Rising through the Air Force and Navy ranks, 12 duty assignments around the world and then supporting the warfighter as a medical logistician equals 40 years of federal service for one employee at the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support.
Randall Owens, a supervisor in the Medical supply chain, reached the 40-year mark in December after serving 29 years in the military and 11 years at DLA Troop Support. He has no intention to retire any time soon.
“I am very proud to serve my country as a (Defense Department) civilian and support the warfighter,” Owens said. “I want to keep serving for at least another 9-10 years.”
Owens said continuous learning and follow through have contributed towards his lengthy career.
“Constantly strive to be the best you can be and do what you say you’re going to do,” Owens offered. “I pride myself on having a good reputation and doing what is needed to accomplish the mission.”
As a supervisor in Medical’s operational customer facing division, Owens oversees a team of 14 tailored vendor logistics specialists, or customer service representatives. His team ensures medical supply support for all the military services’ deployed forces around the world.
They also manage support for all Theater Lead Agents for Medical Materiel, which support the services within their respective area of operations.
“Randy’s tremendous amount of experience and knowledge makes him an incredibly valued asset to the Medical supply chain,” said Army Lt. Col. Jimmy Baker, operational customer facing division chief. “I’ve been privileged to work with him the past two years, and I’m constantly impressed with how he always goes the extra mile to ensure his employees and customers are taken care of.”
Owens, a retired Navy lieutenant commander and former Air Force senior master sergeant, previously served at DLA Troop Support as a Navy officer from 2002 to 2004. His experience as a Navy Medical Service Corps officer and Air Force supply logistician helped him bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to DLA Troop Support as a civilian employee.
“My prior service in the military significantly eased my transition into federal service with DLA Troop Support because of my keen understanding of warfighter requirements, business systems and processes,” Owens said. “I know what the warfighters’ requirements are and their urgency of need.”
Owens recalled serving in Australia during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He was attending a training course at Royal Australian Air Force Base Williamstown when he woke up and two New Zealand navy officers asked him if he heard about the planes that crashed in New York City.
“It wasn’t until I sat at the officers’ mess for breakfast and saw the videos of the attacks that I realized it was much bigger than a single plane crash in the city,” he said. “Nothing has been the same since.”
That experience highlighted the importance of America’s partnerships around the world for Owens.
“While driving back to Sydney after the attacks happened, I saw a homemade sign on a bridge that read, ‘God Bless the USA, from your Aussie mates,’” Owens said. “At such an emotional time, that sign brought a tear to my eyes. Those [Australians] are the best. It spoke volumes about the support we have around the world.”
This memory would stand out as a reminder to Owens of the importance in establishing and maintaining positive relationships.
“When supporting other agencies or nations, you are an ambassador of your organization or country,” Owens said. “If you present yourself in a professional manner and send a positive message to those who may not have had other interactions with your organization or country, it reflects great credit upon you and your country.”
While Owens has achieved 40 years of federal service, he credits his team for putting him in a position to succeed and motivating him to continue working.
“I owe all of my current success to them for all their great work and efforts to support our warfighters each day,” he said.
When asked what words he would leave for someone starting his or her career, Owens’ response was simple.
“Embrace lifelong learning; you never know it all,” Owens said. “Your word is your bond. If you say you are going to do something, then do it. Establish a good service reputation early on and sustain it.”