COMMAND/ORGANIZATION: Program Executive Office for Combat Support and Combat Service Support
TITLE: Logistics management specialist
YEARS OF SERVICE IN WORKFORCE: 10
DAWIA CERTIFICATIONS: Level III in life cycle logistics, Level I in program management
EDUCATION: MBA, Lawrence Technological University, B.S., business administration, University of Detroit Mercy
AWARDS: Detroit Federal Executive Board’s Federal Employee Recognition Award; Army Achievement Medal for Civilian Service; Heavy Brigade Combat Team Value Engineering Certificate of Achievement
by Susan L. Follett
Comfort is good, but growth is better. That’s been Durrell Brassfield’s experience, at least: At his manager’s urging, he moved from a position he enjoyed to one that offered more challenges, and now he helps others figure out their career paths.
Brassfield is a logistics management specialist for the Program Executive Office for Combat Support and Combat Service Support (PEO CS&CSS), focusing on property accountability of all equipment owned by the organization. Brassfield’s job falls into the category of fleet management; more specifically, property accountability and property management.
“The one thing that usually jumps out at people when I tell them what I do for a living is the overall program scope,” he said. “There are not many individuals who can say that they are an advisory acquisition logistician for more than 250 military programs.” For roughly half of the programs he’s part of, he advises colonels, lieutenant colonels and senior project officials “on how to track our equipment in terms of databases and tools, documentation, transactional guidance, audit traceability and system catalog data,” he said. For the other 125 programs, much of that work is tied to documentation and audit traceability, since many of PEO CS&CSS systems in sustainment are linked directly to the Army’s current audit efforts.
“I honestly do not know how I am able to keep up,” he said. “I have the luxury of being able to leverage several smart logisticians at the O-6 level, which helps me a great deal in terms of the heavy lifting. And we have great personnel from the top down.” He also noted that he works “within a great core team of folks on PEO CS&CSS logistics staff who help me tremendously. Our collaboration and teamwork make each of us successful, singularly and collectively, and that allows us to pack a mighty punch in our respective lanes.” That team includes Glen Broman, assistant program executive officer for Logistics; Alfredo Avila, senior logistician; Chief Warrant Officer 5 Leonard Levy and Jim Shoebridge (a former chief warrant officer), senior maintenance advisers; and Adrennia Hughley, industrial base lead, and Tiffany McCants, fleet planner, in the Office of the Assistant PEO for Logistics.
Success in Brassfield’s role requires a handful of components, including functional-level experience, the ability to prioritize and the ability to develop solid relationships with a range of different groups, Brassfield noted. “In this job, you’re essentially leveraging your functional-level expertise with people skills and initiative management. And since we’re often the first entry point for putting new ideas into practice, the ability to manage change is also essential,” he said. “You need to know your field really well and know how to articulate the impact of new policies, regulations or initiatives that come from ‘Big Army’ or DOD. For example, a new policy might require you to incorporate operations that were once stovepiped, or to implement a process that used to go from A to B to C but now goes A-A1-A2-B1-B2-C1, and so on. And you need to be able to do that regardless of whether your staff goes along with the changes willingly or kicking and screaming.”
Before he joined the Army Acquisition Workforce (AAW), Brassfield was an inventory management specialist with the U.S. Army Materiel Command. “I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work on some acquisition programs, which helped me to achieve the job-related milestones that I needed.” While assigned to AMC, Brassfield was providing supply support to PEO Soldier on the XM2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle program, including urgent materiel release fieldings, interim logistics support for maintenance and full material release transition. “The work was so fulfilling: Because it was a wartime requirement, the decisions that I was making with my team members and leadership chain were directly impacting the missions of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
After roughly six years at AMC, Brassfield’s supervisor, Jim Stumpter, “highly encouraged—‘volun-told’—me to apply for a one-year developmental assignment on the PEO CS&CSS logistics staff. I was very comfortable and quite happy doing the work that I had been doing, but he had the foresight to see past my comfort level and past his own needs, and he felt that it would be best for me to try some different logistics work and to get myself out of my comfort zone,” Brassfield said. “It turned out to be one of the best things for me, as that assignment allowed me to flourish in ways that I had not imagined. It gave me direct exposure to acquisition logistics, where I have learned so much at all levels—I’ve really learned the value of the Army Acquisition Workforce, and was motivated to complete the training requirements necessary to couple with the work experience that I had attained at that point to become an AAW member.”
Mentoring has played a big part in his career development. “I have a great working relationship with the current senior logisticians within the PEO—Glen Broman, Kiemba Knowlin, John Ziegler, Randy Morgan and Jerry Sotomayor—as well as former logisticians Jennifer Beffrey and Marion Edwards. Professionally or personally, they have never been too busy for me. That goes a long way.”
He’s following their example, advising junior associates in both formal and informal efforts. He’s a mentor in the Pathways Mentor Program, which provides those seeking federal careers with career management advice, including networking opportunities and recommendations for training and developmental programs. “In my 10 years in federal service, my mentors gave back to me in regards to their time, expertise and opinions. I owe that to those who come after me, so that they can achieve the things that they want to achieve in their federal careers in the same manner that I feel I have been able to due to my mentorship interactions. So far, the dynamic that I have with my mentee has been great, because I provide for her what I received: transparent honesty.”
Balance is also a factor in his career development and workplace accomplishments. “The PEO CS&CSS logistics staff has the best squad dynamics I’ve ever been a part of, from top to bottom. I think that’s because individually, we have the right work-life mix. That allows us to come to work, kick work’s butt as a team, go home and do it all over again the next day.” – Y E A H!