Land and Maritime Commander visits detachments for operational assessment

By Brian J. Stevens and Michael L. Jones DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

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Land and Maritime Commander Navy Rear Admiral Michelle Skubic is engaged in a demanding travel schedule that recently included Army and Navy operations in Pennsylvania. While there, Skubic also visited two Land and Maritime detachments for operational orientations to help accelerate her assessment of Land and Maritime operations. 

During her visit to the Product Test Center Analytical Unit Skubic got a chance to see their operations first hand. The Analytical Unit focuses on testing and evaluation of materials for the supply chain and they concentrate on conducting metal analysis and material and finish identification.

“We embrace the idea of whole of government because we work with numerous agencies and organizations, we take that very seriously here,” said Jamie Hieber, director of the Product Test Center Analytical Unit. “I can’t tell you the value of having the Admiral visit us, it was really special to have our work appreciated.”

The Analytical Unit possesses dual testing capabilities and has been in existence for 98 years. Staffed by a technical team of 23 employees, it houses three branches that include analytical, textile testing and shade and support. It has a chemistry lab attached to perform product testing and also conducts testing on textile product conformance. The majority of the lab’s work comes from DLA Troop Support.  It also performs testing for Land and Maritime, Aviation and outside agencies such as the Forestry Service. A unique capacity includes its testing of the service’s retro reflective apparatus, which helps warfighters identify friends/foes in the field. The Analytical Unit is the only government testing lab with that capability.

Last year the Analytical Unit conducted more than 13,000 test reports, many of those included multiple sub tests.  It tests all service uniforms and is the only production shade evaluation lab capable of thoroughly testing uniform shading.  Generally, anything that the warfighter can wear or carry is tested for compliance at the Analytical Unit.

Skubic’s itinerary included an orientation visit to New Cumberland, PA where she spent valuable time collaborating with Distribution Commander Army Brig. Gen. John Laskodi.

A visit to DLA Land and Maritime Mechanicsburg completed Skubic’s travels. As one of the detachments under her command, she got a chance to learn about Mechanicsburg’s  unique  capabilities and its contributions to the Land and Maritime warfighter support mission.
Accompanied by Land and Maritime Deputy Commander James McClaugherty, Skubic met members of the  Mechanicsburg staff. She held a town hall meeting that included operational updates and the presentation of Commander’s Coins to six Mechanicsburg associates. 

"It’s always an extreme pleasure to have DLA Land and Maritime Command visit Mechanicsburg.  It helps remind us we’re part of something bigger,” said Brian Watkins, director at DLA Maritime Mechanicsburg. “That this was Admiral Skubic's first visit to Mechanicsburg as Commander of DLA Land and Maritime; and to have Mr. McClaugherty visit at the same time, made the visit even more special. I can't over emphasize the importance of the communication and support we get from Admiral Skubic and Mr. McClaugherty, as well as the opportunity for the Mechanicsburg associates to address concerns and challenges directly to Land and Maritime leadership." 

Mechanicsburg employees Melanie Pepperman, Brian Stevens, Wendy Adams, Aaron Lichtenwalner, Karen Mead, and Toran Salmond were recognized for exceptional mission support and were awarded Commander’s Coins. 

Pepperman maintained and executed a full Pre-Award Production workload while standing up the new Surface Ships Contract Administration team. Additionally, she accepted a temporary supervisory position without hesitation in order to assist DLA Maritime Mechanicsburg in filling a critical vacancy.   

Stevens is the Amphibious, Expeditionary and Common Contracting Division focal point for all Raytheon acquisitions.  His workload includes analyzing data from DLA Maritime and Raytheon to make sure that both organizations are tracking every requirement and communicating any discrepancies found.  He fields all Raytheon data calls and helps co-workers identify the appropriate contact person.  Stevens also works Long Term Contracts for Mechanicsburg.

Adams, Lichtenwalner, Mead, and Salmond make up the DLA Maritime Mechanicsburg On-Time Delivery Team and they’re responsible for monitoring and expediting delivery.  DLA Maritime Mechanicsburg delivery metrics have shown measurable improvement since the team was created.  Their efforts helped Mechanicsburg post an on-time delivery rate of 92.45 percent during fiscal year 2016; the highest yearly average the team has achieved.  Additionally, the team reclaims an average of $350 thousand per year during negotiations for consideration of contractor delay.