Name: Dr. Gloria Edwards
Organization: DLA Research and Development – J68
Years of Service: 32 years of federal service; 15+ years working at DLA
What is your job title, and what do you do, specifically?
I am the subsistence network program manager in the DLA Research and Development Office, J68. In this role, I develop, plan and manage R&D projects and programs that leverage current or emerging technologies and innovations from industry and academia to help DLA solve operational gaps or logistical problems in the subsistence supply chain.
What is your background, including experience and credentials? How does your background help you be successful in your current role?
As a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel that served over 20 years on active duty, I have held various positions such as aircraft maintenance officer, logistics planner and acquisition logistics program manager. My first career experience with DLA was as an active-duty Air Force plans officer in the DLA Logistics Operations Center. Coincidently, after retirement, my government contractor career experience was in support of standing-up the Joint Contingency Acquisition Support Office. I transitioned from a contractor to civil servant and spent two years at the Pentagon in the role of acquisition and logistics policy manager in the Acquisition Integration Directorate, Secretary of the Air Force Acquisition. I returned to DLA in 2011 and was dual tasked by the Strategic Initiatives Directorate as a program manager and class I subsistence policy manager. Both experiences led to my current position as an R&D program manager since 2015. My diverse experiences, military background, advanced education and programmatic credentials have contributed to my success in my current role. Additionally, the keys to my success are collaborating with my colleagues here at DLA, industry and academic partners, exemplifying programmatic leadership and demonstrating a hard work ethic aimed towards finding solutions. Working at DLA has afforded me the professional roles and responsibilities that have contributed to my appreciation of the global mission of DLA to our warfighters. Moreover, I am constantly inspired by the enormous support and tremendous impact of DLA to our partners, the military services and whole of government.
What aspect(s) of your current job gives you the most personal satisfaction? Why?
The most enjoyable aspect in my current job is working with our key partners and stakeholders of the DLA Troop Support Subsistence supply chain, the military services, meals, ready-to-eat assemblers, prime vendors, academia and industry, and DLA J-codes and MSCs. It continues to be very apparent through these interactions and discussions that the mission of the Troop Support Subsistence supply chain is vitally important to our warfighter, so working directly with them to research, develop, test and evaluate new innovations and technology is truly gratifying. Also, having the opportunity to demonstrate a technology allows us to test and evaluate if it is suitable to transition to our customer base. Being able to conduct research of emerging technologies and processes, prior to formal acquisition and financial activities, provides me with a great opportunity to potentially deliver cost savings and drive capabilities for operational sustainment.
What are some of your passions outside of work?
Some of my passions outside of work include walking along trails, cycling, and traveling. I am a professed foodie that is always seeking new restaurants, cooking for friends and family and sampling new recipes from TV shows, websites, cookbooks and food magazines, and enjoying and experiencing different cuisines with friends.
What advice do you have for DLA employees?
Take every new opportunity given to you as a learning experience to broaden and enrich your personal and professional growth and life experiences. Also, that time is not promised to anyone, so enjoy every day and treat each day as the true blessing it is.
What other self-initiated efforts have you worked on?
I continue to team with DLA Troop Support Subsistence and the military food service managers on the Joint Service Operational Ration Forums, Joint Subsistence Policy Boards and DOD Policy. Working with them allows me to stay abreast of what is currently important and may be important from a DLA R&D perspective to the Subsistence Supply Chain.