FORT BELVOIR, Virginia –
John Slone joined Defense Logistics Agency hoping for a job where he didn’t have to think about being different. A place where he could focus on working with people who have equal respect for all.
Slone is one of 25 DLA colleagues with hearing loss who stands as a testimony that just because someone cannot hear doesn’t mean they aren’t a valued contributor to the mission.
“I have taken a significant role in training and helping other people like me learn and grow in their positions and I provided coaching to our interpreter staff to help navigate the myriad of acronyms and terms frequently used in technical conversation,” Slone said. “We are eager to come in and work extremely hard to debunk any myths or preconceptions.”
For more than seven years, Slone, a DLA Finance Energy financial systems analyst, has been responsible for providing detailed analysis and insight into Energy’s petroleum, aerospace, natural gas, electricity and utility privatization programs.
“DLA gives us a platform to learn the job, showcase our talents and compete for jobs using unique communication products that remove barriers that would hinder anyone from being effective and an equally skilled worker,” he said. “It’s value added for the workforce that DLA fosters morale, diversity and meets both short and long-term mission challenges.”
Outside of DLA, Slone motivates young hearing loss individuals to new heights of success.
In a keynote speech to Kentucky School for the Deaf, he told graduates to be a role model in every situation and turn discriminatory situations into teachable moments and never take short cuts toward their life’s goals.
“You are the builder,” Slone said. “Be respectful to everyone, including those who are different and help others understand. Ask for help if you need it … you are not alone.”
Slone believes people with hearing loss are a dedicated employee force focused on proving skeptics wrong and performing at a very high level.
DLA Finance Energy Comptroller Richard Sninsky knows this first hand.
“John is often the first person DLA Finance system-related problems are reported to,” he said. “He does the analysis to determine the root cause of an issue and mitigates future occurrences.”
Slone is the lead analyst for the Retroactive Price Adjustment program, a unique Energy business program.
“This complex program involves fixing hundreds of transactions on a daily basis and when unforeseen errors occur it can take most analysts an extended period of time to fix,” Sninsky said. “John is no ordinary analyst, however, he has expeditiously planned and performed fix actions, often engaging with multiple business offices to complete the mission.”
Slone’s proficiency was also demonstrated recently as he was asked to provide large-scale training lectures to less-experienced analysts regarding the RPA program, both at DLA and in a guest appearance at Defense Finance and Accounting Service.
Regardless of differences, DLA’s People and Culture Plan continues to attract, develop and retain a diverse, skilled and agile workforce that is vital to our continued success as the nation’s combat logistics support agency.