Editor’s note: The Defense Logistics Agency recognizes May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. In honor of their contributions to the agency’s global mission, DLA is highlighting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who work day in and day out to provide logistics support to America’s warfighters.
My name is: Christina Young
I am: Director of DLA’s Office of Small Business Programs
Describe your job in a sentence: I have one of the best jobs in DLA. I assist small businesses and support the warfighter simultaneously.
How long have you worked at DLA? 31 years and 11 months
What is your favorite thing about working for DLA? Our mission. There is no question who we support every day.
What are your best memories of working here? The people and building relationships – many remain lifelong friends and mentors. Some of my favorite memories include the Germany Post, Camps and Stations Program, where I was able to use my six years of German language study, as well as training multinational forces in acquisition as part of the Logistics Exchange Program and helping small businesses navigate the world of DLA Acquisition.
How do you make a difference? I love helping vendors. There are some days that a business owner is so frustrated and I have the ability to facilitate a solution. I had a vendor call regarding a proposal for cancer research that was due by close of business on a Friday afternoon to the National Institutes of Health, but he was unable to obtain his CAGE code. (Yes, we own this in DLA!) Although not a traditional vendor in our office’s lane, the stars aligned and through a team effort between my office, DLA Acquisition and DLA Information Operations, we were able to get him a CAGE code and he was able to submit his proposal. That moment sticks with me. My office helps small businesses daily and it is amazingly rewarding.
What is one thing you’d like others to know about your heritage? Ethnically, I am of Chinese descent. My mom was a naturalized citizen. Her family left Shanghai before the Communist Revolution and is the first generation of her family in the United States. My dad’s parents immigrated to the United States in the 1920s and had a business in Philadelphia’s Chinatown, which was established in the 1870s by immigrants. This unique neighborhood includes businesses and residences owned by and serving the Chinese-American community and remains the only “Chinatown” in Pennsylvania. If you ask any Philadelphian, they typically have one favorite restaurant that their family has been patronizing there for generations.
Why is it important to you that we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month? From my perspective, it’s a great time to reflect on the previous generations that endured hardship and struggle that paved the way for numerous privileges we enjoy today. I am grateful to have spent time with my grandparents and other relatives and to have heard their stories. That historical dialogue is so easily lost, especially as older generations age, unless we make a focused effort to share them. I am certain that my life would have been incredibly different if my ancestors had not come to the United States. My dad served as a missile instructor and one of my uncles was a medic during the Korean War. Another uncle was part of Army Gen. Dwight Eisenhower’s entourage in World War II, and one of my cousins retired from the Army as a chemical engineer/environmentalist. My family has a long history of military service with the United States. I could not be a prouder American working to support the courageous men and women of our Armed Forces.