News | Sept. 9, 2021

Celebrating DLA's 60th Anniversary: DLA Energy employee spotlight, Cindy Smith

By DLA Energy Public Affairs

Defense Logistics Agency 60th Anniversary logo
Defense Logistics Agency 60th Anniversary
The Defense Logistics Agency launched its diamond anniversary celebration Sept. 1, 2021, to mark the agency’s 60th year of logistics support.
Photo By: Paul Crank
VIRIN: 210901-D-D0441-100
DLA is celebrating 60 years of logistics support since it was created Oct. 1, 1961. The theme is “Forged by History, Focused on the Future.” 

In this story, we celebrate and honor DLA Energy employee Cindy Smith who has been with the agency for 41 years. She recalls when General Colin Powell presented the agency with its first Joint Meritorious Unit Award for our support during Desert Shield/Desert Storm, morale events like lip sync contests during picnics, and the dedication of the “Pipeman” located at the DLA picnic pavilion.

For more stories, videos, and graphics highlighting the agency’s history and people, go to the DLA 60th Anniversary page.

What is your job title? 
Deputy Director, Strategic Policy & Programs Directorate

How long have you worked at DLA? 
I started working for DLA while I was in college starting the summer of 1980 as a GS-3, clerk-typist in the Quality Assurance Directorate. I continued to work for DLA during the summers of 1981, 1982, and 1983. It was a great paying job for a college student. Each summer I earned enough money to pay for about one third of a year of college. When I graduated from Virginia Tech, my goal was to work in biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health, but the OPM register for chemists was closed for new applicants. I returned to DLA in 1984 as a GS-4 word processing operator in the Office of Counsel. I worked in that job for eight months typing debarment and suspension documents while waiting for the chemist register to open. In September 1984, I left that position to work as a GS-5/7 chemist in a lab at NIH. I returned to DLA in 1987 as a chemist in a GS-9/11/12 position in the Quality & Technical Services Directorate of DLA’s Defense Fuel Supply Center.

What jobs have you had with DLA and at what locations?
I have worked for DLA Energy ever since. In 1991, I left my chemist position for a GS-13 environmental protection specialist position in the Facilities Directorate. I met my husband at DLA and started my family during my time in this job. In 2004, I was promoted to a GS-14, Supervisory, Supply Systems Analyst, in charge of facility optimization in the Facilities & Distribution Business Unit. In 2007, I moved to the Supervisory, Logistics Management Specialist position in charge of DLA Energy’s Sustainment, Restoration, and Modernization Program. In 2010, I moved to DLA Energy’s Executive Agent Office in charge of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the Bulk Petroleum Supply Chain. In 2017, I became the Deputy Director of DLA Energy’s Strategic Policy and Programs Directorate.

What has made you stay with DLA?
The mission of DLA Energy. I’ve never been bored while working here. There’s always something happening. The work is always interesting. If you’re bored, you’re in the wrong job.

What is your best historical memory of working here? 
I have a lot, but one that comes to mind was General Colin Powell’s visit to our building at Cameron Station to award us our first Joint Meritorious Unit Award for our support during Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

Another memory is the lip sync contests we used to have at DLA Energy picnics at Cameron Station.

A few years back, I organized some members of my Executive Agent team and employees of the Army Petroleum Center to give our “Pipeman” located at the DLA picnic pavilion a much-needed coat of paint. It came with us from Cameron Station. My kids loved to see it when they would go to the day care center. It’s a special monument and needs more frequent TLC.

It’s DLA’s 60th Anniversary—60 years of being an agency, what are your thoughts about the anniversary and DLA’s legacy?
When I think of my time at DLA which extends back 40 years, the first thing I think of are the people. I have worked with a lot of amazing people who cared and continue to care about our mission. 

How have things in the agency have changed in 35+ years, etc.?  
Moving offices from old government warehouses to a new office building that still looks great after 26 years. Big clunky computers to zero client laptops with multiple monitors. Going from one or two phone lines in an office to not only a personal desk phone #, but also a government provided cell phone. No more typewriters. No smoking in the building.