News | Dec. 12, 2016

Richmond’s Southall retires with 40 years of federal service

By Brianne M. Bender DLA Distribution Public Affairs

Laura Tucker Southall, management and program analyst at DLA Distribution Richmond, Va., will retire on Jan. 3, with 40 years and 10 months of federal service.

In December 1975, Southall was hired into federal service to work for the newly formed Southeast Field Office Fort Lee, a Troop Support agency. She started as a clerk typist and progressed to an accounting technician. In 2003 she began working as a management assistant in Customer Operations at Defense Supply Center Richmond. From 2008 until the present, she has worked as a management and program analyst, focusing on the budget.

“I believe success begins with having a good attitude, respecting your management as well as your peers and giving 100 percent every day,” explained Southall when asked what has been her key to success during her over 40-year federal career.

Over the years, Southall has had the opportunity to work with and for many great people, a few who have served as mentors that have become an instrumental part of her success. One of her greatest mentors includes her mom, Doris Tucker.

“Having eight children, my mom worked hard every day of her life and did so with amazing grace,” said Southall. “I was 18 when I started working for the federal government, and the building I worked in was an old barracks. I was tasked to clean the restroom. One day, I came home complaining and my mom’s response was simply ‘I hope you cleaned it the best you could.’”

Another of her mentors, Brenda Longest, the director of customer operations, taught her to give her best and be professional at all times. “She is a class act and such a great role model.”

“Additionally, Mrs. Raye Groseclose, the customer support division Chief and Mrs. Paula Baker, a supervisor of resource management took me by the hand and mentored me to grow in the budget field,” said Southall.

Southall has had two major highlights during her almost 41-year career. The first was being nominated by her peers and receiving the Employee of the Year award at DLA Distribution Richmond, Mapping division. “It meant so very much to me that the employees I worked with day to day thought enough of me to nominate and then ultimately vote me that honor.” The second was being presented the Superior Civilian Service award by DLA.

“My career has afforded me the wonderful opportunity to serve our warfighters, as well as given me the opportunity to work for an organization that takes great pride in what we do,” said Southall. “I would like people to know that those of us who work for DLA enjoy our jobs and feel honored to serve.”

Having served her country for nearly 41 years, Southall’s advice to those coming into the federal service is to “come to work expecting to give your best daily, and expect nothing in return but your paycheck. Also, learn everything you can and never subscribe to an attitude of ‘that is not my job.’ Anything you learn makes you better.”