News | June 8, 2022

Leadership Reflection: Tommy Cooper

DLA Disposition Services Mid-America

Lead Resource Analyst, DSD Mid-America

Head shot of a man in a tux.
Tommy Cooper, DLA Disposition Services Mid-America
Photo By: Cooper
VIRIN: 220516-D-AA987-1777
Describe your job in a sentence or two?

I would describe my job as requiring flexibility because it is a very fast paced team environment that is extremely fluid.

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

I was an active‐duty Marine for 26 years, a contractor for the government for 18 years and I have been with DLA Disposition Services for 8 months.

What is your favorite thing about your line of work?

Working with the Mid‐America personnel; everyone that I have dealt with has been totally professional and extremely helpful.

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

That leaders put others first, which in turn creates an uplifting, motivational culture that inspires confidence among employees.

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

Integrity ‐ C.S. Lewis said: “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”

What is your leadership philosophy and how does that tie into your line of work?

My leadership philosophy style is “servant leadership,” which is a people‐first mindset. I believe that when team members feel personally and professionally fulfilled, they are more effective and more likely to regularly produce great work.

Can you share a story when you realized your efforts were making a difference?

Assuming responsibility of a financial department that had failed multiple inspections and over the course of the year mentoring and watching the team grow and progress to the point that the department received a Commanding General’s Commendation for job excellence.

Tell us how you approach to change?

I attempt to not get set in my ways. I appreciate the fact that things are always going to change. If you do not remain flexible, changes will still come, and they will be painful.

What keeps you motivated?

Watching those that I work with become confident, wiser, more autonomous, and helping them become leaders themselves.

What do you look for when evaluating top talent?

I look for an insatiable curiosity to learn, absorb, and apply knowledge.

What do you believe is your biggest accomplishment and why?

Being a husband and a dad.

What do you see as your biggest challenge right now?

Time management: Keeping up with a lot of new information, acronyms and financial systems while adjusting to a new workplace. Also, managing tasks and completing them before the deadline is in another.

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

Networking strengthens both professional and personal development. Also, most people want to work with people they know and like. It also connects you with colleagues, mentor figures, and experts from diverse occupational backgrounds.

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

A lack of goals, direction and inability to accept change.

Tell us something that most people might not know about you or your directorate?

I have been diagnosed with laughter induced Syncope which means that I black out when I laugh too hard; no kidding.

What was your first job?

I worked at Uncle Wigley’s Bicycle and Lawnmower Repair shop – Uncle Wiggly did not pay well!

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A baseball player.

What are your hobbies?

Martial Arts