DLA Aviation celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

By Bonnie Koenig DLA Aviation public affairs

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Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated across the nation every year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. The 2017 theme is "Shaping the Bright Future of America."

In observance, the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation’s Strategic Acquisition Programs Directorate and the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with an opening ceremony Sept. 26 in the Lotts Conference Center on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia. The guest speaker was Miguel Zayas, division chief of the Procure-to-Pay Process Cycle Integration, DLA Acquisition, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Zayas oversees and directs the acquisition community related to the P2P business cycle to achieve business system auditability and continued sustainment of audit assertion goals. 

Zayas said this year’s theme invites employees to reflect on Hispanic-Americans’ vitality and meaningful legacy in our nation’s cultural framework. “Whether defending our nation, exploring the universe, conducting scientific research or providing community services, Hispanic-Americans are key contributors to America’s success,” said Zayas.

 Zayas also spoke on his experiences as a Hispanic while serving as a naval officer for 22 years and his assignments in every division within the DLA Headquarters Acquisition which include working as an analyst, and serving as division chief, Policy, Operations, Workforce, Programs, and Oversight.

He said early on he volunteered for the audit readiness project. He was soon made division chief of the Audit Readiness section, DLA Information Operations.

Throughout Zayas’ presentation, he emphasized volunteering for difficult jobs and his determination to excel at each task, no matter how menial, were the keys to his success.

He said he achieved success by getting out of his comfort zone, by putting in the extra effort, and by mentoring others along the way.

“Sometimes the little things we do can have a positive impact on the career of another,” said Zayas.

He shared some personal mentoring and leadership stories as well as some excerpts from DLA’s Headquarters’ Hispanic Heritage Month guest speaker, Mary Lou Valdez presentation held earlier this month. Valdez is the associate commissioner for International Programs and director for the Office of International Programs of the Food and Drug Administration.

She said, “A key element of service is kindness. Some of my reasons for success comes through the kindness and patience of others. Along the way I’ve made my share of mistakes and missteps that could have been costly to one’s career. None the less, I have found that when you have service at your core, others will support you and your work. They will recognize and value your commitment. We must find the time to help teach each other to build their own capacity, so that all of us can continue to be of service in an increasingly complex environment.”

‘“Shaping the Bright Future of America’ is a shared responsibility for all of us,” said Zayas. “This Hispanic Heritage Month celebration highlights Latinos in our military and in public service. At one point in our careers we too were the bright future. Let us commit to instilling in our future generations the high calling of government service.”