Patriot: from intern to inspiration

By Natalie Skelton DLA Aviation Public Affairs

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From his first day as an intern nearly eight years ago, to today as Division Chief, Efrain ‘Ace’ Acevedo, Tactical Aviation Division, Strategic Acquisition Programs Directorate, Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Huntsville, Alabama, has found numerous ways to better the lives of his co-workers and active duty service members.

 

While he currently manages daily operations on the acquisition of spare parts for the Army’s fleet of UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, Acevedo recalls with pride his ability to overcome challenges in his work. “One of the most memorable challenges I have encountered was when I had to lead the UH-60 Tactical Aviation Division for three months, when all the leadership positions were vacant. I assumed the role after the division chief and both branch chiefs departed at the same time for other positions outside DLA,” he said.

 

“I overcame those challenges by providing direction, motivation and guidance, and in addition I created a rewards system called Ace Coins,” Acevedo added. “Employees were rewarded with the coins for their outstanding output of requirements. The program rapidly increased productivity, and it was instrumental in reducing the backlog of open purchase requests.”

 

The result of the system, he said, was the division’s completion of fiscal 2018 with no prior fiscal year requirements remaining.

 

Acevedo’s work has had a lasting impact on his peers and employees, many of whom serve or have served in roles with the National Guard or U.S. Army Reserve. This impact was a crucial factor in the decision to recognize him with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Patriot Award. The Patriot Award recognizes supervisors for their support of employees who serve in those particular roles.

 

Aaron Romero, a U.S. Marine Corps reservist and contract specialist, Strategic Acquisition Programs Directorate, DLA Aviation, Huntsville, Alabama, was one of the people who championed Acevedo’s nomination for the award. Romero said he nominated Acevedo for being fully supportive of his reserve obligations.

“We reservists have many of the same requirements as our active duty counterparts,” Romero said. “Ace knows that if he supports our efforts to complete the reserve obligation in the manner that best suits us, we can quickly return to our lives as civilian employees and continue our work supporting the warfighter.”

 

Romero explained that Acevedo places full trust in the abilities of his employees to manage workloads as professionals. “He allows us to schedule our tasks and reserve leave in such a fashion that enables us to complete our reserve obligation without unnecessarily delaying a procurement,” he said.

 

Romero served on active duty for nine years, and said, he initially assumed serving as a reservist would be “a piece of cake.” He clarified, saying, “Being a reservist is not as easy as many folks think it is. Because we live dual lives, it is very easy for military obligation to sometimes become a problem with our civilian lives and vice versa.”

 

Romero said, “Since I started working at DLA, I have never had a problem with any work/reserve conflicts.”

 

“It was a surprise,” Acevedo said of being presented with the award. “I had never heard of the award before. It is a great honor, and the day it was presented couldn’t have been any better; I was deploying with DLA’s Joint Contingency Acquisition Support Office to support the border mission with the soldiers.”

 

Acevedo himself is a retired active duty service member, having served over 20 years before retiring in 2010.

 

And even though he is a leader in his own right, Acevedo looks to his team members for equal guidance. “Everyone on my team brings something unique,” Acevedo said. “To consider one individual a mentor or guide will not be fair. I look forward to coming to work every single day because of the group of professional, technical and support personnel I served with.”

 

His service remains an integral influence on his work at DLA, as well, Acevedo said. “I used to be the end user; being deployed to Iraq in 2005, we had to tow our own vehicles—not because we didn’t have personnel, but because we didn’t have the parts to make the vehicles fully mission capable. I take this job and my position with great pride, knowing we are providing essential parts to the Army UH-60 Black Hawk.”