News | Jan. 24, 2019

Employee Spotlight: Joseph VanEtten

By Ellen Vaught DLA Aviation Public Affairs Office

Joseph VanEtten

Organization: DLA Aviation – Cherry Point, North Carolina


Years of Service: 3


What is your job title and what do you do, specifically? 


I am a lead customer support specialist for the Industrial Processes Cell. I oversee a small team that provides material support to our industrial customer, which consists of primarily the Packing and Preservation Shop and Composite Repair Shop, among others. We are the face to the customer for DLA, and work alongside our Fleet Readiness Center East counterparts to make sure they get the parts and support they need to accomplish their mission.


What do you like most about your job?


In my current position, my favorite part is essentially being in the center of all the working parts. I act as a middle man between the work center production controllers and engineers and DLA equipment, contract and product specialists and material planners, etc. I also work with the vendors themselves. Being that middle man, really helps me to get the total picture on every single step it takes (and there are many) to get materials in the hands of the customer. Being able to explain this process also helps our customer. With all the various acronyms and codes, I sometimes feel like half of my job is translation.


What would you say, has been your major contributions to your organization this year in your job?


I believe the biggest impact I’ve made in the past year was getting things hashed out with container shock mounts and hardwood skids. Changing guidance from Naval Supply Systems Command forced 100 percent replacement on these items for several containers that had little to no demand prior to this change. Now we are to the point where almost all of these items are under contract or in stock. It’s been a long road to get here, but now we are to the point where almost all of these items are under contract or in stock.


What aspect(s) of your current job gives you the most personal satisfaction? Why?


The most rewarding part of my job is passing on knowledge to both teammates and the customer we support. Any time I can help someone better understand the systems or processes, it makes my job easier. I honestly believe that “knowledge hoarding” is the most counterproductive thing someone can do in their career, for both themselves and those they work with.


What was your first job?


I’ve been working since around age 10. I started with delivering newspapers in my neighborhood, but my first real job was teaching hockey lessons at the local ice rink. I started at 14, getting paid under the table until they could legally hire me.


What advice would you have given yourself 10 years ago?


That’s an easy one. Don’t waste all your deployment money trying to soup-up your little four-banger Honda.


What’s your biggest pet peeve?


Friends you only see or hear from when they need something from you.


What are some of your passions outside of work?


I enjoy building projects, tinkering with big-boy toys that go vroom, and pulling triggers on things that go boom. PC gaming and building custom computers is a bit of a hobby as well. I also enjoy taking my toddler out on his ride on toys and giving them unnecessary upgrades. I plan to take one of his electric trucks and make it gas-powered.


What’s the most thrilling/adventurous thing you have ever done?


When I was young and irresponsible, I was a bit of an adrenaline junkie. My friends and I would hunt for places to go cliff diving, and with all the various gorges winding throughout upstate New York, we found plenty of them. It was both thrilling and terrifying. Strangely enough, I’m not a big fan of heights.


Who is your favorite actor or actress and why?


Has Tom Hanks ever been in a bad movie? He probably has, but even in a bad movie, his acting is still great. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed most of his work and think he is a fantastic actor in both serious and comedic roles. Someday, I’d like to see Tom Hanks in a Schwarzenegger style, senselessly violent film, but that’s probably just wishful thinking.


What type of music do you most enjoy?


I listen to just about everything, from Bluegrass and Classic Rock to Dubstep and Death Metal. If I can tap a foot or nod my head to it, I’ll give it a listen. I think it would be easier to say what type of music I least enjoy. I would rather listen to five hours of a screaming infant than to listen to five minutes of improvised Jazz.