Employee Spotlight: Carl M. Dreschel

By Kimberly K. Fritz DLA Aviation Public Affairs

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Employee Spotlight regularly features outstanding non-supervisory personnel from throughout the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation and DLA Installation Support at Richmond teams. 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.
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Name: Carl M. Dreschel

Organization: Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Installation Management Division

Years of Service: 32

What is your job title, and what do you do, specifically?  My official job title is general engineer. I work in the construction engineering branch. Specifically, I review engineering plans and specifications and conduct construction site visits identifying discrepancies before DLA assumes funding responsibilities, ensuring the Department of Defense, Defense Logistics Agency, the customer and the warfighter received what was designed, what was paid for and ensure facilities/systems safely meet mission requirements.    

What do you like most about your job? There are many things I like about my job.  I currently work with the most knowledgeable, caring, helpful and dedicated group of people I have ever been associated with in my 32 years of civil service.  This section has a great espirt de corps.  Who says engineers lead boring lives – on and off the job?  I like doing something different every day, as each phone call or email is a challenge and is a learning experience.  I like interacting with a variety of people and the challenge of juggling several priorities at one time.       

What kind(s) of training and education helps your work performance in your current role? I believe   book learning in engineering – mathematics/sciences – prepares you to think but the real learning experiences are those received from your co-workers, mentors, friends and family. From Dr. Norman Smith (professor, Agricultural Engineering University of Maine - Orono) I learned designs are worthless if you cannot build them or trouble shoot them - your grade was based upon how well I handled failure and how I proceeded to correct your mistakes.  From Col. Allen Bean, the most important lessons I learned was first to take care of your people and second the job should be fun - once it ceases to be fun, it’s time to move on. From my father I learned to listen which is why I believe I always had an extremely good working relationship with maintenance shops, non-commissioned officers and craftsmen/artisans - who never considered me a “real engineer.”  Having a senior NCO say, “you engineers don’t know nothing … present company accepted as we don’t consider you to be an engineer. You don’t expect us to do anything you would not do yourself, you listen to our opinions and suggestions and you care.” The highest compliment I ever received was being considered a non-engineer. 

What aspect(s) of your current job gives you the most personal satisfaction?  Why?  A long time ago - I went into engineering as I really did not want to deal with people – that misconception became a rude awakening.  From my first step as an engineer in the forest products industry to being a graduate student to working at Loring Air Force Base, Maine (34 degrees below zero not including wind chill), to Headquarters Air Combat Command to DLA today – I have had to work with people to solve problems. I always enjoyed helping the warfighter, base level maintenance shops and engineers.  After 20 years of doing fuels facility engineering (37 years engineering), I have learned there is never one correct answer - some are cheaper than others, some are simpler, and others are just a result of “out-of-the -box thinking” or as Dr. Smith said, “Engineering is doing for one dollar what any darn fool can do for two.”  I love seeing projects go from conception through construction and final acceptance testing, but most of all I do enjoy helping people. That gives me the most personal satisfaction.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?   One of my biggest pet peeves is failing to learn from one’s mistakes.  Mistakes do happen, they are a part of life and learning.  “Anyone who has never made a mistake, has never tried anything new,” said Albert Einstein. One thing I have learned is you’re going to make mistakes, accept them, own up to them and move along – the sun and moon will continue to rise and life goes on.  Just learn from those speedbumps, don’t repeat them nor let them overwhelm you. “Keep on swimming” as Dory said in the Pixar movie “Finding Nemo.”   

If you could pick a personal motto, what would it be? From Disney’s movie “Aladdin” – played by Robin Williams, “beeee yourself.”

What five things could you absolutely not live without?  My wife and best friend, Jeanne.  My three daughters Elisa, Kara and Aubriellen Jeanne or AJ as she’s known. What more does one really need?  

What is/are your favorite book(s), television show(s) or movie(s)?  I have literally worn out my dead tree and electronic books by Tolkien “Lord of the Rings Trilogy” and “The Hobbit” – same goes for the DvDs.  However, they have been replaced by both the book and movie “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson. It is about two middle-aged men whom decided to have one last adventure by hiking the Appalachian Trail. I laughed until I cried.  My all-time favorite movies and theatre productions are those done by the master writer, comedian, producer and director of all times, Mel Brooks, especially his classic black and white film “Young Frankenstein.”

What type of music do you most enjoy?  My taste in music is best described as eclectic - my playlist may start off with the opera “Marriage of Figaro” (Looney Tunes) to one of my liquid fuels maintenance shop foreman’s “head banging music” (burns your ears off) to movie themes to classical rock.  It is a very diverse playlist and like my job - you never know what is coming up next.