As the special assistant to the commander and the command ombudsman, he was the focal point for business and industry requests for 26 years; a trusted advisor and problem solver is how many commanding generals and industry chief executive officers regarded him.
For that reason and much more, Lew Ashley was chosen among five others to be inducted into the U.S. Army Materiel Command’s Hall of Fame for the class of 2015. This is the third class to be etched into the walls of AMC recognizing lasting contributions to the command.
Ashley was surprised to learn he had been selected for AMC’s Hall of Fame.
“I liked my job and the opportunity to solve problems that went toward helping the warfighter,” he said. “Whether solving problems, dealing with new technologies or creating more partnerships with AMC – my aim was to bring the right people together to create effective solutions.”
Many of the partnerships and information sharing sessions between government and industry that exist today are the result of Ashley’s creative and witty ideas.
For example, in 1999, Congress directed a logistics education program be established in the Department of Defense to bring industry’s best business practices and technologies to DoD logisticians. This became the Center of Excellence in Logistics and Technology (or LOGTECH), a logistics education program for AMC.
Ashley successfully advocated that AMC should be the executive agency for LOGTECH, and not DoD. The LOGTECH program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill continues to positively impact a large segment of DoD and AMC employees.
Mark Cramer, former executive director of LOGTECH, noted the success of LOGTECH, now in its 15th year of providing academic programs serving the Army and the joint interagency logistics community, “is a testament to Mr. Ashley’s foresight, dedication and unparalleled effectiveness.”
Under the command of then Gen. Johnnie Wilson, Ashley presented a plan that was then approved to establish a nationally focused annual AMC conference dedicated to support the small business community.
Ashley noted that there were many conferences at that time but none dedicated to the special needs of small businesses.
Working with the National Defense Industry Association to provide logistical support, Ashley set the agenda and coordinated participation of AMC’s commanders, acquisition professionals and small business directors.
In 1990, Ashley proposed to the AMC commander hosting multiple meetings each year with AMC leaders and those of industry.
These meetings enabled candid discussions of issues and opportunities which paved the way for improving the way AMC did business with industry. Those sessions, now known as CEO Forums, have continued for over 25 years.
But according to Ashley, his most notable contribution was “being able to help the warfighters.”
“Industry would call or meet with me with an idea or product and I would be a link between them and the buying command or major subordinate command,” said Ashley.
He worked for 10 consecutive commanders in 26 years, and if you ask Ashley about the job he says he “loved every minute.”
His nomination package includes a litany of testimonials and numerous awards that speak to Ashley’s immense contributions to AMC and ultimately the warfighter.