Shively has moving experience while working with TRANSCOM
Tom Shively spends his work days making sure tons of supplies are moved efficiently and on-time to military units around the world and the skill he has exhibited in doing that successfully recently earned him recognition from his boss at the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA).
The O'Fallon resident has received DLA's Meritorious Civilian Service Award for his work with the U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base. The award's citation says he was honored for being "indispensable" as the agency's liaison officer to the commander and staff of Transcom.
In that role, Shively coordinates transportation requirements for DLA cargo in support of combat operations and relief efforts around the world, including successfully moving more than $125 million in supplies for Haiti relief operations.
"It was a total surprise," he said in commenting on the award. "Supporting our customers is very important to me so I do what I can to insure they have the best support I am able to provide. I just did not expect recognition of this importance and am truly humbled."
He added, "It is an honor to receive the recognition because the director of DLA, our big boss Vice Admiral Alan Thompson, is the one "It is not all about money and all that other stuff," Shively then said. "It is about feeling like what you are doing is adding value for the customers you serve."
A 1967 graduate of Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville, Shively attended Belleville Area College before transferring to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), where he earned an undergraduate degree in mathematics education. He then joined the U.S. Air Force and served 26 years before retiring with the rank of Colonel.
Shively said his late uncle Francis "Bubs" Eisemann bears some responsibility for his decision to join the Air Force.
"He took to me to the air shows at Scott several times and I was intrigue by the air planes so I joined the ROTC unit at SIUE in 1969 and got selected to go the aviation route," he said.
He began his Air Force aviation career serving as a radar operator flying in the back seat of F4 Phantoms. But his flying days ended in 1977.
"I had a little heart thing show up and that was the end of my aviation career," he explained. "I am healthy but it was enough to get me out of the cockpit. So I transitioned into maintenance and supply because it made sense."
Five years after retiring from the military, Shively joined the DLA to do similar work as a civilian in Battle Creek, Mich. He returned to the metro east in 2005 to take on his current duties at TransCom.
Shively explained DLA is one of TransCom's most active partners and a major supplier to all branches of the military. Anything from tents and food to clothing and lumber, or whatever else is needed, DLA acquires the material for all the branches of the service. His job then is to assist TransCom in getting it where it is needed, when it is needed.
"TransCom is very complex," he noted. "And I certainly gained an appreciation of the level of that complexity when I got here.
"The supply people and the transportation people kind of speak different languages. It is important that we bridge that language gap ... between our customers, who are interested in the items in the boxes and getting them when the need them, and TransCom, which is interested in the containers and the pallets.
"There is a real art to the language. It is involved in the synchronization of all the moving parts. And it is very hard to manage the synchronization of movement of all the assets and optimize that. But it is important that we optimize the use of the aircraft and of our surface transportation assets to be effective first, but also efficient," he said.
Shively added, "Another complexity we face is responding to disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti and the tsunami in Japan. If a country is requesting additional support and the Secretary of Defense authorizes the Department of Defense to help, we all lean forward very much and do the very best we can.
"The U.S. is a very generous country," he said. "We do an awful lot to try to help other people out in many ways."
Shively and his wife Barb have two sons, Sean, who also lives in O'Fallon, and Todd, who is married and serving in the U.S. Navy in San Diego, Cal. He is active with the St. Nicholas Catholic Church choir, the Military Officers Association of America, Catholic War Veterans and the St. Louis Water Gardening Society.
**Article posted by permission from O'Fallon Progress publisher**