BATTLE CREEK, Mich. –
Disposition Service Director, Pacific Region
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Can you tell us about yourself? I retired from the U.S. Navy after serving 23 years and have been a DOD civilian employee for another 15 years. Outside of work, I’m an outdoor enthusiast. Living in Hawaii, with great weather year-round, there’s never a day that I’m not able to get out to either trail run, cycle or surf. As a certified health and nutrition coach and personal trainer, I also enjoy coaching and helping others reach their fitness goals.
Describe your job in a sentence or two. As the Disposition Services Director, Pacific Region, I provide oversight to 12 field sites spanning from Alaska to Thailand. The team supports warfighter reverse logistics requirements throughout the Indo-Pacific and Oceana regions.
How long have you worked for the federal government, including military service? 38 years.
How long have you worked for DLA Disposition Services? Five years.
What is your favorite thing about your line of work? Every day is full of new challenges, it’s a very dynamic environment. Fortunately, I have a very professional and competent support team that allows us to tackle these challenges head on and ensure optimum warfighter support.
What is the best piece of advice someone has given you? San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice said “Today, I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.” Those words ring true in both my professional and personal life. Getting out of my comfort zone and tackling the tasks that others didn’t want to do has been key to promoting my learning and growth.
What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess? Empathy separates one from just being a boss to being a leader. Empathy leads to understanding and fosters strong relationships.
What is your leadership philosophy and how does that tie into your line of work? As I’ve matured as a leader, my chief focus has been on being a servant leader. This approach has been instrumental in affording me the opportunity to enable the most amazing teams to be fully equipped and postured for success.
How would you describe your leadership style and why has it worked so well for you? As a servant leader, my style focuses on my role as a provider. It’s crucial as leaders that we provide the proper tools to allow our teammates to optimally perform their duties. As leaders, we need to ensure that our folks are fully trained, provided a safe work environment, that they are properly recognized, that they are challenged and offered growth opportunities, and that all are provided a work environment that fosters innovation, collaboration and a positive organizational culture.
Can you share a story of when you realized your efforts were making a difference? I’ve seen a difference in our hiring practices and recruitment successes across the Pacific region. Field leaders have been allocated the required human capital management tools and empowered with the decision-making authority to facilitate solid recruitment efforts. The results have been remarkable, nurturing an extremely competent and capable workforce.
Tell us how you approach change. I embrace change, realizing that change will always be constant in our dynamic work environment. I promote teammates to remain flexible and always be willing to adapt.
What keeps you motivated. Achieving results and being part of facilitating success in others.
What do you look for when evaluating top talent? I place a heavy emphasis on soft skills over technical skills. It’s crucial that new talent has the attributes that can enhance the capacities and capabilities of the team.
What do you believe is your biggest accomplishment and why? My biggest achievement was earning a commission as a naval officer. I grew up in a blue-collar community, so for me it was huge because I was the first in my family to earn a college degree and to be a commissioned officer in the armed forces. Additionally, my time in the Navy provided me the opportunity to develop as a leader.
What are your best practices for achieving goals or accomplishing tasks? First and foremost, it’s crucial that goals and tasks are adequately communicated … what needs to be achieved. Secondly, get team buy-in, make it theirs to achieve, not solely yours. Establish action steps and timeline milestones. Communicate, communicate, communicate!
What do you see as your biggest challenge right now? A lot of employee churn, to include a large turnover of field leadership positions. Yet I’m confident that with our solid hiring practices and workplace attraction of DLA Disposition Services to prospective employees, I’m assured that we will be successful in recruiting robust talent.
Why is networking to build professional relationships so important in achieving success? The synergy of the network is so much more powerful than one’s sole efforts and it expands access to an abundance of resources.
What mistakes have you seen individuals make that prevent them from being successful? People confuse working hard and long hours with success. They fail to properly prioritize and achieve meaningful results. I compare it to a fast runner going the wrong way. Yes, really fast, yet never going to win any races.
What would you have done differently in your career if given the opportunity? In my earliest of supervisory positions, I only knew how to be a boss, I lacked leadership empathy. Fortunately, since then I have had the pleasure to work with amazing leaders that have shaped me and continue to contribute to my growth as an empathetic leader.
Name your favorite/recent book you have read. “John McCain: An American Hero” by Beatrice Gormley.
Tell us something that most people might not know about you or your directorate? Not sure that most know that Disposition Services Pacific region is comprised of 50% foreign national employees. That composition brings an amazing dynamic to the workforce and affords an opportunity for the sharing of wonderful cultures and diverse learning experiences. If people are looking for an exciting growth opportunity, I strongly encourage all to pursue opportunities to join the Pacific team.
What was your first job? I grew up working on farms and was very young when I entered the workforce. It was challenging work, yet very rewarding and provided the cornerstone of my work ethic and my love for the outdoors.
What is your best memory of working here? The professional and personal relationships that I have fostered within DLA have been very fulfilling; an amazing team of professionals, very gratified to be part of the team.
What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be an aerospace engineer. Though it never came to full fruition, I had the opportunity to be part of naval aviation for over 30 years.
Who is your hero? My mom. She taught my siblings and I the importance of commitment, community, and of giving. I owe her for who I am today.
If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be? To cycle with my best cycling buddies through the French Pyrenees. It’s on my bucket list.
What are your hobbies? Anything outdoors, with cycling, trail running and surfing topping the list.
What is your favorite quote? “Be Stronger than Your Excuses” – Anonymous
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.