
Robert Simms, deputy director for DLA Energy Europe & Africa, was part of the winning team. Stationed in Kaiserslautern, Germany, Simms is in the area for a weeklong series of senior leadership meetings and planning.
“Events like this are important because they bring people together in a way that is different than the office environment,” Simms said. “It’s nice to focus on fun culture-building events rather than operations.”
After a lunch of brisket and barbecue pork and chicken with all the fixings, the cornhole competition kicked off. Sixteen teams from across the DLA Energy enterprise filled the bracket.
The final game featured team “Corndogs” against “Utility Services.” The Corndogs – Ethan and Josh, the sons of Kevin Epstein with DLA Energy International Agreements – took on Paul Churchill and Mark Palombo of the Utility Services Team. After a strong game with a final score of 21-15, Utility Services took the win.
“Paul and I had a good feeling about our chances this year. We knew it would be tight, but we kept our heads in the game,” Palombo said, joking that they watched film from last year's championship to prepare.
While winning the cornhole competition was his highlight, Palombo said the lip synch contest was the most enjoyable.
“As we saw in the talent show, some people's work persona is very different than their luau persona,” he said. “It's important for us to see those different sides of our colleagues because those connections can make future engagements more personal and productive.”
Rich Jaekel, DLA Energy Demand Planning Division chief, said it was great to get out of the office with everybody.
“It’s enjoyable to see people bring their families and kids,” he said. “We were so isolated for the past few years. Before the pandemic, I knew about 80% of the people I worked with. But when we came back to work, people had retired or moved on. So, it’s nice to see some of the newer people and meet them out here.”
Kendra Childs joined DLA Energy Finance four months ago.
“I wanted to come and meet new people,” she said. “I heard the past events were really fun and a good chance to hang out with coworkers and meet the people you usually only talk to through email or Teams.”
In addition to the annual Spring Festival, DLA Energy also holds a holiday party in December.