Meet Clifton Blount - Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy (VAAA)
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Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy (VAAA)


Meet Clifton Blount

May 6, 2013

Extracted from Issue 5 May/June 2013 of the VA Supply Chain News.

Clifton Blount

One of the challenges of teaching the complexities of supply chain management is having the right experience to balance theory and practice in order to translate instruction into successful work practices in the field.

Clifton Blount’s resume shows that he is the right man for the job.

Blount, currently the Vice Chancellor of the Supply Chain Management School (SCMS) at the Department of Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy (VAAA) in Frederick, Md., has nearly 30 years of experience in the supply chain and logistics arena, gained through a series of assignments that are as interesting as they are varied.

He began his career as a U.S. Army private in 1984 at Fort Sill, Okla., where he was assigned to the post medical facility as a supply technician.

“Hard to believe it was that long ago,” laughed Blount, who is married and has three children.

In the 20-year period that followed, Blount served in a number of different capacities in locations all over the world, including a tour at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the U.S. Army’s flagship medical center in Washington D.C., where his duties included managing operating room logistics and eventually managing the logistics division for the entire facility.  His final assignment before retiring from the Army in 2004 was as senior logistics adviser to the assistant chief of staff for supply and logistics at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command at Fort Detrick, Md.

After he left the Army, Blount expanded the scope of his experience, working as a contractor for the Centers for Disease Control and serving as the senior logistics manager for the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), America’s repository of vaccines and other pharmaceutical supplies that provide defense against unexpected disease outbreaks or chemical or biological warfare waged against the United States.

Following his employment managing the SNS, he assumed the position as the Director of Supply and Warehouse Management for the Social Security Administration.

“After working so long in health care, where the items you manage literally mean the difference between life and death, it was a different dynamic,” said Blount.  “But attention to detail and responsiveness is still key in any logistics job - that never changes.”

In 2012, Blount went to work for the U.S. State Department, where he was Chief of the Warehouse Branch for the Secure Logistics Division, tasked with moving supplies to and from American embassies and consulates, with dramatically increased security requirements.

“We handled all kinds of commodities, had to do a lot of interagency coordination and had very strict protocols to make sure the items got where they needed to go and ensured the bad guys did not get to them,” said Blount.  “It was a challenge, but rewarding and I learned a lot.”

Since joining VA in January 2013, Blount’s primary focus has been on ensuring the curriculum at VAAA has what it needs to train the Department’s supply and logistics workforce.

While the curriculum is being fully developed, VAAA, in conjunction with its parent organization, the Office of Acquisition and Logistics, is sponsoring innovative and leading-edge logistics educational opportunities for logistics professionals offered by external organizations.  These state-of-the-art courses sponsored by industry experts focus on best practices for supply chain operations, and improve supply chain performance and management at all levels.

Currently, VAAA offers a custom-designed curriculum for logistics in health care sponsored by the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.  In addition, the VAAA SCMS is coordinating a Principles of Inventory Management course that should be available beginning in May 2013, along with Strategic Sourcing training available October 2013.

The training will be hosted at the VAAA’s Frederick campus and at various Veterans Integrated Service Network sites, which will save travel costs and allow a larger number of employees to participate.

“Our goal is to provide best-in-class training using a holistic approach,” Blount said, “using not only theory and principle, but also how to apply it in practical terms.  That’s what’s great about the school, learning the concepts and translating it into success in the field.”

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