Williams hosts first town hall as DLA director

By Dianne Ryder

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In his first town hall as Defense Logistics Agency director, Army Lt. Gen. Darrell Williams took time to show DLA Headquarters employees a personal side of himself as well as share his strategic goals. In the McNamara Auditorium July 6, he stood on the same stage where he was promoted and assumed responsibility for the agency three weeks before.

Williams said he didn’t want much time to pass before he introduced himself to the DLA Headquarters workforce.

“I just couldn’t see making multiple visits out to other areas of the enterprise without first getting a chance to talk to the people that work in this building that I will personally and professionally rely upon to synchronize the efforts of this great agency of 25,000 people worldwide,” he said.

The general is no stranger to DLA, having served as commander of DLA Land and Maritime in Columbus, Ohio, from September 2010 to July 2012.

“I’m certainly familiar with our business … but being your DLA director is at a totally different scale, and I have phenomenal respect for this level of responsibility,” he said. “I want to support our warfighter first, but internally, I want to make sure that I am representing the great work that you do on a daily basis.”

Williams thanked the audience for welcoming him and his family. He introduced his wife of 29 years, Myra, who was present at the event.

“My priority is to provide great strategic guidance and direction, to set an azimuth to make sure everyone understands what the priorities are,” he said.

Williams first presented what he branded “DLA Director’s ‘Ya Done Good’ Certificates of Achievement” to Employees of the Quarter Carisa Blanc of the DLA Joint Reserve Force and Candace Fahey of DLA Installation Support, as well as to the organizers of the June 27 HQC Family Day, Beverly Hicks, Gregory Cummings and Nancy Howell, all of Installation Support.

Williams then outlined his family and educational background, interest in sports, personal priorities and management philosophy. He said all these things shaped who he is and led him to his guiding principle, “If you take care of your people, the mission will happen.”

The director said the first thing DLA employees could expect of him is engaged leadership.

“You can have the greatest level of technical expertise in the world, but without a leader that guides, shapes and provides strategic direction for the team, the mission simply does not happen,” he said.

In addition to hard work and support, Williams outlined other leadership characteristics that are important to him, including honesty, integrity and consistency. 

“I will endeavor to be the same person every single day,” he said. “This is for every leader – within your sphere, your energy drives your organization. Just because I’m having a challenging day, that doesn’t mean all of DLA and the people that work around me should have a bad day.”

Williams said he also believes in clear strategic guidance, priorities and direction.

“Right now, we have a great strategic plan … starting with ‘Warfighter First’,” he said. He noted that priority would not change, but other aspects of the plan would be emphasized more, such as the Whole of Government and rapid deployment initiatives.

Other areas Williams said he would like to highlight are inclusive decision-making, accountability and continued focus on people and culture. 

Williams said taking care of people isn’t limited to rewarding them but also means holding them to a standard.

“It’s not all sugar and spice and everything nice,” he said. “We do have to take care of people, and I really do believe in treating everyone with dignity and respect.” 

The director introduced new leaders, Air Force Maj. Gen. Mark Johnson, incoming director of DLA Logistics Operations (replacing Navy Rear Adm. Vincent Griffith); Gretchen Anderson, director of DLA Finance, who replaced Tony Poleo; and Navy Command Master Chief Shaun Brahmsteadt, who will succeed Army Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Tobin as senior enlisted leader.

Although Griffith, Poleo and Tobin could not attend, Williams lauded them and urged the audience to give them a round of applause for their service. 

Williams then called Brahmsteadt to join him on the stage.

“I look forward to working with this great sailor and military member extraordinaire.” Williams said. “He’s going to carry on a lot of initiatives that Command Sgt. Maj. Tobin started, and he’s going to take them to an even higher level,” he said.

Brad Bunn, director of Human Resources, addressed the audience about the success and continued progress of the DoD Performance Management and Appraisal Program. Kathy Cutler, director of DLA Information Operations, provided an update on the Windows 10 upgrade and conversion to Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. 

Williams closed the event after a brief question-and-answer session.

“Thank you in advance for your support and I know we will continue to be a phenomenal agency,” he said.


The video of the event can be viewed online for those with a Common Access Card certificate.