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News | April 13, 2017

Fort Worth engineers build bonds with marshmallows, monuments

By Thomas Perry DCMA Public Affairs

Representing 12 percent of Defense Contract Management Agency’s 12,000 team members, engineers play pivotal roles in the agency’s warfighter support mission.

DCMA Bell Helicopter Fort Worth engineers recently celebrated National Engineer's Week with a series of events that facilitated cross-functional communication within the office.

“National Engineer’s Week is a week-long event dedicated to celebrating how engineers make a difference in the world, increasing public awareness about the need for engineers and bringing engineering to life,” said Brittany Anderson, an aerospace engineer at the Fort Worth office.

The week began with a tour of the Advanced Composite Center. Led by engineers, members from Pricing and the Integrated Cost Analysis Team were offered a unique opportunity to closely view products and processes.

The celebration ended with an engineering challenge to build the best functioning catapult out of Popsicle sticks, rubber bands and plastic spoons. The only requirement was to shoot a marshmallow as far as possible.

“The challenge allowed everyone to experiment and design, test their design, and then go back and re-evaluate their success or failures,” said Anderson. “It gave everyone an inside look at the difficulties of balancing creativity with function, in addition to showing how resources play a role in the design process.”

As part of the weeklong activities, Anderson hosted a Lunch and Learn event to discuss engineering facts and myths regarding the construction of several U.S. monuments. Topics included the Hoover Dam, St. Louis’ Gateway Arch and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas.

“The discussion included the engineering and construction of these structures, as well as the contractual requirements, and the program management required to successfully meet the end goal,” explained Anderson. “These requirements are identical to the practices used in DCMA today to support our warfighters all over the world.”

Along with Anderson, Jeff Davis, Dustin Jones, Dave Harding, Steve Richer, Mark Salunek, Greg Storm, Stephanie Sunderbruch, Nick Tran, Hoang T. Vo, Caryn Davis, Bridget Sonsel and Teresa Ferens contributed to the event's success. 

“We hope that our continued participation in Engineer’s Week inspires other contract management offices to spread the joy and wonders of engineering,” said Anderson.

Engineer's Week began in 1951, but the event has garnered more attention in recent years as renewed focus on childhood STEM programs is used to excite students about engineering disciplines and ensure a strong talent pool moving forward.

House Resolution 124 highlighted DiscoverE’s designation of 2017 Engineer's Week and its theme, “Engineers Dream Big.”

According to the resolution, “DiscoverE has grown into a formal coalition of more than 100 professional societies, major corporations and government agencies that serves as a hub of engineering outreach dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated engineering workforce, promoting literacy in science, technology, engineering, and math, and raising public awareness and appreciation of the contributions of engineers to society.”

The foundation’s website explained that the 2017 theme mirrors the ethos “Every project, great or small, starts with a dream.”