BATTLE CREEK, Mich. –
Editorial Note: The Pathways to Career Excellence Program for DLA Disposition Services is a two-year program that takes PaCERs through all of Disposition Services and its processes to learn as much as possible about the directorate. The first year takes place at DLA Disposition Services Headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan, and the second year either takes place in Battle Creek for Contracting PaCERs or at an assigned field site for Property Disposal PaCERs. PaCERs begin as general schedule 7s, move to GS-9s at the end of their first year, and graduate the program as GS-11s. There are multiple pathways to becoming a PaCER, including being hired internally, as a recent graduate, or from military service.
Tim Dauten is the Operations Receipt and Network Division chief working at DLA Disposition Services Headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan. Dauten was a member of the PaCE Program when it was still known as the Intern Program, participating in Class 2A in 2011.
In your own words, how would you describe the PaCE program, and what can you gain from it? The program is designed to mold new or current DLA employees into future leaders. You can gain a broad perspective of the agency and the overall mission of DLA.
Why did you first apply to the PaCE Program? I wanted upward mobility in my career.
What was your position before coming to the PaCE Program, if any? First position was a WG-05 material examiner and identifier (2009) at Colorado Springs.
What have been your favorite parts of the PaCE Program? Networking
Do you have a favorite memory from your time in the program? Temporary duty travel to Eglin Air Force Base to help with their backlog.
If there was one thing that could’ve been different for you in the PaCE program, what would it be? TDY with reduced rate per diem and a room at Fort
Custer in their billeting vice a permanent change of station.
What would you say is the most important quality to succeed in the PaCE program? Be resilient.
Please describe your current position in a couple of sentences, and how being in the PaCE program affected you in that position. I am currently an Operations Division chief. The program helped me understand the agency goals on a strategic level, which helps me every day.
What have you done since you finished with the PaCE Program? I spent one year at Colorado Springs in the environmental office, three years in the compliance branch, three years in the law enforcement support office, one year as the Property Accounting Branch chief, one year as the LESO Branch chief, and two and a half years as a division chief in operations.
Where did you see yourself going when you first started, and how does that compare to where you are now?
I saw myself as a general schedule 11 at Colorado Springs for the remainder of my DLA career. Many doors opened along the way and my goals changed as each door opened.
Do you have any advice for current or prospective PaCERs?
- Stay focused.
- Learn as much as you can.
- Get involved in every opportunity.
- Network, network, network!
- Be as resilient as you can.
- Be as mobile as you can.
- Don’t let anyone steal your dreams.
Read more stories about the DLA Disposition Services PaCE team and experiences.