News | Nov. 2, 2020

DLA Energy Americas leadership addresses workforce

By Connie Braesch DLA Energy Public Affairs

Sharing regional news and recognizing employee accomplishments, Defense Logistics Agency Energy Americas held a virtual all hands from Houston, Texas, Oct. 21.  

“I really look forward to these engagements to share what is happening across the region and pat the workforce on the back, especially in the current COVID-19 environment,” said the DLA Energy Americas Commander Army Col. Raphael Heflin.

The region is spread out over three offices and two time zones: DLA Energy Americas East is in Houston, Texas; Americas West is in San Pedro, California; and Americas North is in Alaska.

In an October DLA Energy-wide strategic communication working group meeting, town halls were identified as a critical workforce communication tool. DLA Energy Americas East Deputy Director Shona Lawrence, a member of the strategic communication working group, said DLA Energy senior leadership keeps employees engaged through All Hands and Supervisor Town Halls.

“My employees get excited about town halls, even virtual ones,” she said. “Town halls bring employees together.” 

Heflin began by thanking the entire team of 159 employees. 

“I’ve been fortunate to be a part of the Americas team for about four months now, and I’m just amazed at what you do every day,” he said. “I’ve personally witnessed how you collectively come together to help each other while simultaneously ensuring the mission never fails. That is a mark of a world-class workforce.”  

DLA Energy Americas has been in a fulltime telework posture since March 2020 because of COVID-19. The command relies on virtual communication tools like videoconferencing apps and conference calls to foster communication among its workforce and recognize performance.

Heflin acknowledged the importance of being flexible and adaptive in mission execution, particularly with COVID-19. 

“As challenges or requirements presented themselves you clearly took ownership of what needed to be done with passion and found ways to ensure our supply chains remained safe, resilient, and reliable to meet demands,” Heflin said. “It takes superb teamwork across all levels of the organization.”

Heflin encouraged employees to complete the Denison Culture and Climate Survey and discussed voting and the Hatch Act, fully integrating the Reserve workforce, operating in an Artic environment, and leadership engagements including a visit by the DLA Energy Commander and a regional offsite with Americas leaders. 

With the upcoming Veterans Day approaching, widely viewed as the beginning of the winter safety campaign, Heflin encouraged employees to practice good health, safety and self-care.

“I think we would all agree that 2020 has been a year like no other,” he said. “The Employee Assistance Program and Military OneSource offer resources including counseling, health and wellness, crisis assistance, and more. Using these programs helps to strengthen your resilience, especially in these challenging times.”  

DLA Energy Americas Deputy Director Jason Exum took the stage to discuss human resources topics including leave, telework and post-COVID reconstitution. He announced recent promotions and advancement selections, mentioned incoming and outgoing members and recognized recent employee accomplishments. 
Several Americas members were nominated for the 53rd Annual DLA Employee Recognition Program including Randy Banez, Air Force Tech Sgt. Zachary Beggin, Jennifer Bertone, Jason Hill, Heather Huhn, Terry Poole, Brian Reed, Daniel Schmidt, Roger Sudtelgte, Gabe Tarango, Michael van Dongen and Joshua Zehler. Also nominated are the Defense Fuel Support Point Carson Fire Response Team from Americas West and Supplier Operations and Quality Teams from Americas East. These members will compete with other agency-wide nominees before award winners are selected.

“In our current virtual environment, we still want to ensure we are recognizing these outstanding team players,” said DLA Energy Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Jimmy Canlas in an email to the workforce. “And we all know that no one succeeds alone, so I offer my personal thanks to everyone who was part of the larger team that continues to make us successful day-in and day-out.”

Heflin and Exum answered a few employee questions before closing all hands discussion.