NEWS | Feb. 26, 2021

Vice director retires after 35-year DLA career

By Chris Erbe DLA Public Affairs

The employee who spends an entire career working for one organization is a rarity these days, but Defense Logistics Agency Vice Director Mike Scott did just that. He retired Feb. 26, 2021, after a 35-year career with DLA, working for 12 different directors.

Even more rare is the employee who rises from an entry-level post to attain the highest civilian position possible in the agency. Scott added that to his list of accomplishments as well. In 1986, just weeks after he graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in marketing, he started working at Defense Supply Center Columbus as a GS-5 inventory manager.

A young Michael Scott is seated at his desk in a late 1980's to early 1990's office setting.
A young Michael Scott is seated at his desk at the Defense Supply Center Columbus in Ohio, where he started his Defense Logistics Agency career as a GS-5 inventory manager. Scott spent his first 14 years at DSCC, now DLA Land and Maritime, before eventually becoming the agency's vice director.
A young Michael Scott is seated at his desk in a late 1980's to early 1990's office setting.
Vice director retires after 35-year DLA career
A young Michael Scott is seated at his desk at the Defense Supply Center Columbus in Ohio, where he started his Defense Logistics Agency career as a GS-5 inventory manager. Scott spent his first 14 years at DSCC, now DLA Land and Maritime, before eventually becoming the agency's vice director.
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 210226-D-D0441-1002

“That was a time before there was a lot of automation, so a couple times a day, someone would bring us large stacks of forms called 690s,” Scott said. “From those, we made recommended buys. As a GS-5, I was responsible for inexpensive items but lots of them, so I think I probably had about 40,000 items to manage.”

Scott served his first 14 years at DSCC, now DLA Land and Maritime.

“After a few years, I moved into the business support area, where I was dealing with logistics, processes, systems, policy and guidance,” Scott continued. “Within a year or so of taking that assignment, I knew I would stick around at DLA.”

In the mid-90s, he led a team of a dozen people who worked on “Project 95” with the mission to automate repetitive supply tasks and implement the programs into systems at DLA’s major subordinate commands. The project saved money and gave Scott a chance to learn about other parts of the agency.

“We went on the road to all the DLA activities and got to see the fruits of our labor come to life,” Scott said. “That was a really fulfilling time.”

In 1999, Scott was picked to lead a 50-member Business Systems Modernization team out of Columbus. The multi-year effort involved configuring and implementing software upgrades that significantly changed the way DLA’s workforce did business. Scott’s team spent months on the road at various DLA sites ensuring a smooth conversion.

“One of my favorite moments was when we turned the system on and it worked for the first time,” Scott remembered. “I think that was one of the most significant changes that had been done in a long time at DLA.”

During the modernization, Scott moved from Columbus to DLA Headquarters at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, where he joined DLA Logistics Operations.

In 2008, Scott was appointed to the Senior Executive Service. He went on to serve with DLA Energy for more than three years as the executive director, then deputy commander.

Superstorm Sandy struck the east coast of the United States, creating a humanitarian disaster and fuel crisis in the affected region while Scott was at DLA Energy. He remembered it as a turning point in DLA’s humanitarian assistance and disaster relief support to other federal agencies.

“After Sandy, the importance of those missions became infused in our blood,” he said. “We realized how speed and agility are extremely critical in supporting crisis situations around the globe.”

In 2014, Scott returned to DLA Logistics Operations as deputy director and was immersed daily in managing disaster relief efforts and warfighter support. In 2018, DLA Director Army Lt. Gen. Darrell Williams selected him as DLA deputy director.

DLA’s current director, Navy Vice Adm. Michelle Skubic, who arrived in July 2020, also benefitted from Scott’s experience and expertise.

“Since my arrival last summer, you have been my trusted ‘go-to’ advisor with the knowledge, history and judgement upon which I have depended. Your leadership, work ethic and passion for achievement have been invaluable,” she said during his retirement ceremony.

Diversity of assignments helped set the stage for his success, Scott noted.

“I would also say it was my mentors. Once I got that vision from my mentors, I wanted to make a difference. And for the latter part of my career, I would add service to the nation as a major motivation.”

Scott encouraged employees during his ceremony to always remember the importance of the work they do.

“Our work has real purpose, and I will always take great pride in DLA and what all of us together do for the warfighter and our nation,” he said.