News | Feb. 15, 2022

Black History Month spotlight: José Malonda

By DLA Energy Public Affairs

Editor’s note: February is Black History Month and throughout the month, we will spotlight Defense Logistics Agency Energy employees who are honoring their history and making a difference through their accomplishments both in their workplace and community.

What is your name and where is your hometown?

José Malonda, Raleigh, North Carolina

Describe your job: 

Jose Malonda
Black History Month spotlight: José Malonda
José Malonda assists with the positioning of a T-1 tanker on the multi buoy mooring system for offloading operations in Okinawa, Japan. Malonda is DLA Energy Okinawa Deputy Operations Chief responsible for overseeing six geographically dispersed fuels terminals with 20 bulk petroleum tanks with an inventory capacity of 53 million gallons of aviation and maritime propellant.
Photo By: Photo courtesy of José Malonda
VIRIN: 220215-D-D0441-800

As the Deputy Operations Chief of DLA Energy Okinawa, my job is to serve as a full assistant to the Chief of the Operations responsible for overseeing six geographically dispersed fuels terminals with 20 bulk petroleum tanks with an inventory capacity of 53 million gallons of aviation and maritime propellant. These terminals receive, store, and transfer petroleum products via multi-buoy mooring, single point mooring, pier-side bunker operations, and cross-country pipelines. I help manage a team of 53 personnel that execute the supply chain of critical aviation and maritime fuels to missions throughout the region. 

How did you get into this career field?

I served in the U.S. Air Force from 2007-2014 as a Petroleum Logistics Specialist. My career field required me to be the subject matter expert in issuing, receiving, and storing aviation jet fuel. Throughout my military career, I was stationed at Davis Monthan Air Force base in Tucson, Arizona, and Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. During this time-period, the foundation of my petroleum experience was built. I utilized mobile refueling units to service small and large frame aircraft on the flightline, operated bulk petroleum storage tank farms maintaining critical levels of inventory, issued and received JP-8 with hydrant pipeline systems and truck fill stands which supported the warfighter mission. As a Fuels Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of Training and Support, I quarterbacked Pacific Air Force’s largest Fuels flight training program, directing rotational training, task qualifications, and recurring training for 100+ assigned personnel. 

What makes you proud about your job? 

I’m proud of being able to continue to serve my country by supporting the Warfighter and promoting stability in the Okinawa region. As a Fuels Distribution System Operator, I performed pier-side transfer and T-1 Tanker Offload operations to support U.S. Navy ships, and Military Sealift Command chartered ships, U.S. Army Vessels, Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force, and partnered nations ships. After transitioning to a Fuels Distribution System Work Leader, I was charged with overseeing 53 personnel, manage work details for four Fuels Distribution System Operators and assist the management of 11 Japanese National Foreman. Additionally, understanding and working through the challenges of the budget and procurement process. As the Deputy Operations Chief, I am responsible for six terminals and the daily execution all operations to support our customers. This position affords me the opportunity to promote, mentor, and guide others to successful careers. I consider myself a transformational leader who invests in people, values collaboration, develops attainable goals, encourages team members to think with innovation, and allow team members the autonomy to solve challenging and multifaceted problems.

What was the biggest influence on your career? 

The biggest influence in my career is that I was fortunate to have great supervisors and mentors in the U.S. Air Force and DLA Energy Okinawa. Those individuals saw something in me that I failed to see in myself, helping me become my “best version.” I intend to use those experiences and pay-it forward. 

What advice do you have for others who may want to follow in your footsteps?

It starts with setting short and long-term goals, reaching out to friends and family, mentors, supervisors, and people who you trust for advice and guidance when needed. Like the term goes, “A closed mouth will not get fed.”

This year’s Black History Month theme is “Black Health and Wellness.” Why do you think this theme is important to emphasize? How do you honor this theme?

We still have this stigma, especially in the African American community where seeking help for mental health issues is frowned upon. We need to talk about it more with co-workers, friends, and family to the point where it is no longer an uncomfortable subject. We all experience highs and lows, and the circle of influence around you is your support system. You should never feel afraid, or ashamed to say/seek help. With everyone I come across, I try my best to be a positive influence.

Are there any other ways you contribute to your community or workplace?

I am a representative for DLA Energy Okinawa Cultural Climate Working Group Committee. Our intent is to build a positive workplace environment, pursue initiatives to foster and promote open communication across organizations.

Is there anything else you’d like to share/add?

DLA Energy Okinawa leadership has afforded me the opportunity to come on board as a Fuels Distribution System Operator and I was grateful. Through hard work, and dedication to support our multiple DOD customers (Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marines) and our host nations Japanese Military Self Defense Force providing maritime propellant, I thrived. With outstanding tutelage my efforts paid off when I was awarded DLA Energy 53rd Annual Award in my first year with the organization. Due to DLA Energy diversified work force and career progression model, I rose through the ranks as a Fuel Distribution System Work Leader to the Deputy Operations Chief. The transition from WG-8 to WS-13 was not easy. I was able to overcome all challenges I faced during this transitional period due to the support of my wife and colleagues. Setting short and long-term goals is very much achievable with a great support system. I would like to thank DLA Energy leadership for giving me an opportunity.