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News | Feb. 3, 2017

DCMA employees earn NASA recognition

By Tonya Johnson DCMA Public Affairs

Five Defense Contract Management Agency Aircraft Propulsion Operations Hamilton Sundstrand employees were recognized by NASA for making sure the space agency maintains its space readiness. 

Navy Capt. Michael Huff, the APO commander, and Anthony Miles, his deputy director, presented the Space Flight Awareness Award to Steve Allen, Richard Barry, Daniel DeFranco, Dwayne Jolicoeur and Jerome Tardy here Dec. 8. They are all quality assurance specialists inspecting various NASA product lines. 

“To be an integral part of the NASA space program in support of the International Space Center has been the highlight of my career in DCMA,” said Allen, who has worked for DCMA seven years. “I am proud to be a member of a great team working to achieve this important goal.”

The employees were recognized for their achievement in supporting the Human Space Flight operations. On June 28, 2015, a SpaceX rocket exploded, and essential supplies and equipment headed for the International Space Station were destroyed. Three of the DCMA team members — Barry, Tardy and Jolicoeur — worked with contractors to replace items, including water filtration beds for water production. Since the next supply mission launch was Aug. 6 in Japan that same year, the DCMA team had to work in a compressed timeframe to make sure the right items were procured quickly. 

“They needed to generate replacement products quickly that were lost in the explosion and prevent the International Space Station from having to be evacuated for the first time in its history,” said Kevin Bartol, director of DCMA APO Hamilton Sundstrand. 

In addition, the entire team completed more than 970 government mandatory inspection points across more than 300 parts in 2015. The results of the effort led to a reduction of more than 150 GMIPs, which allowed the team to streamline their contract oversight to a more surveillance-based approach that maximized their quality assurance resources. 

Jolicoeur said he “takes great pride in supporting the space program.”

“I have been with DCMA for two years,” he said. “I transitioned after 25 years in the military as an aircraft electrician to DCMA as a quality assurance specialist in the NASA programs. I enjoy the responsibility of oversight with regard to sending quality hardware into space. This award means a lot to me.”

Jolicoeur said everyone on the team pitched in to make sure the items were ready for the next launch. 

“After the rocket was destroyed and all the government hardware was lost, we knew we had to expedite the new hardware in a timely manner and make sure the process was fluid,” he said. “I adjusted my work schedule to meet the demands of the schedule. Our office also put together a high priority list for the smooth process flow of hardware inspection criteria to ensure all GMIP inspections were accomplished in a timely fashion. Seeing the end result and knowing that my oversight, as well as my colleagues, will assure that only safe, reliable hardware is shipped to the customer, is a satisfying task.” 

Bartol said his staff, NASA and industry counterparts worked hard to get the requested items in about five weeks, just in time for the next cargo space mission.

“As in any successful relationship, communication is key,” said Bartol. “It will determine the success or demise of any organization. We provide NASA feedback and encourage communication among programs to ensure consistent quality assurance and engineering expectations and requirements.

“Our office is central to NASA’s Human Space Flight program as we monitor operations of our contractor, Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems International, which is responsible for products and services that support three NASA programs — the International Space Station, the Extra-vehicular Activity Space Operations Contract, and the Orion multi-crew vehicle. We have and continue to work closely with NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.”

Bartol stated his team was committed and flexible during this timeframe in accomplishing the task. 

“I'm extremely proud of the team as it is a true mark of professionalism that is demonstrative of the command at large,” said Bartol. “These individuals are dedicated and professional, through and through. The quality assurance specialists that were recognized herein are exemplary of our agency’s core values — service, excellence and integrity. It's truly an honor to work with such a team of professionals. ” 

But Bartol’s team isn’t the only group at DCMA that supports NASA. 

“Other contract management offices across the agency also support other NASA centers, such as Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, the John H. Glenn Research Center in Ohio, and several other centers across the nation, each supporting research and exploration that contribute to greater knowledge of our planet, solar system and the universe,” said Bartol. “Our office maintains communications with the other [contract management offices] with whom we have delegations from to apprise them of matters accordingly. We all work together to support NASA.” 

Tardy, who has been a part of the DCMA team four years, said he enjoys his job and knows he is making a difference.

“Receiving the award from NASA is an honor,” said Tardy. “Teamwork and communication are the keys to success. I enjoy knowing I have an important role in supporting NASA astronauts' safety aboard the International Space Station and future missions aboard the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle.”