News | May 10, 2022

Employee Spotlight: Mearle Tilton

DLA Aviation Public Affairs

Employee spotlight regularly features outstanding non-supervisory personnel from throughout the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation and other DLA employees on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia. Organizational directors may submit names of employees they wish to feature in this column to DLA Aviation Public Affairs. For more information, call (804) 279-3139.

Name: Mearle Tilton

Organization: DLA Aviation at Ogden, Utah 

Years of Service: 5 years

What is your job title, and what do you do, specifically?  My official job title is equipment specialist. I am the material handling equipment instructor/certifying official and the Airfield Driving Program manager. I am responsible for ensuring the readiness and availability of vehicles and equipment, as well as the training and licensing of MHE operators.

What do you like most about your job?  I enjoy the daily interactions with my coworkers and fellow employees. We all strive to provide excellent support to the warfighter by exchanging ideas and knowledge. I also like that there is always something new to learn. Working with new hires in the Storage and Distribution Division is challenging and educational for me. It helps me provide a better, more in-depth learning experience for everyone.

What kind(s) of training and education helps your work performance in your current role?  My training and college education have taught me organizational skills, prioritization, hierarchies and much more. I’ve learned that it’s vital to learn to work with the people around me. It is the people who power any organization. Building networks of organizational knowledge allows me to tap into the enormously valuable bank of experience and knowledge that my coworkers represent.

What aspect(s) of your current job gives you the most personal satisfaction and why?  It is intensely satisfying to take a newly created position and work to put together a myriad of operations. Building a new program from the ground up stretches my creativity and challenges me to look at things and create solutions. Whether I use procedures that are time tested or make something new, I gain satisfaction when it all falls into place.

What was your first job? My first job was as a lifeguard in Great Falls, Montana, when I was 15. It was a way to hang out with friends and meet new people. After five years, I moved into a management position, helping supervise four pools, a waterpark and a staff of 45 people. Even back then, learning about people and how to work together was fun.

What advice would you have given yourself 10 years ago? I would tell myself to not be afraid of change, look beyond immediate needs and decide what you want and where you want to be. You are young enough to try new things and see yourself in different roles. Dreaming too small will limit any success and leave you wondering what it was that you missed. 

If you could pick a personal motto, what would it be? My personal motto is “Life is Not Fair.” This is far from Pollyanna, but recognizing that experiences in life can be arbitrary and devastating can be a source of strength.  I have learned to deal with and grow from those experiences and they have taught me perseverance, given me strength and adaptability. Real world living teaches that success requires you to pick yourself up after setbacks and learn a new way.

Who is the most influential person in your life...past or present? There are many people who have greatly influenced my life, but one of my closet friends really sticks out in my mind. Her hard work ethic, perseverance and obduracy have propelled her. She inspires me when I whine that “things are too hard,” “I’m tired and I don’t want to deal with it,” and “Life is not fair.” I admire her strength, ability to reach deeper despite all the obstacles she has and will overcome. I want to emulate her ability to laugh at herself and not take it all so seriously. 

What is your proudest accomplishment? My proudest accomplishment was when I completed my Masters in Management and Leadership from Webster University, Saint Louis, Missouri (online). It was a goal I set for myself back in 2019. Despite setbacks, I completed the program last year.