COLUMBUS, Ohio –
From teaching high school mathematics in Mission, Texas, to juggling the demanding responsibilities as a member of the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime’s senior leadership team, the professional journey has taken Ben Roberts on a 33-year experience as a member of the U.S. Civilian Service that ends with his June 30 retirement.
As Deputy Director of Maritime Supplier Operations, Roberts manages more than 600 civilian and military associates while executing the management and acquisition of almost 1.5 million consumable items. Those items directly impact the maintenance and operations of weapon systems affecting the readiness of the U.S. Armed Forces and its allies.
“Ben has been remarkably focused over his 23-year tenure with Land and Maritime,” said DLA Land and Maritime Commander Navy Rear Adm. John T. Palmer. “He’s helped manage both the land and maritime supply chains while here, so he clearly knows our business and helps to sustain our commitment to our primary responsibility of supporting our warfighters. We are a better, stronger, and safer nation because of Ben’s excellent work. It’s been a pleasure serving with him.”
Roberts began his DLA career as an operations research analyst at DLA’s Operations Research Office in Richmond, Virginia, in 1987, and successfully navigated advancement as he managed a series of logistics operational challenges demanding ever-increasing responsibilities. During his time at DLA Land and Maritime his contributions were crucial to enhancing both operational performance and readiness culture, which helped create one of the most respected and reliable supply chains within DLA.
“I’ve absolutely enjoyed my career with DLA and although I started my career in Richmond, Land and Maritime is my real home. I’ve learned and grown so much and am thankful to have worked with some of the most dedicated people in DLA -- it’s been an incredible journey,” Roberts said.
Highlights during Roberts’ Land and Maritime tenure include leading his team to improving material availability of high frequency items (Super KID) by 2.79 percent to an all-time high of 98.8 percent in just 12 months. This phenomenal effort also propelled overall MA to an all-time high of 90.61 percent in January 2020. Achieving that one-month record for MA also enabled Maritime to post a 12-month cumulative MA that exceeded 90 percent, a historical first in its operations.
Additionally, Roberts managed DLA Land and Maritime’s Navy Nuclear Reactor Program (21N) with such precision that it exceeded the joint agreement of 95 percent program material availability. His team expertly sustained those MA metrics above 95 percent every month under his leadership.
Though he has held several progressively challenging assignments with Land and Maritime, Roberts said that his last three were his most rewarding because of the challenge, growth and reward they provided. They included positions as Land and Maritime Comptroller and deputy director assignments in both Land Supplier Operations and Maritime Supplier Operations.
A highly sought-after mentor, Roberts was actively engaged in training and shaping the next generation of DLA leaders. He formally mentored seven Tier III Program protégés, introducing them to Land and Maritime’s leaders and exposing them to strategic and relevant issues. His mantra to all associates stressed the importance of sharing knowledge with other DLA associates they encountered.
“Mentoring future leaders is one of most critical endeavors for an organization if it’s going to sustain itself,” Roberts said. “I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to glean experience from Ivan Hall and Dennis Canterbury, both former Land and Maritime pillars and Hall of Fame members. Their input helped me understand my commitment to our Warfighter First support mission.”
Complementing his mission dedication, Roberts also engaged in the development of its overall culture of diversity and inclusion by serving as the Latin American Special Emphasis Program Executive Champion, a role he’s performed for the past 10 years.
Those efforts positively impacted the employment, professional development and advancement of Latin Americans who work at DLA Land and Maritime. His leadership in areas of diversity and inclusion were recognized by DLA with awards for Achievement in Equal Employment Opportunity by a Supervisor or Manager on multiple occasions.
“I’d like to thank everyone I’ve worked with during my time at Land and Maritime and wish you all the best as you continue performing our world class mission of supporting our warfighters,” Roberts said. “It’s been great working with you!”