News | Feb. 7, 2022

Leadership Reflection: Luis Guzman

DLA Disposition Services Pendleton Area Manager

A man poses.
DLA Disposition Services Pendleton Area Manager Luis Guzman.
A man poses.
DLA Disposition Services Pendleton Area Manager Luis Guzman.
Photo By: DLA photo
VIRIN: 220207-D-D0441-4321
Describe your job in a sentence or two.

I oversee operations for the Camp Pendleton hub on disposal requirements for all DOD customers while maximizing the reutilization efforts of all excess surplus property.

What is your area of responsibility?

Southwest California and Yuma, Arizona.

How long have you worked for the federal government, including military service?

16 years.

How long have you worked for DLA Disposition Services?

11 years.

What is your favorite thing about your line of work?

The support that is provided to the warfighter, DOD programs and other state and federal agencies.

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

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes; communicate and provide responses or guidance in the way you would want to receive it. That’s the best form of customer service.

What is your favorite memory with DLA Disposition Services?

A Marine Corps unit that I served with when I started working for DLA had an outstanding requirement for a part that had grounded an aircraft. The unit’s requirement was on backlog for three years. As a new DLA Disposition Services employee, I demonstrated to them how to query our RTDWeb portal for property. Once they started searching, they realized the specific part this aircraft needed was available at our Long-Term Storage facility. The unit quickly submitted a requisition for the item and within a week the aircraft was back in the air.

What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?

Understand the agency’s mission and goals and formulate a plan that will lead you to achieve success.

What is your leadership philosophy and how does that tie into your line of work?

I practice a relational leadership philosophy. This philosophy allows me to engage with employees on an individual level, build a positive/trustworthy relation with the employee, and as a result, my employees are loyal, goal oriented and ultimately more productive.

How would you describe your leadership style and why has it worked so well for you?

I have more of a coaching leadership style. I believe every employee has potential for developmental growth. As a leader, we must tap into that employee and discover the talents they have within and develop them.

Can you share a story of when you realized your efforts were making a difference?

Since assuming my current responsibilities, I have noticed culture improvement among the team at Camp Pendleton and San Diego. Employees have become more engaged and been more understanding of the agency’s mission and goals, metrics have demonstrated significant positive improvements, and numerous employees have become more knowledgeable and acquired promotions in the process.

Tell us how you approach change?

Change is imperative, it’s a way to see progress within the agency. Technology and services improve every day and although some may not like change, a change to a process is usually done to make that process more accurate.

What keeps you motivated?

Meeting agency goals while seeing improvement among my team. Seeing my employees become more knowledgeable and confident gives me a sense of pride that I am doing my part to develop future leaders for the agency.

What do you look for when evaluating top talent?

The ability and desire to learn.

What do you believe is your biggest accomplishment and why?

Achieving a goal that I have not seen my hub achieve since I began my employment with the agency.  Winning the Best Site Award.

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

Staying focused on current inventories. Ensuring that all employees know how to read reports to stay on top of the inventory and address any anomalies before they become a problem.

What do you see as your biggest challenge right now?

High customer demand. The current demand is high and we are doing our best to work with these customers to help them meet their turn-in requirements.

Why is networking to build professional relationships so important in achieving success?

A professional relationship allows you to understand the workloads, capacity, and efficiencies that each site has, allowing you to work together and effectively accomplish a goal.

What mistakes have you seen individuals make that prevent them from being successful?

Communication! You need to understand the constraints every side has. When you communicate with customers or service providers, you work better together and find common ground on priorities.

Tell us something that most people might not know about you or your directorate.

Before I joined the Marine Corps, I had a successful career in the culinary industry. I attended the culinary arts program at Washburne Trade School in Chicago, at a young age and did pretty well in that field. I made two separate appearances on a show called Midwest Outdoors doing cooking presentations highlighting wild game.

What are your hobbies?

Taking a leisure ride on a Harley-Davidson.

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.