From Bahrain to Korea, customer account specialists from 10 Defense Logistics Agency Energy regions and sub-regions gathered for a four-day policy and guidance conference at Lorton, Virginia, Oct. 15-18.
The Customer Account Specialist Conference was co-hosted and facilitated with the DLA Energy Business Process Support Directorate Order Management Team and the Customer Support Division.
“We are the first face of the customer,” said DLA Energy Customer Support Division Chief Tom Redford. “This was an important conference since there are 15 different offices of customer account specialists within DLA Energy. The last time we met was over two years ago.”
To kick off the conference, DLA Energy Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Albert Miller provided opening remarks to the 65 CAS and other acquisition professionals in the audience.
“Your job has gotten busier than ever over the last few years,” Miller said. “Your workload has increased 49 percent with sales orders, and I am committed to supporting you in the field.”
CAS’s have various responsibilities around the world as they work to deliver fuel to warfighters, foreign militaries and federal agencies during exercises and contingencies. They work with the Department of Defense, federal agencies and non-DoD customers to supply aviation, ground and marine fuels; electricity, natural gas and coal and bulk gases; spacecraft and missile propellants.
The CAS workload has increased in recent years as DLA Energy grows and expands its service to non-DoD government agencies, some located in remote locations.
“The work is challenging due to the artic weather conditions, few roads and isolated customers,” Beltran said. “From Into-Plane to Into-Truck, when the need arises, the CAS is there to support the warfighter. We deliver fuel on ground and in space through long-term contracts and one-time buys. The sun never sets on customer account specialists working.”
The conference’s focus was to strengthen knowledge and build collaboration amongst CAS and headquarters personnel. Attendees covered topics including standardization, engagement with partners and customers, oversight, and training. Several guest speakers talked about quality, international agreements, finance, service control points, Invoicing, Receipt, Acceptance, and Property Transfer, direct delivery fuels requirements validations, direct delivery fuel contracting, Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act, help desk tickets, metrics, fuel card program, Inventory Accountability Web Tool, and procurement functional support.
Many of the attendees appreciate the opportunity to meet one another and learn more about their field.
“It was useful and eye opening as a brand new CAS coming from a program analyst background,” said Kelly Weiss in the Customer Relationship Management Division. “We may all have the title of CAS, but we each have different functions and in the end we all reach a common goal of supporting the warfighter. Many times surprise issues come up and we may not know what to do or who to turn towards. Now with all the information and presenters, in many cases, we have a person to turn towards who may assist us.”
Supervisors of CAS’ agreed.
“The CAS summit was an effective opportunity for Aerospace customer account specialists to interact and network with petroleum and fuel CAS,” said DLA Energy Aerospace Customer Facing Deputy Ken Nichols. “The standardization of the CAS process across the enterprise will lead to more efficient work habits and ultimately provide greater responsiveness to our customers’ needs.”