PaCE graduates celebrate the journey and start a new path at DLA

By Dana Thornbury DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

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The Defense Logistics Agency Pathways to Career Excellence Program graduation marked the end of one path and the start of another for 120 graduates on July 31 at the Defense Supply Center Columbus.

After two years of the PaCE program’s intense on-the-job training, pacers from both DLA Land and Maritime and Human Resources fall and spring classes concluded the professional development program and joined the DLA workforce. The majority transitioning from their initial General Schedule-07 salaried training positions to GS-11 salaried associates in the fields of contract, product, supply and human resources specialist.

DLA Land and Maritime Deputy Commander James McClaugherty congratulated the graduates and reminded them that their graduation isn’t actually an ending – it’s a beginning. It marks the beginning of the next operational evolution at Land and Maritime,” he said. “You all bring with you the capacity to be visionaries and leaders in the many facets of our logistics support operations.”

Pam Latker, chief of the Career Management Division of DLA Human Resources, said, “In our agency, people are our number one priority.” 

Brad Rowley, PaCE graduate and land material planner, shared his favorite experience with the program and said, “I‘ve made many friends and touchpoints that I’ve already used on the job.”

Rowley’s networking and willingness to assist fellow classmates echoes Latker’s emphasis that people are a priority for DLA.

“The graduates’ dedication and success will not only impact their futures but the future of the agency,” she said.

Latker advised each graduate to go the extra mile and continue their path of development, training and leadership skills through on-the-job training, rotation assignments, SkillSoft, mentoring, tuition assistance, volunteer opportunities and the numerous additional programs the agency offers to enhance the skills and abilities of its personnel.

PaCE graduate and Human Resource Specialist for DLA, Anibal Matospadilla said he is taking Latker’s advice as he looks forward to expanding his knowledge base and improving daily at his job. Now that he has graduated the PaCE program, he said he’s looking forward to continuing his education with master program courses in Human Resource Management.

Derek Saunders, director, DLA Human Resources Services, echoed the previous speakers focus on continued learning and development and challenged each graduate to seek a greater understanding of the concepts that they do not know.

He encouraged the graduates to continue on the successful path the PaCE program has laid out and continue to learn and to pick a rule, regulation, policy or procedure every month to study and understand the functions, processes and how they affect operations. “As you study, you become an expert on them [rules, regulations, policies and procedures],” said Saunders.


For those considering the PaCE path for your career, graduates highly recommend the program.

Matospadilla said that “this [the PaCE program] was a great opportunity to train and advance in the chosen career field.” He advises future pacers to stay motivated, work with your team leader, research the regulations and ask as many questions as possible while in the program.

“The program is awesome and there are not many organizations that have as many opportunities for you to succeed like DLA,” said Rowley. “The program slowly transitions you from a newbie to a highly skilled individual with an active roll on a working team.”

Kim Davidson, PaCE graduate and human resource specialist, recommends participation in the program and shared her challenges. “The most challenging experience was participating in groups since I’m deaf,” she said. Davidson wants others interested in the program to know there’s always something that can be learned. She said, even with a disability, she was always able to find ways to communicate and learn new things.


Learn more about PaCE program vacancies or search available job openings.