BATTLE CREEK, Mich. –
Disposition Services North East Director
Describe your job in a sentence or two. I work with DLA’s most talented group of employees who support the warfighter, the world when under crisis like natural disasters and pandemics, and each other personally and professionally.
How long have you worked for the federal government including military service? 35 years. November will mark 12 years with DLA.
What is your favorite thing about your line of work? I don’t have just one favorite thing, I love everything we do and what we stand for.
What is the best piece of advice someone has given you? Find the good in everyday, because even bad days have something good in them.
What is your leadership philosophy and how does that tie into your line of work? I have two leadership philosophies.
- Watch, learn, teach, support, and empower.
- I don’t ask my employees to do anything that I wouldn’t do.
Can you share a story when you realized your efforts were making a difference? I have been close to many people and teams over the years but never felt that I impacted them to make big difference until Norfolk. The pandemic has been hard on everybody for many reasons. The first six months we had a crew of 10 folks at Norfolk that were mission essential and ran the whole site. During those months we became close. We did amazing things and made positive changes to the site. I marveled everyday on the daily changes that occurred. Our "fantastic 10" as I called them made a plaque for me from the “A Team.” Their efforts and energy to this day still astounds me.
Tell us how you approach change. I actually like change. One of my favorite leadership books is “Who moved my Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson. I defiantly relate to the characters “Sniff and Scurry.” I am not easily surprised and can adapt rather quickly to anything.
What are your best practices for achieving goals or accomplishing tasks? I write it down, measure my progress, and celebrate my success no matter if they are big or small.
What mistakes have you seen individuals make that prevent them from being successful? The biggest one I see commonly is not asking what they can do better. There is a flip side to this, and that is often I see leaders not having straight forward communications with their people to help them grow and improve. I often ask or tell people, “How can you fix something if you don’t know it’s broken?” Don’t be afraid to speak the truth and don’t be afraid to ask and hear it. Once spoken or heard, it’s up to the person to take action, to make the change and to be better.
What is your favorite/recent book(s) you have read. Lead… for God’s Sake! By Todd G. Gongwer
Tell us something that most people might not know about you or your directorate? I love helping people and animals. I am a very active VFW member and motorcyclist that helps raise money for veterans with unmet needs. I also have started a Husky rescue. I love these dogs as they are beautiful, high energy, and very misunderstood. I currently have three that are a permanent fixture in my life and I am a foster parent for others that need rescue, rehabilitation, and re-homing.
What was your first job? I worked for the Town of Unadilla as a summer hire mowing cemeteries and flagger for road construction.
What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a nurse or a teacher. Looking back at it, I would not have been a good nurse as I get too attached and invested in people. In many ways, I am a teacher on a daily basis and I wouldn’t change that for anything.
Who is your hero? My dad! He taught me work hard/play hard, walk with your head up, and there is value in a firm hand shake and eye contact.
What is your favorite quote? “Be where your feet are,” meaning be present in where you are, not where you’ve been or where you might be.
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.