News: DLA intern developing key relationships for Troop Support Warstopper Program
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Gary Miller said he believes he got lucky when he was hired to be Defense Logistics Agency’s first industrial specialist intern in August 2011.
The Mission Viejo, Calif., native finished his Master of Business Administration a few months before moving to Philadelphia as part of the new DLA Corporate Intern Program for Development of Industrial Specialists. He works for the DLA Troop Support Warstopper Program.
“Gary is setting the tone and expectations for how we want the program to run in the future,” said Luis Villareal, DLA Warstopper Program manager.
Miller is settling into working for the construction and equipment supply chain following three months at the medical supply chain and six with clothing and textiles. As an intern, he will rotate next to DLA Headquarters in Fort Belvoir, Va., and then to Columbus, Ohio, and Richmond, Va., before taking a permanent DLA position.
The Warstopper Program is a congressional program created to ensure manufacturers can provide critical items needed for war, according to a DLA Warstopper fact sheet. Contract vehicles are put in place so businesses can continue to produce wartime items that may have limited shelf lives, long production lead times, or decreased demand during peacetime, or for which storage is cost-prohibitive.
For example, during peacetime a body armor manufacturer may receive fewer orders and become financially strained. A DLA Warstopper investment may pay some of the company’s costs or give it business to ensure the company is able to produce wartime-needed items.
“A lot of these firms, if we didn’t help them out when they needed it, they would go out of business,” Miller said. “Sometimes they’re the only ones who know how to make what they make.”
Miller “gets very up close and personal” while visiting companies to help evaluate them for Warstopper investments. He meets with the managers and accounting teams; he speaks to supply and demand planners and goes on production tours. Miller combines a company’s perspective with the industrial base and DLA perspectives to create a case study for his management team.
He travels once or twice a month to small and large businesses throughout the United States. He’s also traveled to a Canadian company and visited a prison factory.
“It’s nice to be able to work with vendors and develop a relationship with them,” Miller said. “One of the things our program relies on is that we do our own investigations into the health of the industrial base. It helps when vendors can feel comfortable enough to come to us and confide to us the problems they’re having.”
A combat engineer for four years in the California Army National Guard, Miller is familiar with many of the items he’s encountered at DLA Troop Support. He also said he understands customers a lot better because he used to be one.
Miller deployed to Kosovo for one year, often going out on peacekeeping patrols but also building roads and bridges with other NATO forces. After leaving the National Guard in 2006, Miller used the post-9/11 GI Bill to pay for college at California State University, Fullerton. At 27, he said he’s still adjusting to the East Coast and the limited outside activities available during the winter.
A history buff, Miller said he likes to see World War II production methods.
“What we have now is good,” Miller said. “If you look at what they had then, they were still able to manufacture thousands of planes, tanks, vehicles, anything they needed.”
Miller’s inquisitive nature translates well to his work for the Warstopper Program, Villareal said.
“He has a real hunger for understanding how things work within DLA and how he can contribute,” Villareal said. “He has shown tremendous ability to work with others, get the facts, perform analysis and demonstrate results.
“The Warstopper Program requires solid business cases and industrial base mitigation to meet the needs of the warfighter. Gary is laying the ground work for what I expect to be many supply chain and readiness improvements for years to come,” he said.
Date Posted:08.09.2012 16:33
Location:COLUMBUS, OH, US
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