News | Feb. 17, 2022

Black History Month Spotlight: Gloria Edward

By Lauren Faal, DLA Information Operations Research & Development

Gloria Edwards brings a wealth of educational, military and professional experience to the Defense Logistics Agency, where she has found a meaningful mission and supportive team.

Edwards is DLA Research & Development’s Subsistence Network program manager. SUBNET supports R&D projects that promote manufacturing improvements in subsistence areas like combat rations, food safety and water security. Edwards is currently managing six projects with industry and academia, ranging from automating barcode scanners to testing hot sauce laminate pouches for ready-to-eat meals.

Reflecting over her career, Edwards said she has fond memories of attending Benedict College, a historically black college in Columbia, South Carolina.

“I was a first-generation college student, so I didn’t initially know what to expect,” she said. “I had a great experience at Benedict because I was surrounded by people from similar backgrounds and shared cultural experiences.” 

At Benedict, she joined Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the first sorority in the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Edwards is proud to be a member of this lifelong sisterhood alongside other notable members including Vice President Kamala Harris, Coretta Scott King and Rosa Parks. In 1986, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. 

“The [historically black college] experience shaped the person I am today,” Edwards said.

After college, Edwards joined the Air Force. During her military career, she served in command, staff and operational positions in logistics, personnel and acquisition. She retired as a lieutenant colonel with 21 years of service in 2008. 

She first came to DLA as an Air Force plans officer and, following retirement, continued her professional growth in positions as a government contractor and logistics manager at the Pentagon before becoming an R&D program manager in 2015. She attributes her recent success to her diverse experiences, military background, advanced education and programmatic credentials. 

“DLA has afforded me the professional roles and responsibilities that contributed to my appreciation of our global mission to support our warfighters,” she said. 

Edwards said Black History Month is special to her because it offers a distinct opportunity to celebrate, acknowledge and honor her cultural past and reminds her to forge ahead with her goals. Hailing from South Carolina, she is a self-proclaimed true southern belle who enjoys the region’s distinctive traditions, cuisine and hospitality. 

“I enjoyed growing up surrounded by extended family,” Edwards said. “We lived within walking distance of each other, and it was the norm for relatives to praise, teach and discipline us. It was a village of folks who cared for and inspired us.”

Within R&D, she said she has found a familiar environment in a small, tight-knit organization that fosters a supportive, familial spirit of inclusion and genuine care. 

“I am inspired by DLA’s support and tremendous impact on our partners, the services and whole-of-government,” she said.