News | Oct. 1, 2020

Leadership Spotlight: Al Hight

DLA Disposition Services Public Affairs

 

Al Hight

Equal Employment Manager
Battle Creek, Michigan

Al Hight in a grey suit with a blue background
Al Hight
Al Hight is the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services Equal Employment Manager based out of Battle Creek, Michigan. Hight has worked for the federal government for 38 years.
Photo By: Courtesy Photo
VIRIN: 200910-D-D0441-700

Describe your job in a sentence or two. My job is to ensure that our agency follows the Title VII laws. We do this through developing relationships with our workforce that include diversity and culture and educating, training and awareness of all assigned staff.

How long have you worked for the federal government including military service? I’ve been with the federal government for about 38 years total, 28yrs of those years were spent serving in the Air Force.

How long have you worked for DLA Disposition Services? 6 years

What is your favorite thing about your line of work? My favorite thing about my line of work is making a difference in the agency and in individual lives. Seeing the positive effects at our headquarters, field sites and subordinate command is great. As a team, we have made tremendous strides for all our employees in equal employment opportunity, diversity and culture.

What is the best piece of advice someone has given you? The best piece of advice I have received is to treat all people with respect and dignity. If you do, they will typically treat you the same way.

Awards/Recognition: Throughout my career, I have received many awards and recognitions. One that stands out for me in DLA was in 2015 when I was honored as one of the Top 10 Employees for DOD and DLA.

What is your leadership philosophy and how does that tie into your line of work? My leadership philosophy is being a great follower, generally leads to being a great leader. Meaning never ask your people to do something that you are not willing to do yourself. Set the example. Lead by example.

Can you share a story when you realized your efforts were making a difference? I realized my efforts were really making a difference when we saw our complaint levels decrease after we started visiting all the DLA Disposition Services sites. Prior to us going out, we were receiving many complaints. This was partially because people did not know who we were or how to contact us. After three and a half years of this campaign, our complaint level dropped about 90% because people knew the rules and knew who we were as our pictures and contact information are at each site. As a result, our complaints department had to restructure and are now able to focus on other areas within EEO.

Tell us how you approach change. One of my favorite books about change is “Who Moved the Cheese.” We use this philosophy during our site visits to help others with change. As many know, we [DLA Disposition Services] recently had a large network optimization. This impacted many of our people and their families. As a result, many people did not want to change, receive new supervisors, jobs and, in some cases, move to new location. In the book two characters, Hem and Haw, learned that eventually you must change to move forward or get left behind. You must change with the time. Helping our folks understand that change isn’t always negative, but a necessity vital to our line of work. For instance, the U.S. cavalry of 250,000 troops was great in the 1800s, but a couple of our helicopters and tanks in today’s Army can, in some cases, do more than a whole battalion from the 1800s. At some point, you must change. The philosophy stays the same, but the methods must change to meet the current environment. It is always wise to stay current without losing focus of the end goal.

What keeps you motivated? For me, it is the positive change in folks and the movement towards understanding and reasoning together as a people. This doesn’t mean that people will always agree. We can agree to disagree and still move forward together to meet a common goal for the greater good. We live in a nation where our greatest strength is diversity. It is also our greatest challenge. When we say we are Americans, we can be from many backgrounds and culture from around the world. Most other countries share the same culture and history. In America, especially in larger cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio etc.… you will see a melting pot of all the cultures. That’s what is great about the U.S., we can pull ideals and concepts from every continent in the world. We’re multi culture; not just one mindset. At the same time, the challenge is to ensure we maintain our common goal of freedom and equality for all people. When we lose sight of the common goal as one people or ideal it's my belief that’s when we will begin to dispel as an nation.

What do you look for when evaluating top talent? I look for sincerity, can do attitude, positive outlook, resilient, foresight, kindness and strong interpersonal will.

What do you believe is your biggest accomplishment and why? On the job here at DLA, my biggest accomplishment is getting the folks in DLA Disposition Services to know more about all the various services EEO has to offer. We do more than just complaints. EEO also handles Schedule A disabilities services, reasonable accommodations, veteran services, special emphasis programs, Workforce Recruitment Program, reviews of interviewing panels, employee training, 4 Lens Training, interpreter service, 508 compliance, mediations services and much more.

What are your best practices for achieving goals or accomplishing tasks? The best practice is to lead by example first, evaluate, regroup and do it again. I have a saying in my area: clear, concise and doable and education, training and awareness. Once you make it clear, concise and doable; you can educate, train and raise awareness.

What do you see as your biggest challenge right now? On the Job, The greatest challenge is climate in the work place. It’s is always changing, and we must be able to address, change and adapt to positive measures that help enhance our opportunity to support the War Fighter. We have two major roles in EEO. First, we must educate, train and ensure awareness of our employees regarding EEO. That it’s the law [Title VII Laws] and we must abide by it. Secondly, we provide diversity and culture training and practices to management, supervisor and employees. These tools will be used to educate, train and provide awareness to avoid violating the EEO laws.

Why is networking to build professional relationships so important in achieving success? It’s vital to have interpersonal relationships. Any job or task requires relationships and bonds. Interpersonal relationships help you learn and understand others. It also offers a greater insight to other interpretations. In addition, it can help you avoid trenches, keeps you open minded and helps you navigate the terrain. You will learn to utilize the resources and benefit from those who have been in similar situation that can provide great insight. Once you have an understanding, you can pave away forward using your networking skills to helps achieve your end goal.

What mistakes have you seen individuals make that prevent them from being successful? Not listening, lack of respecting others, unwilling to taking advise, not reasoning and working together and knowing it all.

What would you have done differently in your career if given the opportunity? I would listen more, be patient and never take for granted the foundation that others laid before me; and don’t take no as the final answer, believe and trust in myself and abilities.

What are you currently reading? I am currently reading “How Successful People Think” by John C. Maxwell. Throughout the year, I read so many different books on leadership and speaking. I am a Toastmaster and reading and educating myself is important because when you speak, the first few words you speak will say a lot about you to include, where you are from, your education level and if they are interested enough to continue listening.

Tell us something that most people might not know about you? I love listing to, performing and writing music.

What was your first job? A was a golf caddy.

What is your best memory of working here? There are a lot of great memories, although I would have to say one of the best ones was seeing our EEO office employees really be appreciated for the job that they do. They all work very hard to ensure to provide the best service and to hear the DLA Director say outstanding mean a lot to our folks.

What did you want to be when you grew up? President of the United States.

Who is your hero? On the religious side, I would say my hero is Jesus Christ. On a humane side, I would say all my ancestors that came before me who laid the foundation for me. To me they are true heroes, people willing to stand up and give their lives for what they believed in.

If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be? I would change the mindset of people so they could see through others’ eyes or walk in their shoes for a while. My hope would be that at the end of the day they would have an appreciation for others.

What are your hobbies? I enjoy reading, camping, hiking, white water rafting, travel and meeting people.

What is your favorite quote? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.


Employee and leadership spotlight regularly features outstanding personnel from throughout the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services and other DLA organizations located at the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center in Battle Creek, Michigan. Organizational directors may submit feature request to DLA Disposition Services Public Affairs.