DLA graduates newest employees from two-year training program

By Cathy Hopkins DLA Aviation Public Affairs

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Surrounded by family, friends and co-workers, 29 DLA Aviation and DLA Finance Pathways to Career Excellence (PaCE) Program graduates joined the ranks of the DLA workforce March 30 in a ceremony held in the Lotts Conference Center on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia and via video teleconference from Defense Logistics Agency Aviation locations in Oklahoma City; Warner Robins, Georgia; and Ogden, Utah.

DLA Aviation Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Allan Day served as the keynote speaker.

Pam Latker, chief, DLA Human Resources Services, DLA Training Career Management Division provided opening remarks and listed what she believes are characteristics of great leaders.  Vision and flexibility were her top two she said, followed by the ability to coach, serve as a role model, make difficult decisions, take action and be positive.

Latker said she hoped the graduates had been noticing the great leaders that they had met during the past two-year training program.

“How you take on training future Pacers will help shape the agency’s future,” she said as she urged the graduates to pass on the mentoring they had received.

Day followed Latker and echoed her comments saying leaders are also leaners.

Day joked with students asking if they had a pen on them. “I took notes of Pam’s speech, because I learn something every day and am always looking to improve my skills and keep up with what’s happening in the world that affects what we do.  You can’t be an isolationist as a leader.”

Day said leaders are also followers. “We are all leaders and followers at the same time. We need to consider that our roles can change throughout the day, and we need to be ready to respond in the appropriate role as the situation dictates,” he said.

Day said he hoped if they, the graduates, would remember at least three words from his speech:  who, what, and why.

“Your ‘who’ is your network and you will need to leverage the global DLA network to bring solutions for our warfighter customers,” he said. “What you do will matter every day.  We need to make sure we do our jobs well to deliver the required readiness outcomes at all times by driving toward zero line stops and work arounds.”

Day went on to say warfighter support is the ‘why’ and on a professional level that would never change.  “However you need to define your personal ‘why’ and if your ‘why’ or your passion changes, you need to have the courage to follow that passion even if it means exploring other career options,” he said.  “Our warfighters deserve nothing less than your best, most passionate support!”

In closing Day wished graduates the best in their future careers, reminding them that their future career stories will depend on decisions they make today and that no one succeeds on their own.

“Hold on to that class roster and add names to it as you build your network,” he said.  “Don’t forget to give time and attention to the “who” of relationship building as you progress in your career.  Look for mentors and choose to be a mentor for others.”

The DLA PaCE Program is an agency-sponsored developmental program designed to prepare entry-level associates for success at the journey level in their chosen career fields. Through comprehensive formal programs of development, pacers are provided an enterprise perspective of logistics support.