Richmond’s Gambrell retires after 27 years of federal service

By Brianne M. Bender DLA Distribution Public Affairs

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David R. Gambrell, DLA Distribution Richmond, Va., deputy director will retire on Dec. 31, after 27 years of federal service.

Gambrell began his government career in 1989 as an instructional systems specialist with Defense Distribution Depot Memphis, Tenn., before coming to the Defense Distribution Region East in New Cumberland, Pa., as a traffic management specialist in 1993.

In 2001, Gambrell became the distribution facilities manager at Defense Distribution Mapping activity in Richmond, Va. That position eventually led him to the deputy director position at DLA Distribution Richmond, Va., in 2014 until present.

“My career with DLA has given me 27 years, or 7,047 days of different challenge each day. It has allowed me to travel all over the United States and also to OCONUS sites like Japan, South Korea, Panama and Puerto Rico,” said Gambrell. “it has allowed me to support two Gulf Wars, allowed me to do what I love – work with great and professional people and to meet and support the best military forces on the planet earth.”

During his 27-year career, Gambrell has witnessed much improvement in response times to customer needs and requirements. “I believe DLA is now much more focused on defining and understanding what the warfighter needs are, and in meeting those needs in a fast-paced environment.”

Over the years, Gambrell 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 his success.

“Bob Elkin was the individual who called me in 1989 and encouraged me to apply with DLA. He mentored me for five years in Memphis, Tenn. John Yost is a great friend who mentored me in New Cumberland, Pa. Also in New Cumberland, Ms. Twila Gonzales – she was a great boss that mentored and inspired me. Finally, Mr. John Pearson, the DLA Distribution Richmond, Va., director has been the best shipmate I could have asked for during my final two years with DLA,” explained Gambrell.

Through his years with DLA, Gambrell has had the opportunity to serve as mentor to those who follow him, and those who are now coming into federal service. His advice to those individuals is “remember that all the warfighters we support are someone’s sons and daughters. Just know how you would want that service person’s supply needs met if they were your son or daughter and do your job like they are your family.”

Gambrell pinpoints the highlight of his career as his role as operations manager for Defense Distribution Mapping activity from 2001 to 2014. “It was my first experience as a supervisor in DLA and I love it. It was a job in which I could express the passion I have for supporting the service men and women of America.”

Gambrell has great things to say about the DLA organization as a whole, as well as the men and women who make up the agency. In regards to what the organization has meant to him during his 27 years, “DLA has meant family to me. We spend more time with folks at work, than we do with our own blood relatives. So DLA has been family to me for 27 years. It has been a good family to be in.”

In regards to the men and women who make up the Defense Logistics Agency, Gambrell wants people to know “DLA will always find a way to get the job done. They are a great bunch of people to work with and have the dedication, drive and desire to support the nation’s armed forces wherever they are and whatever they need to accomplish their mission. DLA is a world-class organization that has its claim-to-fame in readiness, preparation and execution.”

“Notice there is no ‘I’ in team and there is no ‘I’ in DLA. It is not about me or my individual effort – it is about the team. DLA has been a good team to be on for the past 27 years. Teams may have their challenges and their disagreements, but when we are on the field and the game is on the line, the team plays as one. DLA has been good to me and my family.”