News | Oct. 6, 2017

Carolynn Michel inducted as the 2017 HoF recipient

By Army Sgt. Saul Rosa and Bonnie Koenig DLA Aviation public affairs

Defense Logistics Agency Aviation inducted its 35th Hall of Fame recipient, Carolynn Michel, during a ceremony Sept. 27, in the Frank B. Lotts Conference Center on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia.

Michel, a Chester resident, served DLA for more than 37 years where she held various supervisory and non-supervisory civilian positions within DLA Aviation.

DLA Aviation’s Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Linda Hurry had the honor to induct the 2017 recipient Carolynn Michel as the 35th member of the DLA Aviation Hall of Fame. The DLA Aviation Hall of Fame honors those who have made a long-lasting impact on DLA, the Aviation workforce, the warfighters across the globe and the nation. 

"Although we're here to recognize Carolynn as our 2017 inductee," said Hurry. "We want to also give a special thanks to Carolynn's husband, Ray Michel, who was also a part of our DLA family. Ray was the chief of the Command Programs Branch prior to his retirement in 2010."

The commander said, "There is absolutely no question that Carolynn's dedication to this team helped shape this Defense Supply Center Richmond, touching the lives of many people throughout our center from the time she started here in 1977 until her retirement in January 2015. That is nearly 38 years of true dedication to the Department of Defense and our nation," said Hurry.  "Carolynn has supported our warfighters from the end of the Vietnam era, through Desert Storm, to our military operations in the Middle East and around the world today ... she has been right there, supporting and serving our warfighters, making things better every step the way by improving processes and holding folks accountable for readiness, materials and our taxpayers' dollars."

“When I got here a few months ago I highlighted a couple of things that were really important to me … specifically, taking care of people and taking care of the mission,” Hurry said. “After hearing Carolynn’s story and learning how she operated, all I can say is I sincerely wish we could have had the chance to work together, because Carolynn is clearly a true leader and mentor who can drive the right kind of change in any organization.” 

Michel began her career as a rotational general Schedule (GS)-2 clerk typist in Supplier Operations, Storage and Transportation and worked her way up by completing the Financial Intern Program and serving as a budget analyst from 1986 – 1997.

The commander said Michel was well respected for her knowledge, experience, dedication and “can do” attitude and that her many contributions as a leader were invaluable to DLA and DLA Aviation.

Michel’s champion DLA’s Information Operations Teresa Smith, chief, data officer, nominated the inductee and shared the significant accomplishments for which Michel was recognized.  

After the award was read and presented, Michel spoke about those who mentored her and the leadership she received and how those people helped shape her career.

Michel gave credit for her strong work ethic to her parents, her father, John Danford, a former drill sergeant and DSCR Equipment Maintenance Division Chief. But she learned about work efficiency by the way her mother, Julia, ran their home. She said while hard work was instilled in her at a young age, other things influenced her career such as course correction and corrective criticism, teamwork, mentoring and examples of great leadership.

“I’ve worked with wonderful people,” said Michel. “Thank you for being there and thank you for supporting me.”

Some of the contributions mentioned in the awards packet included her oversight of the performance of the Enterprise Business System processes (Order Fulfillment, Planning and Technical Quality) by coordinating, consolidating and reporting the overall performance results. She also identified and assessed operations’ performance issues, and developed viable solutions to resolve cross-process issues in coordination with DLA’s process owners. 

She also served as the DLA Aviation field command team lead for audit readiness and was responsible for implementing and sustaining compliance.  She educated the workforce on aspects of audit readiness and its eventual positive results.  She established the organizational construct to work and sustain audit readiness processes.

Prior to serving as the deputy director, Michel was the division chief of the directorate’s Research, Review and Analysis Division. She served as the Defense Supply Center Richmond transitional program manager responsible for monitoring activities related to implementation and transition of items from the legacy system, Standard Automated Materiel Management System, to Business Systems Modernization, the precursor to the Enterprise Business System.

Michel successfully led the implementation of major systems that positively impacted DLA. Those agency-wide systems included DLA’s migration to the Automated Time, Attendance and Production System (ATAAPS) mainframe and Michel was recognized for its successful implementation that affected 27,000 employees across all DLA locations.  She also implemented the Civilian Personnel Data Systems and the Defense Civilian Pay System. She oversaw the reorganization effort referred to as “Big Bang,” which moved 2,700 employees and their respective workload into the customer and supplier team construct as a precursor to Business Systems Modernization implementation. 

Michel worked directly for DLA Headquarters on two occasions. First, to determine whether a supplier improperly heat-treated aluminum parts, thus putting DLA’s military customer at risk. Under her leadership, the team’s work led to the successful criminal prosecution of the company.

She attributed her successes to hard work, listening and acting on criticism, not making excuses – and making corrections. “Everyone has to be willing to put in the work and to communicate the goals you’re trying to accomplish. Be honest with people and work to build trust, it isn’t always easy, but it pays dividends,” said Michel. “Teamwork and a sense of belonging is crucial to success and to the mission.” 

She said no one has success without the support of others - whether they are employees, peers, supervisors or other leader. She said she has been blessed to have had tremendous mentors and payed it forward by being a mentor to others in reaching their own career goals.

Hurry said, "Carolynn, you have done so many great things for DLA Aviation, our community and the nation. There is no question that you have earned this recognition and we are truly honored to induct you into the DLA Aviation Hall of Fame."

Also participating in the event was the Defense Supply Center Joint Color Guard who presented the colors and the 392nd Ft. Lee Army Band Brass Quintet, led by Corporal Jessica Williams, played the National Anthem and several other musical renditions in celebration.