With a dose of humor and a few nods to his hometown of Philadelphia, Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence introduced himself to DLA Troop Support workforce during his first town hall meeting as commander, on July 10.
During the event, he discussed his personal and professional backgrounds, outlined his leadership philosophy, spoke about his vision for Troop Support’s future, and gave updates on new senior leaders and upcoming events.
Lawrence grew up in Roslyn, a suburb near Philadelphia, and is a proud graduate of Bishop McDevitt High School in Wyncote, Pa., he said. He then attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he played varsity football for four years and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in International Relations.
Lawrence said he’s “absolutely delighted” to be back in Philadelphia. Not only did he grow up in the area, but he served as an aide-to-camp at DLA Troop Support’s legacy organization, Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, 16 years ago.
He’s still a diehard fan of Philadelphia sports and donned an Eagles cap during the town hall to prove it.
Lawrence spoke about his family, starting with his wife of 23 years, Becky.
“In most social circles, I’m known as Becky’s husband,” he said.
He and his wife have three children, a grandson and a family dog named Kai.
Lawrence has spent more than 24 years in the Army, where he served with the 82nd Airborne Division, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and the 25th Infantry Division.
Prior to becoming the DLA Troop Support commander, Lawrence was the G-4 (logistics) Deputy Director of Operations for the Headquarters, Department of the Army, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
Lawrence outlined his leadership philosophy with five pillars: compassion, character, commitment, competence and courage.
“I believe as a leader, we need to treat others in accordance with the golden rule,” he said about compassion. “Treat others as you would want to be treated. Treat everyone with dignity and respect as members of the team.”
Lawrence’s definition of commitment applies to the organization’s support of warfighters.
“It’s incumbent upon all of us to bring our best every time we come into this compound, because of what we do, each and every one of us, all of our roles, ultimately affects the readiness of our services, the readiness of our combatant commands, and the readiness of the warfighters serving at the tip of the spear,” he said.
All five pillars build the bedrock of a great organization, which is trust within the workforce, from headquarters, with industry partners and customers, Lawrence said.
Lawrence described his leadership style and told employees his personable approach may bring him to their work areas to ask questions.
“As the commander here, I think it’s important that I learn the business of DLA Troop Support,” he said, “and the only way I get to do that is by engaging with each and every one of you. I am honest. I tell it like it is. And I’ll ask questions.”
However, this doesn’t mean he is out to “sharp shoot” anyone, he said.
“Really, the intent is for me to learn, as the commander, the business that we do, why we’re doing certain things,” Lawrence said. “I have absolute trust and confidence in you, as members of the DLA Troop Support team, in what you’re doing. But it’s part as my learning, as your commander [to ask questions].”
As a leader, Lawrence said he loves opportunities to spotlight excellence, which is another way he can provide positive leadership in the organization.
After taking over command two weeks ago, Lawrence said his initial impression of DLA Troop Support is that it has “a superb reputation.”
“You are known as a high-performing organization, and that’s outside the agency and at the highest levels of leadership within,” he said.
“There is no doubt in terms of the depth and complexity of what you do day in and day out,” he continued. “And I want to let you know that it’s appreciated at the highest levels.”
As for the current DLA Troop Support fiscal year 2019 Campaign Plan, Lawrence said he intends to maintain the course set by former DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Mark T. Simerly. The Campaign outlines the organization’s lines of efforts of warfighter support, strong partnerships, people and culture and performance.