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Defense Logistics Agency director talks about logistics, leadership during Penn State Smeal’s Executive Insights series

February 1, 2018

General Williams and the Dean
Defensive Logistics Agency Director Lt. Gen. Darrell K. Williams was joined recently in a discussion with Charles H. Whiteman, John and Becky Surma Dean of Smeal, during Executive Insights, Smeal's signature speaker series.
Defensive Logistics Agency Director Lt. Gen. Darrell K. Williams shared his thoughts recently on leadership, logistics and other topics with students, staff, and faculty in Struthers Auditorium in the Business Building. It was the first installment of this semester’s Executive Insights speaker series. 

In addition to extensive military training, Williams hold’s a bachelor’s in psychology from Hampton Institute, and master’s degrees in military arts and sciences and national security and strategic studies. He earned a master of science degree in business administration (logistics) from Smeal in 1991.

Williams shared his views in a moderated discussion with Charles H. Whiteman, John and Becky Surma Dean of Smeal. Among the topics Williams discussed were: 

Leadership
“In my humble opinion, the basic principles of leadership don’t really change. I believe in taking care of your own people. The best way to engender a great workforce is to create a climate and culture where people feel like the organization cares about them, that you as their leader cares about them and it’s an environment where values are stressed.” 

Mentorship
“I’ve always thought it was beneficial to have a mentor outside your immediate environment. Someone outside of your immediate environment has the opportunity to be objective about your situation. I don’t think there’s a single mentor for all things. There are different mentors for different aspects of your life and different mentors for different aspects of your career.”

Honor and Integrity
“Honor and integrity in the military is everything. The quickest way and most decisive way to ruin a great career, no matter how brilliant you are, no matter how smart you are, no matter how wonderful your degree, is to commit a violation of honor and integrity, whether it be military or civilian.”

Diversity
“I believe in diversity 100 percent. I believe that diversity is the strength of our military. I believe that diversity is the strength of our nation. I have direct hiring authority for some, not all, of the people who work immediately around me. I have the ability to shape the environment and the diversity in my immediate environment. I think in so doing that sends a signal to the rest of the organization. I think most organizations are stronger when there is a commitment to diversity in all forms.” 

What new graduates can add to DLA
“Information technology is rapidly improving. It’s progressing at such an exponential rate that it’s hard to keep pace with all of the new things that are happening. One of the things we like to get new graduates for is to fill that gap between the things that we are doing with information technology and what new things graduates can bring to the table.” 

About Smeal’s Executive Insights
Executive Insights is designed to complement the Smeal educational experience by bringing high-profile business leaders to the college to connect with students, faculty, staff, and administrators. Past guests include leaders from organizations such as Amazon, Archer Daniels Midland, Barclays, BASF, Boeing, Credit Suisse, Dell, Deloitte, Dick’s Sporting Goods, EY, GE, Johnson & Johnson, Kohl’s, KPMG, Macy’s, National Retail Federation, Nestlé, Oracle, Procter & Gamble, PwC, Samsung, Siemens, Verizon, Tumi Holdings, Inc., and Urban Outfitters.

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