NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. –
Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Supply Specialist Timothy J. Schaming is retiring after serving nearly 42 years of federal service.
During a small retirement ceremony, Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Keith D. Reventlow, commander of DLA Distribution, presented Schaming with the Meritorious Civilian Service Award.
The citation recognized Schaming as serving “with great distinction in the United States Army, as a federal civilian and as a vice president of the American Federation of Government Employees 2004, in a career that spanned from 1974 to 2021. Mr. Schaming resolved thousands of Warfighter requests while simultaneously serving as a trusted union representative for DLA civilians -- ensuring all employees were treated with dignity and respect.”
“I am very excited for Tim and his future; however, he will be greatly missed here in Customer Support,” said Patrick W. Press, chief of the Customer Support Division.
“We have all benefitted from his vast experience and witty sense of humor. His contributions have helped make our office a cohesive and unified team. He always met every challenge and his steadfast devotion aided in our team’s success. Tim’s retirement is our loss, but a well-deserved respite for him,” said Press.
Schaming, a Vietnam era veteran, served in the Army with the 82nd Airborne and Special Forces Command as a medical sergeant from June 1974 to Dec. 1978.
“After serving in the Army … I left and went to college where I received a bachelor’s in History degree from Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. There, I worked for two years as a young adult sale coordinator for Anheuser Busch Beer. In March 1984, I was hired as a property book officer for the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps detachment at Gannon University, where I worked until Dec. 1989,” said Schaming.
Schaming was hired in January 1990 as a supply technician at the New Cumberland Army Depot, what the installation was known as back then. Working with DLA for 31 years has taught Schaming that change is constant.
“When I first came to New Cumberland, my first assignment was in the inventory division to perform testing and acceptance of the computer system that ran the carts on the floor and sorters," said Schaming. "That was followed by the introduction of not only the personal computer, but the Army system that became today’s DSS, or Distribution Standard System. Vast changes took place in the 90s when DLA took over, with DLA incorporating all the service depots (36 in CONUS alone) and 25,000 employees. At the time, we had three command regions, New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, Tracy, California and Memphis, Tennessee, which slowly shrank to the system we have now – a much smaller footprint and one central command for all of DLA Distribution.”
Schaming shared what he believes was the key to his success. “I always kept the folks at the other end of the line my main focus. I learned to be a change agent and was willing to be flexible when needed.”
His advice to those new to federal service, “Be kind – always over deliver in your job. It’s not trivial, the small stuff counts. Learn as much as you can about the process because you never know when you will need or use it.”
Schaming mentioned a couple of his mentors that were instrumental in his career success. “My first was Tom Haskle, Mr. Depot, Denise Kanelos, John McLaughlin, Frank Rienti, to name a few. There are so many others I could keep going on and on and still not name them all. My success was based on so much help from other people who simply asked or answered questions for me and gave the rein to make mistakes and keep on going. It was never my success it truly was a team effort all the time.”
“Being involved in the union at all levels for all 31 years I have been at New Cumberland as well as my work experience, I have had the privilege to experience the full gambit of logistics, from being able to discuss issues and processes with the highest leadership levels in DLA, to talking to those at the very end of the line in my normal job. Helping is the greatest experience I have been allowed,” said Schaming.
He noted one of the major highlights of his career is DLA’s response and involvement during the Katrina hurricane. “What the commanding general said to us when we were tasked with the mission to unscrew and get things back on track to get relief efforts to the affected folks. ‘We will not fail at this!’ We didn’t – it was a mess, but everyone stepped up and into that pile to get it fixed, and the people at the other end were helped and taken care of by our efforts.”
Schaming shared what he wants people to know about the men and women of DLA. “There is not a better group of folks out there. They are some of the smartest, hardworking and dedicated folks I have even known. Everyone gives 110% and sometimes more.”
Lastly, Schaming said he’ll miss the people. “I wish the organization and the people only the best. May your best and brightest dreams come true.”