News | Oct. 18, 2019

Employees share knowledge learned during rotation with their co-workers

By Cathy Hopkins DLA Aviation Public Affairs

Have you ever wanted to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes? Well, John Horton and Justin Wills just did – for six months.

Horton, a sustainment specialist with Defense Logistics Agency Aviation - Cherry Point, North Carolina, and Wills, a logistics management specialist/analyst at Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, completed an intense job rotation program and returned to their home stations this past September. The rotation program, the first of its kind between DLA Aviation and Commander Fleet Readiness Centers, began in April.

Nancy Calvao, DLA Aviation’s retail industrial program manager in the Customer Operations Directorate’s Fusion Operations Division, said the program goals were for Wills to learn more about procurement processes from cradle-to-grave and Horton to be exposed to depot component planning and production.

Wills said he now has an understanding of DLA major subordinate command operations and its relation to their overall mission.

“It was enlightening to learn how DLA works with the Naval Fleet demand and supply chain to include relationships across the DLA enterprise; furthermore, [I now] understand the operational and industrial support [DLA] provides to the joint services to include customer and demand planner collaboration,” Wills said. “Finally, being able to articulate DLA’s strategic acquisition process in support of service readiness will be a great benefit to my peers at COMFRC.”

Wills said the developmental assignment was a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity for him and the experience was phenomenal.

“I am beyond grateful to everyone who helped me get here, worked with me while I was here and the new professional relationships we have established that will continue to support me in my efforts when I return to COMFRC,” he said.  

Wills is thankful to everyone he came into contact with during the program who helped plant a continuous growing seed into his life to not only give back to his organization, but also to help shape future knowledge, and push current/future COMFRC employees to gain the same level of understanding and experience he gained from the DLA rotation.

Horton echoed Wills and also felt the program was a great opportunity to gain experience and a greater understanding of what he does as an inventory management specialist whose workload is tied directly to the fleet’s mission.

“Being at COMFRC gave me a great perspective of how material gets inducted into the fleet and down to the FRCs,” Horton said.  “I was under the great tutorage of National Components Leader Linster Dillahunt.”  Horton said Dillahunt was a great teacher of the importance of representing accurate data which is reported to headquarters on a daily basis.

“Being at COMFRC for this six-month rotation, was a great opportunity to see how accurate data, accurate note taking and making this information available, is paramount to the fleet,” Horton said. 

“Going back to DLA Aviation, will help me promote this with my co-workers. It is my hope that this rotation continues between COMFRC and DLA Aviation,” Horton said. “I want to thank every person who displayed their professionalism and help during this rotation. It makes any assignment easier when others lend their knowledge and expertise.”

While this was the first rotation between DLA and COMFRC, Calvao feels that it will not be the last. 

Calvao praised Wills’ self-motivation, enthusiasm and can-do attitude, saying it was energizing, inspiring and duly noted by everyone he worked with.  

“Justin took this opportunity to grow and develop skills that will last him a lifetime,” she said. “His well thought out ideas and suggestions were considered welcomed contributions. His abilities and contributions are an important key to the success of any operation; he should take pride in knowing that he is a key member of DLA’s workforce.”