DLA Energy graduates 21 PaCE students

By Irene Smith DLA Energy Public Affairs

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Stepping forward in their careers, 21 Defense Logistics Agency Energy interns graduated from the Pathways to Career Excellence Program at the McNamara Headquarters Complex, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Oct. 24.

The DLA PaCE Program is an Agency-sponsored developmental program designed to prepare entry-level associates for success at the journey level in their chosen career fields.

PaCE trains new personnel in professional, administrative and technological career fields by putting students through on-the-job assignments, cross training, rotational assignments and formal instruction. The graduation marks the end of a two-year effort preparing civil servants to support the Warfighter.

Gabby Earhardt, the director of DLA Energy Supplier Operations, began her career as an intern in the PaCE program. As the keynote speaker, Earhardt shared her enthusiasm for the interns’ accomplishments.

“I trust in your abilities to do the hard things, and I trust in your abilities to be great!” Earhardt said. “We saw amazing potential in all of you – it’s why we hand-picked you for this program. We knew you would bring something unique and special to the agency.”

Contract Specialist Matt Womer served in the U.S. Marine Corps and worked with DLA overseas in Iran and Afghanistan. He found logistics interesting and decided to pursue a career in federal acquisition. He choose DLA for the opportunities in contracting.

“A benefit of the PaCE Program is that it includes the opportunity to earn both Level I and II DLA Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act Contracting Certification,” Womer said. “These help provide the foundation for a promising future in contracting.” 

The interns appreciated the attention and assistance they received throughout the program.

“Diana Sponseller, Phyllis Webster-Trombley, Marybeth Sandman, and Frankie Silver were great in providing guidance and helping the transitioning to the workforce,” Womer said. “I would like to thank all of them, without their help Group 34’s road traveled would have had a lot more bumps.” 

Earhardt cautioned the 21 DLA interns that their hard work was not over and that tough decisions and hard questions about their future lie ahead.

“What’s next? What kind of leader do I want to be? How can I best contribute to this agency, to the DoD, to the Warfighter, and to the nation?” Earhardt said. “These are the challenges that will test you.”

The DLA PaCE Program is an important tool in recruiting, developing and retaining a talented acquisition workforce.  

“Utility Services had eight graduates in this graduation,” said Martha Gray, director of DLA Energy Utility Services. “All eight are exceptional men and women that greatly enhance the quality of our workforce. Our division fully supports the program and the exceptional start it gives to folks entering the contracting field.”