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News | Sept. 10, 2015

Energy’s Lorton division creates baby boom

By Elizabeth Stoeckmann DLA Energy Public Affairs

Whether they know or not, 11 very dependent little people are the makings of Defense Logistics Agency Energy Utility Services’ future workforce.

Seven DLA Energy parents gathered in a breakroom, preoccupied with keeping their baby content in anticipation for the “oh-so-cute” photography pose that never really goes the way you expect.

“We love babies around here, and it’s a good thing we do,” said Utility Services Director Martha Gray.

Utility Services’ first day in Lorton was June 23, 2014. Since September 2014, there have been 11 babies, and counting; the first baby was born in September and the last two were born in August. Uniquely, two babies were born in June, one day apart, and there is also a set of twins, she said.

“Eight of the 10 parents are first-time parents,” Gray said. “We have a young workforce, many around the same age, so it follows that they had families with the same timeframe.”

Most of the parents are spread out amongst five of the utility services buying teams, she explained.

“One team had four new parents on it, but luckily they were spaced out just right and those four were all daddies and didn’t require as much time off as the mommies,” Gray added.

“It’s a contagious thing around here,” said Utility Services Section Chief Mark Palombo, and father to 4-month-old Secily. “We need the family offspring to support future contracts.”

Gray said the Lorton office is a family-oriented division that supports telework and flexible schedules, which she feels really helps new parents.

Some moms even worked on a part-time basis for a few weeks, using a combination of leave as part of the Family and Medical Leave Act.

“Leadership around here is really supportive and accommodating,” said Utility Services Contracting Officer Cassandra Alexander and mother to 10-month-old Vivienne.

Lorton office currently provides a temporary lactation room for breastfeeding mothers. Their new build out will include a proper lactation room with comfortable furniture, all in accordance with DLA policy and guidance.

“Our moms are given the time and privacy to express their breast milk without concern,” she added. “The moms have decorated the room with adorable baby pictures and develop a schedule that fits for each of them.”

“We’re bound to have repeats,” Gray said. “It is our future employment plan. With our 50-year contracts, someone is going to have to work these, thus we are growing our long-term workforce.”