AMC commander receives leadership award

WASHINGTON – Gen. Dennis Via, commander of the Army Materiel Command, received the 2013 Alumni Leadership Award from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund during TMCF’s Leadership Institute Luncheon Nov. 11 at the Washington Hilton.

Via, a historically black college and university alumnus, was honored for his exemplary military record and lifetime achievements. He shared with the attendees his lessons, or tips for success, emphasizing what he considered to be the most important component to a successful career – leadership.

“With leadership comes great responsibility and accountability,” Via said. “To be a successful leader, you must take accountability for your actions, and your decisions, good and bad.”

Via, who commands a $50 billion global logistics enterprise with about 70,000 Soldiers and civilians stationed throughout the United States and overseas, told students they will make mistakes.

“I’ve made many,” he said. “However, it’s through those mistakes you’ll gain invaluable experience, and these experiences will help you grow stronger as a leader.”

Via offered several points to help future leaders succeed in their future careers.

“Pursue academic excellence,” he said, noting there is no substitution for academic preparation.

“Develop and nurture your character,” he added. One can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.

Via also advised attendees to maintain their moral and ethical compass – the ability to judge right from wrong, even when no one is watching.

“Don’t lose your way,” he said. “Stay true to yourself and avoid straying from your foundation – your family, your school, your community.”

Via told attendees to never compromise their integrity.

“Integrity is the one character trait that can never be taken from you – you have to give it away, and once lost, it can never be regained. Integrity builds trust, and trust is the very foundation of leadership.”

Work hard to be a good person, a good friend, a good classmate, a good family member and a good role model rounded out Via’s list of advice for the future leaders.

“Although a successful career is not guaranteed, I submit to you that if you follow the advice I’ve provided this afternoon, along with all the advice you received during the Thurgood Marshall Leadership Conference, you’ll be well on your way.”

Via is the first-ever signal officer in the history of the Army to be promoted to a four-star general, a rank held by only 13 other Army officials, and is the seventh African-American to be promoted to this rank. He assumed duties as the 18th commander of AMC on Aug. 7, 2012. He is a class of 1980 distinguished military graduate of Virginia State University and holds a master’s from Boston University.

“General Via is a perfect example of an HBCU graduate who has demonstrated supreme leadership throughout his career, and we are proud to honor him with this award in the presence of all the students,” Johnny C. Taylor Jr, TMCF president and CEO, said during the award announcement.