ARLINGTON, Va. – The Logistics Officer Association is proud to present Donald E. ‘Gene’ Kirkland, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Aerospace and Defense Innovation Institute (OADII), with the organization’s 2021 Lt. Gen. Michael E. Zettler Lifetime Achievement Award.
As LOA’s most prestigious annual award, the Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to members who have demonstrated superior leadership in service to the organization throughout at least 20 years of service and at least 10 years of LOA membership.
“Networking with other logisticians is critical to being a professional in our business, whether lieutenant, general, GS civilian or SES,” said Kirkland. “Over my career, LOA provided that opportunity at both my local chapter and national symposiums, making me a better logistician and leader.”
In his current role, Kirkland leads the OADII’s efforts to connect with strategic partners in the aerospace, defense, and global security sectors. He also works to strengthen the University of Oklahoma’s body of research in support of the aerospace and defense industry.
Before assuming his role at the OADII, Kirkland served 34 years in the U.S. Air Force and retired at the rank of lieutenant general. His military career culminated with his service as Commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.
Kirkland was a career aircraft and munitions maintenance officer. He also commanded units at the squadron, group, wing, and Air Logistics Complex levels.
When asked to recall a quote that motivated him throughout his storied career, Kirkland cited George Washington:
“To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.”
Kirkland will formally accept the Lifetime Achievement Award during the 2022 LOA Symposium in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 15-18, alongside Mae Krier, WWII ‘Rosie the Riveter’, and Steve Morani, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment (Logistics) and Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment.