Employee Spotlight: Christopher King

By DLA Aviation Public Affairs

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Employee spotlight regularly features outstanding non-supervisory personnel from throughout the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation and other DLA employees on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia. Organizational directors may submit names of employees they wish to feature in this column to DLA Aviation Public Affairs. For more information, call (804) 279-3139. 
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Name: Christopher King

Organization: DLA Aviation-Cherry Point

Years of Service: 22 years federal civilian service

What is your job title, and what do you do, specifically? As a customer support specialist lead, I serve as the primary Defense Logistics Agency Aviation face to the engines’ industrial customer on a host of wide-ranging issues, involving DLA-managed consumables, and ensuring the timely processing of customer orders and customer access to product, account and order information.

I lead an extraordinary team that participates daily in the order fulfillment process by tracking the receiving, processing and delivering of customer direct requisitions and requisition alerts to our end user and production customer, Fleet Readiness Center East, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina. We do this in support of FRC East’s mission of “generating combat airpower for America’s Marines and Naval forces."

What do you like most about your job? There are new challenges every day. The schematics of our customer support approach calls for agility and diversities every day.

What is your fondest memory of working for DLA Aviation? Though I have been serving for 22 years, my fondest memory is a recent one. Our culture chairman led a committee that helped raise funds for our entire DLA Aviation-Cherry Point command to attend a first-class, catered Christmas Party-free of charge. For me, that was a "People First" campaign that really brought our organization together.

What kind(s) of training and education helps your work performance in your current role? Obviously, I feel continuous training on our systems to be able to better leverage results for our industrial customer helps performance, as well as, leadership training. I echo a statement by one of our previous commanders, "Our people are our No.1 commodity." I am blessed to be a leader in a number of civilian entities to include my own non-profit organization; but we must constantly refine and improve our skills to effectively lead a dynamic and diverse workforce deeper into the 21st century.

What would you say has been your major contributions to your organization this year in your job? This year, accepting the lead position in the Engines Branch has been my major contribution. For 18 years I figured my style of leadership would not work in my organization, but I feel like it has been welcomed and I have a team that is energized and profoundly capable of fulfilling our mission every day!

What aspect(s) of your current job gives you the most personal satisfaction and why? The organic approach we take in providing direct customer support gives me the most satisfaction. The demands of industrial support are varied; and, we face them every single day. From our cell chief on down, it is a shared contribution to our daily purpose of specializing in customer support 

If you could speak directly to the warfighters you support, what would you tell them? Our team recognizes that the needs you face in theater are complex, diverse and lives are at stake. You have our daily commitment to support you with fidelity and excellence as you continue to defend our grateful nation.

What was your first job? At 14 years old, I was hired as a baseball field grounds keeper in Lorain, Ohio. I ensured four fields were maintained for weekly little league games. I was excited because I was hired through the Youth Summer Employment Program, and $250 bucks every two weeks was a lot of cash back then.

What advice would you have given yourself 10 years ago?  I would have told myself to spend 50% less than I made.

Where do you see yourself five years from now? I see myself in another echelon of leadership both in this organization, as well as, in private industry.

What is the most surprising/unexpected thing others don’t know about you? I was homeless for six months as an 11-year-old kid and completely took care of myself.

What’s your biggest pet peeve? My biggest pet peeve is when ideas are not shared vertically ... only horizontally.

What are some of your passions outside of work? My No.1 passion is spending time with family, then: inspiring our youth, training leaders, helping my community and expanding the work of my non-profit.

What’s the most thrilling/adventurous thing you have ever done? The most thrilling thing I’ve done was speaking at the North Carolina state capitol advising legislatures about the needs of our youth. It was a thrill; but I was scared to death.

If you had a theme song, what would it be and why?  Africa by Toto...that is a timeless song.

If you could pick a personal motto, what would it be? Impact one life, one day at a time.

Who is the most influential person in your life ... past or present? My foster mom, Ruth E. Plowden, was the most influential person in my life.

Who is your favorite actor or actress and why? Denzel Washington is my favorite actor. He doesn't set the bar; he IS the bar.

What is your favorite military aircraft?  Why? The Harrier was my favorite aircraft because I have supported it since 1994.

If you could start your life over again, what would you do differently? Nothing, at this stage in my life it is not about the pursuit of things, promotions or more acclaim. The life I have lived has been a blessing far greater that I could imagine.

What is your proudest accomplishment? My proudest accomplishment is watching my kids carve out their own path in life. I have seven kids, each one is distinctly different and unique.

What is/are your favorite book(s), television show(s) or movie(s)? My favorite book is “The Life of the Bee” by Maurice Maeterlinck. Best book ever!

What type of music do you most enjoy? I enjoy gospel, jazz and 80s rock (It truly is eipc!)

Have you had a mentor that helped you grow in your career?  If so who, and how did they help? Yes, two mentors stand out - Mr. Mike Harold and Mr. Jesse Stilley. Those men helped me navigate the nuances of working for the federal government. Mike was my direct mentor for years. He taught me about the motors we build, how to focus on the customer and how to have fun and laugh at work. I still call him frequently and though he's been retired for more than 10 years, he still knows the part numbers to the F402 Engine. Mr. Stilley was an unbelievable supervisor. He demanded a high level of excellence, but he also fostered team unity and togetherness. As a shop, we did a lot of things together outside of work. He treated us like family.  He was simply an awesome boss!