News | April 8, 2022

Employee Reflection: Wallan Hashimoto

Supervisory Property Disposal Specialist, Misawa Air Base, Japan

A man poses.
Supervisory Property Disposal Specialist Wallan Hashimoto, of the DLA Disposition Services Misawa property disposal site in Japan.
A man poses.
Supervisory Property Disposal Specialist Wallan Hashimoto, of the DLA Disposition Services Misawa property disposal site in Japan.
Photo By: DLA photo
VIRIN: 220402-D-D0441-500
Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Chicago but raised in Honolulu. I joined DLA Disposition Services in 2009 and have been at Misawa for three and half years. I have had an interesting experience living and working in Japan as a fourth generation Japanese American. Since I am ethnically Japanese, most Japanese who do not know me immediately speak in Japanese to me, which I do not speak, being raised in America and not hearing Japanese spoken at home. I have seen that the Japanese have a difficult time with the concept of ethnicity. For them, ethnicity and nationality are the same, while in the U.S., ethnicity is what you are, but diverse ethnicities can all come together as Americans – that is our nationality.

Describe your job in a sentence or two.  

I supervise the receipt, reutilization, transfer, donation, and sales of used and excess government property from all DOD agencies in Northern Japan.

What is your area of responsibility?

Misawa, the Tohoku region of Japan, and the northern island of Hokkaido.

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

12 years, all with DLA.

What is your favorite thing about your line of work?

Meeting people and informing them about Disposition Services. For example, our warfighter customers rotate constantly in and out to this duty station so there is aways a new batch of folks to get to know and educate about the disposition process.

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

A leader is not just a title, a leader can be you, your co-worker, any employee, a leader is not just your supervisor, your manger, your director. We are all leaders if we choose to be.

Any favorite memories with DLA? 

In 2009, when I first got hired, I just remember the wonderful group I worked with at the old Barber’s Point Disposition Services site. They were really an experienced bunch of folks who were willing to take the time to train me properly and make DLA a place to commit my time and energy to. I continue to keep in contact with them and look forward to seeing them.

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

Be a good communicator, be clear in the guidance you give and listen clearly to the feedback you receive, so you can provide the best answers to people’s questions. That minimizes the “churn” that can happen when new information is disseminated.

What keeps you motivated?

My co-workers. Working for DLA, I spend the better portion of my weekdays on site with my co-workers. I literally spend more time with them than with my family. So, as I take care of my family, so to will I do my best to take care of my co-workers.

What do you look for when evaluating top talent? 

The ability to work well with others. I have seen many skilled workers who can do their work, but their singular focus creates resistance to being part of a team that is striving for the shared goal of accomplishing the mission.

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

Not a day goes by that I am not on the phone, on TEAMS talking to other supervisors and managers. No one knows it all, we are all better employees and supervisors when information is freely shared and learning takes place. Success does not come from just what you know, success comes from learning from others and building your knowledge.

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

I have seen others sabotage their efforts by saying, “impossible.” They do not even try, before they throw in the towel and say it cannot be done. It is a closed mindset that already knows it all and is not open to new ideas for success.

What was your first job? 

Pumping gas at a Shell gas station, I learned many things, chief among them, where the emergency fuel cut-off switch is located. But I also learned how to maintain a work schedule and not to panic if you do not know what the customer is asking for. The owners of the gas station were a very kind husband and wife, the wife would bring lunch for the guys working the Sunday shift. They showed how being thoughtful can go a long way to creating a strong work environment.  

Any heroes? 

My parents. They both worked hard all their lives and did their best to maintain a safe and stable environment to come home to. They may not have known they were doing it, but as an adult, I can see now that they were modeling to me their strong work ethic and love for our family.