News | Jan. 10, 2022

Leadership Reflection: Arthur Welsh

DLA Disposition Services Public Affairs

Arthur Welsh

Arthur Welsh in cubs jersey
Arthur Welsh
Arthur Welsh is DLA Disposition Services Operations director. He has been a federal employee for 34 years, 29 of them with DLA.
Photo By: Courtesy Photo
VIRIN: 220103-D-D0441-500
DLA Disposition Services Operations Director
Battle Creek, Michigan

Describe your job in a sentence or two.  I am the Director of Operations.  My primary job and focus are to ensure that our field sites have the procedures and equipment to perform their job on a daily basis.

How long have you worked for the federal government? I have worked for the federal government for 34 years.  I started with the IRS as a GS-2 data transcriber, and also worked for the Air Force and Army.  Twenty-nine of those years have been with DLA Disposition Services.

What was your first interaction with DLA Disposition Services? My first engagement with DLA Disposition Services was the day I started.  I accepted a position as a WG-05 Material Handler at DLA Disposition Services Ft. Lewis in Washington.

What is your favorite thing about your line of work? My favorite part of what we do, is even after almost thirty years in the business, I still see new challenges daily.  Once I think I have seen it all, I will get a call or email asking for the assistance on the disposal of something that is new.  I do truly love my job and what we do.

What is the best piece of advice someone has given you?

That would be two pieces of advice: 

The first is just answer the question.  When someone asks you what time it is, they do not want to know how to build a clock, they want the time.  Once they have that, they may ask how you go to that conclusion.  That is when you tell them how the clock is built. 

The second is on briefing and as I refer to it, the three B’s.  Be brief, be brilliant, be gone.  Get to the point, dazzle them with accurate information, and everyone’s time is valuable so try to use as little as possible.

What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess? Understanding, knowledge of the process, good listener, objective and mentor/coach.

What is your leadership philosophy and how does that tie into your line of work?  The primary factors of my leadership style are communication and understanding.  If you understand the why, who, what, where and when it makes the job easier.

How would you describe your leadership style and why has it worked so well for you?  Be responsible for what you are assigned and accountable for the results.  When someone clearly understands what they are responsible for, it is not a surprise when they are held accountable (good or bad).

How you approach change?  Change is inevitable.  We have been in some form of change for as long as I can remember.  Changes are made when they are effective and efficient, not just for the sake of making a change.

What keeps you motivated?  The mission!  I love what we do and the fact that you can see the results of your efforts daily.  Also, as I said before, been in the business almost thirty years and continue to see new things.

What are your best practices for achieving goals or accomplishing tasks? 

  • Following the applicable guidance and policies. 
  • Taking pride in what I do. 
  • Establishing a timeline for what I need to accomplish, setting priorities and allowing myself enough time for a review by peers.

What do you see as your biggest challenge right now?  Creating good operating procedures that drive good behavior.  Too many shortcuts are being taken and leave us vulnerable in an audit.  Getting back to the foundational basics that makes this organization great.

What was your first job?  My first real job was working with my mother.  She worked in the clothing manufacturing industry.  The company she worked for made shirts and my job was to place the size tags and prepare the shirts for shipment.  It was a summer job in my early teens and was primarily to pay for my soccer tournaments and wrestling camps.  I was even paid minimum wage, $3.35 an hour, back then which seemed like a fortune.

What did you want to be when you grew up?   Growing up I wanted to be a professional soccer player.  Unfortunately, my path and talent did not lead that way; but I did get to play for a lot of years.  Nowadays I get to play the game I have grown to love, and some say obsessed with, golf.  They may be right.