News | Jan. 31, 2022

Employee Reflection: Nate Barnes

DLA Disposition Services Public Affairs


Outdoor selfie of man with sunglasses on.
DLA Disposition Services Operations Deputy Director Nate Barnes
DLA Disposition Services Operations Deputy Director Nate Barnes.
Photo By: Kelly Burell
VIRIN: 220104-D-D0441-222

 

Nate Barnes

 

DLA Disposition Services Operations Deputy Director
Battle Creek, Michigan

Describe your job in a sentence or two. What do you do specifically?  My primary job is to support the DLA Disposition Services Operations director by providing processes, procedures and equipment required to support the warfighter.  I am also directly responsible for material handling equipment management, the Nuclear Weapons Related Material Program, disposal oversight as well as infrastructure management and improvements around the globe.

How long have you worked for the federal government? Nearly 30 years

How long have you worked for DLA Disposition Services? 16 years

What are some of your favorite memories with DLA Disposition Services?  There are so many.  The opportunity to work and live in Germany, working with New Zealand Defense Forces to retrofit their warships and multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan are some of my fondest memories. My overall favorite memories are working with and for, so many different people from various walks of life.

What aspect of your current job gives you the most personal satisfaction and why? Seeing a project finished.  We move so swiftly from one thing to the next that completion of a project often gets lost in the movement, so I think it’s important to recognize the accomplishment as both individuals and teams move forward.

What is the best piece of advice someone has given you?  There are two pieces of advice that really stand out:  First, after a particularly horrendous On-site Effectiveness Review in Germany, Darran Duncan said simply “Be true to yourself,” and that has lived in my head ever since.  The second came from an Executive Leadership Coach when he said, “First tell the people what, then tell them why…  Then everyone can figure out how,” and I’ve had a version of that written on a whiteboard in my office since that day. It really speaks about understanding staff buy-in to a process and ownership for the parties involved.

If you could speak directly to the warfighters you support, what would you tell them?  I would impress upon them that we are truly valuable as a source of supply.  I’d also share with them our auditability needs so they can understand the how and why of our operations.

What was your first job?  My first paying job was a bagger and stock clerk at a local grocery store.  It wasn’t really my thing so it didn’t last long but it was my first job.

What are some recent books you have read?  “It’s your ship” by D. Michael Abrashoff and “BBQ Rules” by Myron Mixon and Kelly Alexander.

What are some of your passions outside of work?  Farming, barbecue, motorcycles, hunting and fishing.  And not necessarily in that order.

What did you want to be when you grew up? I never really wanted to grow up, so it’s working out splendidly.

Who is your hero?  My Grandpa Munger.  I don’t think he ever knew it, but he was, is and always will be my hero.  He was smart, practical and funny.  He always had a minute (or ten) to help my brother and I with whatever we were dealing with.  Just an all-around great person that taught me a lot over the years.


DLA Disposition Services is celebrating its 50th Anniversary by reflecting on its mission, culture, and 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.