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News | Aug. 1, 2016

New graduates on pathway to success at DLA

By Craig M. Rader DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

After two years of intense study, on-the-job training, classroom sessions, and web-based instruction, a group of students will soon begin a new stage in their careers.

Eighty participants in the Defense Logistics Agency’s Pathways to Career Excellence (PaCE) Program were honored in a graduation ceremony at the Defense Supply Center Columbus on July 21.

During the ceremony’s opening remarks, Pam Latker, chief of the Career Management Division of DLA Human Resources, said the graduates’ dedication would not only impact their own futures, but would ultimately lead to a better and stronger business enterprise.

“In our agency, people are our number one priority,” Latker said. “Investing in our future and developing our workforce is the key to our success.”

The PaCE Program is an agency-sponsored training program designed to prepare entry‐level personnel for subsequent advancement to the journey‐level in professional, administrative, and technological career fields.

James McClaugherty, DLA Land and Maritime’s acting commander, and DLA Land and Maritime Acquisition Executive Milton Lewis handed out certificates to the new graduates.

In his remarks, McClaugherty called on the students to continue seeking additional education, especially through the wisdom and experience of their fellow associates.

“I implore you to become lifelong learners,” he said. “I know you are all familiar with mentoring. For many of us, including myself, mentoring was the single most important influence in my career.”

The graduates represented a wide range of career fields at the agency, including contract and product specialists, finance, human resources, and supply logistics.

McClaugherty also paid special tribute to an outgoing trainer from the PaCE program. Marvin Garmon is a lead career program specialist for the program and retires this month after a combined 33 years of federal and military service. 

Wynueco Washington was a graduating member from the supply specialist group and personally thanked Garmon on behalf of the entire class.

“When our class learned about Marvin’s retirement, it was bittersweet,” Washington said. “Bitter because of everyone who won’t get the opportunity to learn from him in the future, but sweet because he earned this honor.”

While many of the graduates will begin their new careers at DLA Land and Maritime’s offices in Columbus, others will represent the organization at one of its seven detachments.

The ceremony was broadcast over the agency’s internal multimedia system and special acknowledgement was given to graduates viewing from detachments in Mechanicsburg, Pa. and Warren, Mich.

Participants typically enter the program at the GS-7 level and have the opportunity to progress to the GS-11 level after successful completion of the program’s requirements.

“I encourage you all to be both a mentee and then a mentor one day to pay it back,” McClaugherty said. “It’s the application of the knowledge and the wisdom you get from doing the work that will allow you to pass that information to others in the future who are just starting off.”