News | July 26, 2021

July J6 Employee Spotlight - Mike Sorrells

By J6 Communications

Name: Mike Sorrells

Organization:  J6T

Years of Service:  34  

What is your job title, and what do you do, specifically?

I am a program analyst for J6T and am currently serving as the J6 lead for the Service Owned Items in DLA Custody (SOIDC) audit.  The goal of the SOIDC audit is to provide information to the services and their independent auditors about the controls in place over the relevant financial reporting systems. The controls include both business process controls and information technology controls that support the delivery of warehousing services.  My job is to ensure that J6 provides the needed support and the appropriate information required to support the SOIDC audit.

What is your background, including experience and credentials? How does your background help you be successful in your current role? 

I started out in DLA as a GS-3 summer hire and was hired on as part of the COOP College Student program while still going to college.  After graduating with a degree in computer information systems, I was hired full time via the outstanding scholar program.  From there, I spent the next 30 years of my career supporting various DLA warehouse management systems, most of that time with Distribution Standard System (DSS) as a system programmer, a supervisor, and then a division chief, before transferring to J6T.  These various roles provided me with the in-depth system knowledge, where I either helped design or managed a group of excellent personnel that developed the foundation for several of the IT controls used in DSS today.  Having my Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification as well as the Defense Acquisition University IT Level III certification has helped provide an additional foundation in understanding what is needed from a security and acquisition perspective.

What aspect(s) of your current job gives you the most personal satisfaction?  Why?

In my current role, I have a better understanding of the important role audit plays for DLA and its partners.  Prior to this role, I was always on the side of providing the information to the auditors without ever truly understanding the reasoning for all the various requests that we would get from auditors.  However, this current role has allowed me to work with a great team that has been able to explain to me the “why” for those audit requests.  By knowing this information, we have been able to focus on asking the right questions upfront of our fellow J6 employees and prep them correctly to answer the audit requests the first time.  Taking a laborious audit process and streamlining it as much as possible has given me probably the most personal satisfaction in my current role because of the improvement from a J6 standpoint in supporting the SOIDC audit.

What are some of your passions outside of work? 

I enjoy golfing, wave running, snowmobiling, and watching college sports, especially the Oklahoma Sooners.  I just started dabbling in the world of pellet smokers which has been a lot of fun and frustrating at times.

What advice do you have for DLA employees? 

Having the opportunity to travel all over the world for DLA as part of the original DSS implementation team and leading the implementation team for the Deployable DSS, I got to see firsthand how DLA plays a major role in supporting the warfighter globally.  My advice to DLA employees is even though you might not always feel that you have an impact on supporting the warfighter in your day-to-day tasks, everything we do influences how DLA supports the warfighter.

What other self-initiated efforts have you worked on?

One of the most rewarding and successful projects I helped lead was the development of the deployable DSS.  The goal of this project was to be able take the existing DSS mainframe system as is, re-host it on a server and run a distribution warehouse anywhere in the world.  After coming up with a software package that allowed us to completely re-host DSS on a server, we teamed up with the DLA J6 Expeditionary team, DLA Distribution, and some of our Department of Defense partners to create a complete distribution expeditionary depot.  This joint effort allowed us to standup the first distribution depot in an active war zone in just 30 days at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, and later establish a Theater Consolidated Shipment Point (TCSP) at Deh Dadi, Afghanistan.  The deployable DSS server solution ran both operations the entire time they were operational.  This project was a complete team effort, and it was an honor to work with such professionals who did everything possible to ensure success of the mission.