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News | Aug. 12, 2015

Six-month rotation, DLA Energy’s pipeline to success

By Elizabeth Stoeckmann DLA Energy Public Affairs

This is the first article in a series of DLA Energy workforce development opportunities.

She worked in direct delivery for ten years, now she’s working on one of the commander’s top strategic initiatives.

Gladys White is the first DLA Energy employee to kick start the Defense Logistics Agency Energy’s Rotation Program. For the next six months she is setting aside her administrative role in DLA Energy Direct Delivery Fuels and learning about becoming a project management analyst for the Defense Fuel Support Point Management’s Sustainment, Restoration and Modernization division.

“When I saw the vacancy opportunity I thought oh gosh, this might be some of what I’m doing, but I can learn more,” White said. “I view it as an opportunity for career growth.”

During the six months, White will remain assigned to her parent organization while she’s fully emerged into the host organization’s rotational assignment. Upon the six-month completion, she will return to her parent organization.

“I hope to add value to the organization as well as enhance my professional career growth and strengthen job skills.”

Within just a couple of weeks, White says she’s already mastering the ins-and-outs of her new assignment in the SRM division and is very excited about the program.

This is an exciting time for the SRM division,” said SRM Army Branch Chief Jim Tyrrell, White’s supervisor and mentor for the rotation period. “We are expanding in manpower and mission.”

“The division saw the opportunity to participate in the program, filled out the forms, put out the request and Gladys applied,” Tyrrell said.

As White’s host supervisor, Tyrrell said he is excited with the idea of the rotation program that provides an opportunity to showcase SRM, in what he calls “a niche business” within DLA Energy.

He said the rotational employee will know enough about the business after six months to talk about the unique mission and issues related to fuels infrastructure and facility maintenance repairs. This not only empowers the employee, but brings awareness of the division’s capabilities and the commander’s initiatives.

“It’s good to have people with a strong contracting, acquisition background come into the DLA Energy SRM division because they are integral to project management, and we only have to teach them the unique aspects of petroleum, oil and lubricants facilities maintenance and construction,” Tyrrell added.

This is a new program so there isn’t a formal work plan for the rotational employee, Tyrrell explained.

His team is combining project management prerequisites in the DLA Learning Management System with guidance from an experienced project manager to train and integrate White with the SRM system requirements, teams and program managers.

In the meantime, Program Analyst and Master Planning Branch Chief Debra Simpson will oversee the day-to-day tasks of White during the six-month program. She intends for White to not only see what a project manager does, but how her overall role impacts the SRM metrics that are provided to DLA Energy’s senior leaders monthly.

Simpson’s way-ahead plan for White includes Enterprise Business Systems access and training. It also includes learning about Army and Air Force recurring maintenance programs through the tracking of recurring service orders. Also, she will be attending SRM related meetings, tracking and updating SRM data for monthly management review and working with project managers to assist in their projects and tank inspections.

“I see this as a win-win situation for the employee and the business operation,” said Simpson.

The program requires a complete evaluation of the rotation period by both the employee and the host supervisor.

Simpson said they will complete an after-action report and use this first-time opportunity as a directional stepping stone for future rotations.

“Since we are out front, we would like human resources to listen to our after-action comments, so we can make this program a little more robust with formal training and established requirements for a good six-month training program for the employee and the organization.”

Tyrrell can’t say enough about the program.

“We are excited to have Gladys on board and certainly expect to have a lot of exciting things happen in the next six months,” he said.

DLA Energy has many rotational opportunities available such as a Utility Services assignment in the engineering field. Also, Procurement Process Support Directorate and Direct Delivery are working on a development assignment.

Additionally, fifty-six potential developmental assignments have been posted for the Fiscal Year 2016 DLA Enterprise Rotation Program. Enterprise assignments are cross-organizational, at the GS-11 through GS-15 level, and range in length from three to 12 months. Assignments are available at several locations throughout the agency and begin in January 2016, or shortly thereafter. Travel and per diem for enterprise rotations is centrally funded.  

DLA Energy Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark McLeod initiated the idea for a rotation program. In March, A DLA Energy rotational policy instruction was signed to promote the use of rotational assignments to support workforce development and to match current and future mission requirements.  The instruction outlines training/developmental opportunities for workforce professional growth within their primary-level field activities.