News | Oct. 17, 2018

Students graduate from PACE Program Oct. 10

By Cathy Hopkins DLA Aviation Public Affairs

Friends, family and co-workers gathered Oct. 10 in the Frank B. Lotts Conference Center on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, to celebrate the graduation of approximately 100 students from the Defense Logistics Agency Pathways to Career Excellence Program.  

The graduates, currently working at multiple DLA Aviation locations, participated in the ceremony either on-site or via teleconferencing from Huntsville, Alabama; Ogden, Utah; and Warner Robins, Georgia. 

Michael Cavanaugh, chief, DLA Aviation Career Development Branch served as the master of ceremonies and congratulated the graduates on completing an intense two-plus year program.  “You have invested a great deal of time and effort into the program and have been trained and mentored along the way.  You are now in a position to help mold the next generation, I know you will pay it forward,” he said. 

Pam Laker, chief, DLA Human Resources Services, DLA Training Career Management Division, echoed Cavanaugh’s sentiments by saying graduations mark significant closures and points of new beginning.

She urged graduates to become transformation leaders and role models in our communities.  “As transformational leaders, you will lead, inspire, innovate and build communities,” Laker said. 

DLA Aviation Acquisition Executive Cathy Contreras was the keynote speaker. 

Contreras told students they were part of a select group that started at an entry level and progressed to journeyman level in their career fields within two years.

“You offer a different point-of-view and that is extremely important to this organization,” she said. “You may not realize the importance of the relationships you have built, but it will soon become apparent, so keep a close hold on that class roster.  Remember, no one succeeds on their own, as you have been mentored, seek to be a mentor to others.”

Contreras shared three key words she hoped graduates would remember:  who, why, and what.  

She said, you are part of the “who” and will touch all aspects of the global DLA enterprise. The “why” is professional and personal, she explained, why do we do what we do and why do you do what you do.  What is your passion? And lastly, she said the “what” is what you do which may change.  “You need to be resilient and prepared to embrace change.  

“Understand “what” you do at DLA Aviation on a daily basis truly matters, our purpose is to drive support to the warfighter and that is our first priority,” she said. “Also, remember that “why” of warfighter support can mean the difference between life and death and it is by working together and supporting each other that we accomplish what may seem to be the impossible.”