Larry Glasco: Customer relationship pioneer

By Christopher Goulait DLA Public Affairs

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Understand the customer’s needs in advance, then make sure the agency is positioned to support them. This sentiment is at the core of Larry Glasco’s work and is the driving force behind his place in the Defense Logistics Agency Hall of Fame.

“Always remember why DLA exists, and remember that the military services DLA supports are priority No. 1 — always,” Glasco said.

To tell Glasco’s story is also to tell part of the not-so-distant past of DLA’s Logistics Operations directorate. His leadership through operational and organizational change kept the customer at the forefront at every turn.

Glasco joined DLA in 2001 as DLA Logistics Operations’ executive director for customer operations but moved to what was then known as DLA Readiness and Operations in 2003 as its first executive director. When DLA Logistics Operations absorbed the mission of DLA Readiness and Operations in 2006, he returned to DLA Logistics Operations as the office’s deputy director of logistics operations and readiness.

With those moves, Glasco brought his special focus on the customer too, in an approach described as “contagious” by DLA Logistics Operations’ Deputy Director of Operations and Sustainment Michael Van House.

“He was all about establishing relationships and keeping the field activities at DLA informed about what was going on, and building partnerships to support our customers.” Van House said.

Helping to lead the newly combined directorate, Glasco set the tone for DLA Logistics Operations moving forward, Van House said.

“Logistics Operations today is very customer focused, and I think that a lot of that came as a result of Mr. Glasco really pushing that when we were back in the Customer Relationship Management days and when we had [DLA Readiness and Operations],” Van House said. “That’s now how we’re focused. We’re now building relationships with our customers and truly meeting their requirements.”

The formal use of Customer Relationship Management was coming together but not yet practiced when Glasco first joined DLA.

“Before CRM, DLA was more transactional-based, in my opinion,” Van House explained. “We were focused on getting requisitions and filling requisitions. The CRM approach was building a relationship with your customer so you understand their requirements and translate them to DLA activities that are servicing that customer, and therefore truly delight them with the goods and services you can provide them with and in the timely manner in which you provide them.”

When picking up the CRM mission, Glasco explained that the framework had been developed, and his role was to implement and execute the framework’s processes, roles and technology. He and his team established customer account managers and national account managers for the military services, linking them to existing customer service representatives in the DLA field activities. This work also tied into Glasco’s push for putting Performance-Based Agreements in place, with metrics linked to the PBAs to monitor DLA’s performance goals.

These and other systems Glasco worked on are still in use by DLA. But Glasco, reflecting on his accomplishments with the agency, instead focused on contingency support as the proudest moments of his career.

“I was able to witness firsthand the awesome ‘logistics might’ DLA contributed to all these efforts in support of our U.S. military personnel, our national relief workers and our American citizens,” Glasco said, citing support to combat in Afghanistan and Iraq and domestic disaster relief in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

“Once, while on a customer trip to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, I just took note of all of the Class I, Class II, Class III, Class IV, Class VIII and Class IX materials on display and being used throughout the base, and I just swelled with pride as I understood that I was part of an organization that had helped put all of this support on the ground,” Glasco said.

Likewise, as he watched news reports showing DLA’s support to hurricane relief, this too was “a moment of pride to belong to DLA,” he said.

On top of support to disaster relief and Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, Glasco recalled a memory of another responsibility of his: oversight of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure efforts.

“[Then-DLA Director Army Lt. Gen. Robert] Dail called me into his office and directed that I undertake a new effort to engage the military services,” Glasco explained. “He levied two requirements on me: one, convince the services to transfer appropriate resources to DLA and, two, don’t anger anyone in the services.”

As fate would have it, the first BRAC discussions Glasco held were with an Air Force brigadier general by the name of Andy Busch, who would go on to become the director of DLA several years later.

“The interaction was very positive,” Glasco said. “We wound up agreeing to transfer over 100 people over to DLA from the Air Force, primarily in a combination of distribution and inventory management.”

It was working with people like this both inside and outside the organization over the years that Glasco emphasized as a big part of his lasting impression of DLA.

“When I reflect on my time at DLA, there are two things that come to mind,” Glasco said. “One, I just enjoyed working with the people. They cared about the customers, and I mean really cared about the customers. Two, everyone was extremely professional, and … I was warmly received into DLA.”

When coordinating outside of DLA, “the job I had in particular had me engaging with members of all of the military services and [the Federal Emergency Management Agency],” Glasco continued. “It was an opportunity that, had I not come to DLA, I would have not gotten anyplace other than DLA.”

Glasco recognized that when it came down to it, it was the people he worked alongside and what they produced together that resulted in his induction to the DLA Hall of Fame.

“I am deeply appreciative of my inclusion into the DLA Hall of Fame and realize that if not for the efforts and support of many helpful, kind, thoughtful, unselfish, proficient and industrious collections of teammates, this recognition wouldn’t be possible,” he said.