Columbus handles equipment training

By Jake Joy DLA Disposition Services

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In DLA, supporting warfighters means moving their stuff, more often than not. For agency disposal personnel, it often means moving big or awkward items that have become obsolete. But you can’t handle the biggest items without the biggest material handling equipment. And you can’t operate that equipment if you haven’t gotten the most advanced training.

Employees in Columbus are steadily progressing toward earning their advanced level material handling equipment certifications while learning from one of their own colleagues.

Eric Marshall, an Ohio-based property disposal specialist with more than a dozen years’ experience with DLA, has “thousands” of hours operating warehouse equipment. He has served as an MHE instructor for a decade, and in February, he received certification as an advanced level instructor and immediately put that certification to use.

Five Columbus staffers from both the disposition site and the Long Term Storage facility there are already working with Marshall to get their advanced certifications. The training includes eight hours of field work – evaluating heavy equipment types, working with specific machines and learning about the nuances of the vehicles while getting in-seat practice time under the supervisor’s observation. That training is followed by 32 hours of on-the-job time on the machines while working through a checklist.

“It’s always best to have personnel trained up to the highest level,” said Ken Mayle, the LTS site chief and Marshall’s supervisor. He said it was a great thing for the local sites to have a close-by all-level MHE trainer available. “We can conduct training when needed, we don’t have to wait to get it.”    

In addition to ensuring Disposition personnel get trained to the highest level possible, Marshall has been putting in time instructing members of other DLA entities across the installation. He recently helped a dozen DLA Land and Maritime employees either earn their initial MHE licensure or get theirs renewed.

Nate Creech, the MHE program manager for DLA Disposition Services, encouraged all agency drivers to ensure they are using proper risk management in their daily operations.

“Safety is our main concern,” Creech said.  “Folks need to ensure they are qualified and especially licensed on the equipment they operate at their sites. … We have [instructors] strategically placed throughout the agency.  If any operator needs training, re-training, or has any questions regarding training, they are able to come to us and we will get them the help they need.”