News | Jan. 24, 2021

Former military officer now molds future civilian leaders

By Tim Hoyle DLA Disposition Service

Among the challenges of the pandemic is offering personnel development program for new trainees that goes beyond classrooms for on-the-job assignments, cross-training and rotational opportunities, but such is the job of the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services’ new Pathways to Career Excellence Program Manager Steve Wilson.

As the former commander of nearby Fort Custer, Wilson is no stranger to developing talent in new personnel and overseeing training. His service in command and staff assignments with the Army National Guard is something he believes gave him ample opportunities to develop and invest in the personal and professional development of future leaders.

“The PaCE program is an excellent opportunity to expand upon those experiences of teaching, coaching, assessing and developing the future leaders,” Wilson said.

As program manager, he will guide participants on a two-year training evolution for entry-level personnel to prepare them for subsequent advancement in professional, administrative and technological career fields, graduating the program as a General Schedule-11 employee. He said that maintaining flexibility will certainly be key given the current operating environment.

“Leveraging technology to achieve, not only training objectives, but virtual in-person communication and interaction will continue to be the priority as we move through a safe reconstitution plan,” Wilson said.

DLA Disposition Services Director Mike Cannon swears in new Pathways to Career Excellence Program participants at a Jan. 7 Oath of Office event. Shown taking the oath in the front row are, from left to right, Sabrina Young, Danielle Woods, and Margarietta Glass. In the back row are Jeremiah Burns, Michael Vaughn, Ryan Riedel, and Brandon Awkerman.
DLA Disposition Services Director Mike Cannon swears in new Pathways to Career Excellence Program participants at a Jan. 7 Oath of Office event. Shown taking the oath in the front row are, from left to right, Sabrina Young, Danielle Woods, and Margarietta Glass. In the back row are Jeremiah Burns, Michael Vaughn, Ryan Riedel, and Brandon Awkerman.
DLA Disposition Services Director Mike Cannon swears in new Pathways to Career Excellence Program participants at a Jan. 7 Oath of Office event. Shown taking the oath in the front row are, from left to right, Sabrina Young, Danielle Woods, and Margarietta Glass. In the back row are Jeremiah Burns, Michael Vaughn, Ryan Riedel, and Brandon Awkerman.
Taking the oath
DLA Disposition Services Director Mike Cannon swears in new Pathways to Career Excellence Program participants at a Jan. 7 Oath of Office event. Shown taking the oath in the front row are, from left to right, Sabrina Young, Danielle Woods, and Margarietta Glass. In the back row are Jeremiah Burns, Michael Vaughn, Ryan Riedel, and Brandon Awkerman.
Photo By: Nina Ekblad
VIRIN: 210114-D-D0441-001

Wilson said his first imperative is to get to know the current program participants, their backgrounds as well as their goals and objectives, both personally and professionally.

“A close second will be to understand the program of instruction and phased requirements in order to effectively execute a plan that not only meets, but exceeds the participants’ expectations so that they move into positions of greater responsibility with a solid foundation to build upon,” Wilson said.  

Development Branch Chief Jenny Norvey said Wilson’s “wealth of leadership experience, background in human capital investment, and strong history of excellent relationship management” would benefit the program as well as current and future PaCE groups. 

“I look forward to him building relationships with the DLA Disposition Services leaders and other program managers, especially when to comes to working with our field leadership to leverage opportunities to develop future leaders. 

Current leaders who have benefitted from the program include Arthur Welsh, director of operations, who started as a GS-2 and was selected for the employee enhancement program. He worked his way up, learning the various aspects of operations and taking assignments abroad and deploying a couple times with the agency.  Thirty-three years later, he is a GS-15 who leads the directorate supporting field operations and understands those operations better than anybody else because he’s done it all.

Tracy Hart, director of contracting and chief of contracting office, journey started as part of the Battle Creek Central High School’s “Stay in School” program working as a GS-1 for the agency. After her first summer, she was converted to a student hire and later selected for the first local intern program in Battle Creek for contracting. With hard work and great mentors, she received promotions and now oversees the acquisitions for DLA Disposition Services as a GS-15.