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News | Feb. 26, 2024

Agency expert packages way into hall of fame

By Elizabeth Szoke DCMA Public Affairs

Defense Contract Management Agency’s Technical Directorate recognized Laurie Cooper's 2023 induction into the National Institute of Packaging, Handling, and Logistics Engineers Hall of Fame. Cooper is a packaging policy advocate with the agency’s Technical Directorate Logistics Center.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment partners with the NIPHLE to sponsor DOD packaging awards, which honors outstanding teams and individuals in the defense packaging community. These logisticians are responsible for developing tactical-level packaging metrics and serve as the focal point for packaging performance indicators. They serve as the final reviewing authority for all contractual waiver and deviation requests among other packaging requirements.

“This achievement emphasizes Cooper’s outstanding contributions spanning over 15 years as a federal employee,” said Thomas Gordon, director of TD’s logistics center. “This journey that led her to become the senior packaging advisor and policy writer with the agency showcases her exemplary career trajectory.” 

Cooper’s career began when she enlisted in the Army where she served as a counterintelligence agent for five years. She then became a contractor for two years before entering the DOD logistics enterprise. She started as a packaging specialist for the Navy and later transitioned into roles directing packaging groups. Finally, she became a packaging policy advocate at DCMA.  

“Being a packaging specialist has been so rewarding over the course of my career,” Cooper said. “I have worked with amazing people to save money on discrepant material, and ensure material makes it to the warfighter ready to use. I have learned so much and been able to network with the best, and I know that is why I have been so successful within my career.”  

One of Cooper’s notable achievements was establishing the first international packaging specialist position in Wiesbaden, Germany, after she recognized the need for reliable regional packaging contacts. 

“This initiative-based proposal came after years of experience in the field where I had to draw on extensive knowledge in both technical operations and personnel and resource management,” Cooper said. “We understood that quality assurance conflicts due to time zone differences, workloads and overall demand warranted systemic change.” 

This 18-month effort resulted in positive change for DCMA Europe, which maintains current operations of $5.1 billion, managing 395 active suppliers and over 5,000 prime contracts.  

“I feel honored to be recognized for my hard work within the package community,” said Cooper. “Oftentimes, people are unaware of how important the packaging department is. So I hope this recognition will bring more awareness to the agency’s packaging department and how we support functional specialists.”  

Opening the Keystone Pathways Position in Fort Worth, Texas, was another pivotal contribution. It strategically ensured the retention of experienced packaging specialists, fortifying DCMA's coverage options amidst transitions. 

“Laurie's impact has been profound,” Gordon said. “Her expertise and leadership have not only transformed the packaging specialist position but have also influenced the overall logistics management landscape.” 

Cooper anticipated challenges when she addressed the transition from military to commercial packaging specifications — foreseeing potential discrepancies. She played a key role in developing action plans to minimize those inconsistencies and collaborated extensively to drive policy and process changes within the agency. 

“My dedication to the agency and our mission to the warfighter doesn’t stop with my induction into the NIPHLE Hall of Fame,” said Cooper. “I am committed to providing unwavering excellence to the field of logistics and packaging management.”