News | May 31, 2017

SMEs share their wealth of acquisition knowledge

By Bob Dobrowolski DCMA Technical Directorate

FORT LEE, Va., May 31, 2017 — While the term ‘subject matter expert’ is not a formal title, it is a title that can command a great deal of respect, especially in the acquisition community.

SMEs can be found across the Defense Contract Management Agency at all locations, functions and levels.

“Becoming a SME takes a great investment in work, study and experience relating to the subject matter,” said Michael Shields, executive director of Quality Assurance. “The subjects are not often glamorous, but can be critical to the safety of the warfighter and mission success.

“The tireless pursuit of learning has gained the SMEs the respect of their coworkers, management and customers. They often provide critical insights and information, with little recognition of their efforts. Their satisfaction comes from providing assistance and information to aid in successful outcomes.”

A number of these experts are now sharing their expertise in a much broader manner. They are helping to develop Defense Acquisition University courses on various topics, including measuring techniques, data collection and analysis, export controls, and non-conforming materials.

“They may not be recognized often, but their coworkers and management know who they are,” said Shields. “They are the ‘go-to’ authority. SMEs also share their knowledge and expertise, and they often take the time to mentor others while carrying a full workload.”

Three of the agency’s SMEs are Neil Galloway, a quality assurance specialist from DCMA Boston; Anthony Andreaggi, an engineer based in Pennsylvania from DCMA Eastern Regional Command; and Brian Lohr, a quality assurance specialist who is a part of DCMA Pittsburg but based in Rocket Center, West Virginia.

“I really enjoy teaching and ensuring our quality assurance specialists are properly trained and have the tools needed to effectively perform their duties,” said Andreaggi. “I am also passionate that we develop training that specifically suits DCMA needs and doesn't waste time on unnecessary instruction.”

Galloway said being a SME is important to him as he wants to ensure warfighters receive quality items to do their jobs.

“As a SME, I strive to help my coworkers by providing information and knowledge related to the subject matter,” said Galloway. “The objective is for the warfighters to have a high degree of confidence in the products needed to carry out successful missions.

“I believe that by being involved in course development, I, along with the other SMEs, can share our knowledge, experience and expertise with a larger group within DCMA. This will help others learn and gain valuable knowledge and experience that is necessary to ensure quality products are provided to the warfighters."

Galloway, Andreaggi and Lohr began at different times to work on developing the drawing interpretation/geometric dimensioning and tolerancing course for DAU. They did not know each other prior to the course development, which is scheduled to be completed next month and should be available for employees to take in August.

“Helping our agency gain a better understanding in geometrical dimensioning and tolerancing is a priority for me,” said Lohr. “The application of engineering drawings against processes are essential for the manufacturing of the highest quality products. Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing is the key language to achieving these goals. Being a SME with DCMA allows me to provide support with critical course development objectives.”

Shields said the SMEs each bring a unique perspective to developing the new course.

“They came together to work diligently and tirelessly on the course development,” said Shields. “They have passion for the subject matter, how it will be taught, and its impact on student learning. They bring insightful perspectives to each and every conference call, meeting and design review.”

According to Shields, the three employees are committed to their duties and represent the agency well.

“They challenge each other and the development team in a respectful, meaningful and professional manner — all for the good of the student and ultimately the warfighter. They have also worked with Rita Hicks, an industrial specialist here, to ensure that perspective is addressed and conveyed in this multi-functional training.”

After the initial course development, all SMEs will continue to update DAU courses that contain a similar subject.

“I want to thank all the SMEs we have at DCMA,” said Shields. “Their expertise, experience and willingness to share is valued and appreciated. They truly demonstrate the ‘one team, one voice’ in their interactions with their coworkers.”

If any employee considered a SME would like to participate in a future training development project, contact Rosa Medina in the Enterprise Competency Planning Division at Rosa.Medina@dcma.mil or 804-416-9304.