former distribution center commander once told him “Your success was related to
three things that are hard to find in one person: being smart, common sense, and
knowing how to deal with people,” said Brian Burkholder, Defense Logistics
Agency Distribution Jacksonville, Fla., director. He has carried
those words with him over the years, referring back to them, ensuring he worked
well with his supervisors, peers and subordinates.
Burkholder was born in
Pennsylvania, and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1986, where he spent six years as
a field artillery surveyor. He served overseas with the 3/32 Field
Artillery Battalion in Germany. Upon completion of his tour he served with
Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1/77 Field Artillery, Fort Knox, Kn.,
then returned overseas to serve with the 1st Battalion
27th Field Artillery Battalion, deploying as a survey chief to
Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
After completion of his
Army enlistment, Burkholder worked his way from warehouseman and driver to
distribution operations specialist/manager for a leading beverage
wholesaler. He served in this capacity until he was selected as a
material handler with DLA Distribution Europe located in Germersheim, Germany,
in January 2002.
He says working at the
distribution center was the highlight of his career. “I was
afforded the opportunity to be part of the team that developed the center into a
world class distribution platform,” said Burkholder. “I enjoyed my beginnings as
a material handler, picking and packing, to assisting the various commanders in
leading the organization as the deputy commander with many rewarding and
challenging jobs in between.”
He also served as Issue
Division chief, overseeing the storage, issue, packaging and shipping of
customer requisitions, and was DLA Distribution Europe’s operations officer for
a little more than a year, where he was responsible for the overall
effectiveness of distribution center operations. Selected as the
organization’s deputy commander in December 2008, he remained in this position
until his departure in May 2013.
“I feel very fortunate
for all of the experiences that employment with DLA has provided, especially the
experience to live and work overseas in Germany during an essential time in our
history supporting the Warfighter hands on,” said Burkholder.
He also says he
appreciated the opportunity for travel under DLA. Those opportunities included
traveling to DLA’s distribution center in Sicily to assist with the selection of
supervisors. He’s been to Iraq to develop the Multi-National Security Transition
Command -Iraq plan to train the Iraqi Army in the art of supply and logistics at
the Taji National Depot, and was selected to represent DLA on the CENTCOM led
team to negotiate the expansion of the Northern Distribution Network with the
foreign ministries in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Additionally, Burkholder was
selected to travel to Rota, Spain, to assist with the storage and distribution
plan of developing Rota as a DLA distribution site detachment.
“Along with travel,
working for DLA provided me the opportunity to meet with and learn from many of
the finest general/flag officers and senior leaders in the world,” said
From DLA Distribution
Europe, Burkholder became the director of the Eastern Supply Operations Center
with the General Services Administration. He then decided to
return to his DLA roots and became the director of DLA Distribution
Jacksonville, Fla., on Aug. 27, 2014.
Throughout his career,
ranging from enlisted military to private sector and finally settling in civil
service, Burkholder has had the opportunity to work and learn from many great
supervisors. He says he has been able to learn something from each
of them, which he has used to fine tune his leadership skills as an agency-level
His advice to all who
follow him and anyone just entering federal service, “Learn your job and learn
it well. Focus on mastering the duties and the rest will come.”
Burkholder recommends pursuing desirable jobs. “I believe some of my success
came from not applying for certain positions within reach just for a promotion,
sometimes all money is not good money.”
feels the men and women of DLA are hardworking and caring people who take their
jobs very seriously. He is very excited to have the opportunity to return to DLA
and lead the great Jacksonville team.
“Working hard will
provide endless opportunities,” said Burkholder.