On the Job with Lyndia Sue Wright

Lyndia Sue Wright is the director of the weapon systems management center at Marine Corps Logistics Command at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany. She has logged in a 36-year career in the logistics field. (Jennifer Parks)

Lyndia Sue Wright is the director of the weapon systems management center at Marine Corps Logistics Command at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany. She has logged in a 36-year career in the logistics field. (Jennifer Parks)

ALBANY — Entering into college at age 16 after graduating from Worth County High School, Lyndia Sue Wright has logged a 36-year career in logistics, holding a variety of positions from trainee to senior leader.

She first entered Marine Corps Logistics Command (LOGCOM) as a cooperative education student while a sophomore at Fort Valley State University, ultimately leading to permanent employment when she graduated in 1979.


NAME: Lyndia Sue Wright

AGE: 55

POSITION: Director, Weapon Systems Management Center, Marine Corps Logistics Command, Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Business Administration degree in management from Fort Valley State University, a Master of Science degree in management from Troy University as well as additional graduate courses at the University of North Carolina

FAMILY: Husband, Carror “C” Wright, daughters Maresa Wright of Macon and O’Sheta “Nikki” Harris of Fort Valley. Grandson, Justin Harris

Now the director of the weapon systems management center at LOGCOM, a position she will be retiring from next month, her roles have led her to support Marines and other military in Desert Storm, Desert Shield, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. She has worked directly with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the United States Navy, Army, Air Force, the Defense Logistics Agency, Canadian Army, Saudi Arabian National Guard, Australian Army and various Fortune 500 companies.

In a recent sit-down with Herald writer Jennifer Parks, she speaks of her family ties to Ray Charles, how mentorship and leadership skills have allowed her to climb the ladder and how she has used open lines of communication to keep employees motivated.

Q. What was your first job?

A. It was here. After graduation from Worth County High School at age 16, when I entered into college, my advisor recommended I go into an internship program (at LOGCOM) . It ultimately ended in a permanent position after graduation.

Q. What was the first thing you spent money on when you received your first ever paycheck?

A. I bought clothes, shoes and began savings for a down payment on my first car.

Q. What’s the single most effective technique you found over the past two years for keeping employees motivated?

A. Keeping employees informed as we come to development (stages) and allow them to have input.

Q. What led you to your current position?

A. Starting as a co-op student in the logistics and supply field, I was in a new job an average of every three years either through promotion, assignment and realignment. This gave me experience in the logistics field in different elements. Graduate courses, interaction and travel with Marines — all those things gave me the foundation of what I needed when I moved into a logistics center director position.

Q. Do you have a role model or mentor in your career?

A. I’ve had several. Starting as a child, my mother — because of her upbringing of me and her work habits, which rubbed off on me. In college, there were instructors in the business department. In the work force, my supervisors at each level. They all pushed me in the beginning. They have been mentors to guide and lead me to higher heights.

Q. What is the biggest lesson you as a business leader learned from the recent recession?

A. To keep employees informed of all the official information that we know, to listen to their issues and concerns and obtain answers whenever possible — and be there to provide support as they need us. From the production side, the concern is the most critical task to make sure we are able to get it done, and work on others as we can in a timely manner.

Q. If you could turn the clock back on one aspect of technology — examples e-mail, automated phone systems, cell phones, PDAs, etc. — what would you most like to see go away?

A. I may turn the clock back on email. I receive hundreds per day, and it has moved people away from face-to-face talking.

Q. What is your favorite work-related gadget?

A. At work, it is my computer.

Q. What is your favorite tradition?

A. Family gatherings for Thanksgiving and Christmas. My husband and I have been married for 31 years, and we alternate between years.

Q. What was the last book you read? Do you have things you read daily or regularly?

A. Daily and regularly, I read logistics and business articles, magazines, books and religious paraphernalia. Now I’m reading “The Lightning of Empowerment” (by William C. Byham). I still think I’ll need leadership qualities as I go into my next step.

Q. What is your morning routine?

A. I am a geo-bachelorette, which means my family resides in middle Georgia. On Mondays, I get up extra early and drive into work in time for the command staff meeting. On Tuesdays through Fridays, I am here with my parents. I get up, do 30 minutes on the stationary bike, shower and get dressed for work. Most days I stop by a local restaurant and pick up a quick breakfast. I review my daily schedule and any hot tasks from the command, or others, before starting my day.

Q. What famous person would you like to meet, and why?

A. Probably Ray Charles, because he is a family relative that I’ve heard many stories from my mother and grandparents about. I have a piano, and he taught my mother on that piano. His mother and my grandparents were first cousins.

Q. Favorite hobbies or activity outside work?

A. My husband was a football coach for over 30 years, so (I like to be) a spectator at football games and other sporting activities year-round. I also like family gatherings, and I like scrapbooking.

Q. Best and worst things about your job?

A. The best thing is knowing that a solution we develop and execute will increase the operational readiness of military weapons systems and ultimately save the life of a Marine in harm’s way. The worst thing is when we are not able to develop that solution quick enough.

Q. The most beneficial course I took in school was?

A. I would say it was one of my management classes — production management. It taught me the theory of managing people and things, and it included field trips to various businesses and how they operate and do things.

Q. What would be your dream job if you were able to pick a position outside your current career path?

A. I wanted to be a flight stewardess, now known as a flight attendant. I wanted to see the world when I grew up. I would get to travel and meet people. That would still be of interest to me.

Q. Where do you see yourself on the first anniversary of your retirement?

A. I see myself as an adjunct professor at a university teaching business and logistics courses, a peach lady at the local hospital, a volunteer with the Girl Scouts council and (taking advantage of) some “Sue” and family time.

Q. What is the one trait a strong business leader cannot afford to be without?

A. Being themselves. They should have, or go by, what I call the “Three Ps” principle — prepare, push and pause. As they go through that (I recommend they) read books and get a lot of information, but adapt to your own style and be you.

Q. What kind of music you most listen to?

A. Jazz. It’s got enough beat to rock a bit, but smooth enough for thinking.

Q. What do you think is the biggest change Albany will see in the next 10 years?

A. Technology will make things more impersonal, so jobs will be more in a digital world. The economy, I believe, is not going to be advanced, so everyone will have to learn and adjust to what they have or less. In that time, I would encourage them to be more patient and supportive of each other as this occurs.

Q. What was the best vacation you’ve ever taken? Why?

A. There have been two. One was to Vegas with my husband, brother-in-law and sister-in-law. It was just exciting and fun and relaxing. The second was to Hawaii with some ladies. We were able to let our hair down and unwind from our professional leadership roles.

Q. What are the biggest changes you have seen in your specific line of business over the past few years?

A. Over the past 10 years during the long war, everything was a priority. There was a lot of rush to get things to Iraq and Afghanistan as quick as possible. We are now in that catch-up mode of going back and developing and documenting (so we can be sure) we can maintain equipment for the military. This is Department of Defense wide.