BATTLE CREEK, Mich –
Chief of Staff, DLA Disposition Services
Battle Creek, Michigan
Describe your job in a sentence or two. Responsible for synchronizing staff actions to ensure we are aligned with the Director’s intent, goals and objectives and provide responsive support to the field. Bottom line, to ensure we are aligned to the Directors vision, make the organization better and remain relevant to the Warfighter.
How long have you worked for the federal government including military service? 40 years. 30-year Army veteran, 10 going on 11-year DLA Disposition Services employee.
What was your first interaction with DLA Disposition Services? When I interviewed for the job in 2011.
What are some of your favorite memories with DLA Disposition Services? I’m not sure there is one particular memory. Really it is every day that I get to come into work and work with great people. There isn’t one memory, but a series of day-to-day activities and working with great people. It’s also winning pizzas from people like Arthur Welsh, Dana Thornbury and the DSD directors like Buck Buchanan.
What is your favorite thing about your line of work? People, mission, meeting challenges and removing obstacles.
What is the best piece of advice someone has given you? Remember that you are only as good as your next day’s press clippings. In other words, don’t live in your past. Learn from your past - good or bad. Apply how you’re going to improve yourself and how you’re going to contribute to the organization tomorrow.
What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess? All attributes of professionalism.
What is your leadership philosophy and how does that tie into your line of work? Always take care of your people. That includes a couple of things. It’s holding them accountable. It’s expecting the best out of them. It’s providing them the necessary guidance and resources to accomplish their job. It’s congratulating them and celebrating their accomplishments when they do well. If they fail, provide them the necessary feedback on why they did not meet the standard and allow them another opportunity to excel. Most importantly, develop your teammates and push them to expand upon their potential.
How would you describe your leadership style and why has it worked so well for you? Lead by example - always. Hold myself accountable to the highest standards. One area I constantly strive to improve is listening and situational understanding skills.
How you approach change? Having an open mind, understanding that it’s going to happen. As you approach change, continue to gather information and facts. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Strive to improve listening skills. Change requires the continuous assessment of the workforce to quickly clarifying and address misinformation. We will minimize the unintended consequences of change if we continually assess facts, resources, the contemporary operating environment and aggressively keep everyone informed.
What keeps you motivated? People every day, minimizing friction and meeting challenges.
What do you look for when evaluating top talent? Attitude, professionalism, commitment.
What are your best practices for achieving goals or accomplishing tasks? Ensure we look at all aspects. It goes back to problem solving and understanding what effect you’re trying to achieve. We need to look at the problem through multiple lens to remain on track. We need to assess our people, the customers, resources and obstacles that impact our ability to achieve the tasks. It’s understanding how we can arrange all those points in time to get to where you want to go.
What do you see as your biggest challenge right now? Right now, it’s the virtual environment. It’s not just with this organization but across the board. It’s ensuring that we are staying in front and relevant to the warfighter. The Warfighter has a mission and disposal requirements that are not conducive to the virtual environment. We need to keep meet those requirements while keep our teammates at the point of the spear safe and properly resourced.
Why is networking to build professional relationships so important in achieving success? Networking in terms of learning from people, other like organizations and capturing best practices. In other words, there are certain people and organizations that can help make your organization more relevant to your primary customer.
What mistakes have you seen individuals make that prevent them from being successful? Putting their personal needs above the organization. It goes back to selfless service. It hurts teammates if certain individuals only do certain things for their own self promotion verses what is important to the organization and their teammates.
What would you have done differently in your career if given the opportunity? Probably at the very beginning of my career, I had such a closed mindset focusing on the daily activities (tactical level) and not seeing how those day-to-day activities feed into a long-term plan or strategy. Opening the aperture of how I thought. I didn’t start gaining that until my later years in the military.
Name your favorite books you have read. Colin Powel’s “It Worked for Me” or George Bush’s “Decision Points.”
Tell us something that most people might not know about you? I’m very transparent, consistent and predictable.
What was your first job? Dishwasher.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Aviator.
Who is your hero? At first it was Chuck Yeager. My next hero is more of a person I admire. When I was at the War College, I heard Condoleezza Rice speak. The things she said and her talent, not just from national security and how she worked the interagency to being a concert pianist, you just have to admire someone like that.
If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be? Professionally, what I am doing now. Personally, going back to being a troop commander flying the worlds most advanced attack helicopter.
What are your hobbies? Automotive mechanics, working out and hunting.
DLA Disposition Services is celebrating its 50th Anniversary by reflecting on the mission, culture and its workforce. This series is highlighting leadership and employees throughout the agency, across the globe. Visit the historical page to learn more about the MSC and its history.