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By Tonya Johnson
DCMA Public Affairs
Defense Contract Management Agency employee Rhea Hood recently received an award from Blacks in Government.
Hood, who has been with DCMA a year, was recognized by BIG on Aug. 22 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as one of the winners in the Military Meritorious Service Award category. According to the nomination solicitation, the award “honors military members and Department of Defense civilian employees, men and women, who have supported the DoD mission, overseas contingency operations, or whose attributes best epitomized the qualities and core values of their respective military service or other DoD component.” She was the only DCMA employee who received an award.
“Winning the award was both euphoric and humbling,” said Hood. “I stood on stage alongside individuals who have been with their respective agencies for more than 30 years, as well as those who have deployed on their agencies' behalf.”
Hood is an information technology specialist at DCMA Lockheed Martin Moorestown. Her job duties include providing site administration to the DCMA 360 internal website; web development; system maintenance; and data, records and content management.
She is also her contract management office’s information resource manager, and she trains others on the administration and maintenance required for the 360 website. Hood has worked in the IT field for more than 10 years, and prior to DCMA, she worked in private sector.
“Rhea has served as the key team player to broaden the IRM community in technology research, planning, deployment, configuration and administrative guidance,” said Susan Garofalo, chief of the Mission Support Office, who is Hood’s supervisor and who nominated her for the award. “A major part of Rhea’s role as an IRM is to utilize DCMA’s existing toolset to solve problems and streamline business processes.
“This involves the integration of the DCMA 360 portal with Microsoft Office applications, email, and automation using workflows. To date, 10 business processes here have been streamlined. In each instance, Rhea produced training material and provided online demonstrations and side-by-side instruction to ensure operational readiness.”
Outside of her job, Hood enjoys volunteering and encouraging students to pursue science, technology, engineering and math, also known as STEM, careers.
“I am committed to mentoring and training students,” said Hood. “I am active with my alumni association at Lincoln University by recruiting students for internships and career shadowing programs at DCMA and other federal agencies. I also teach STEM vocational skills to young adults, and I teach historically disadvantaged and underrepresented students essential skills to prepare for the SAT.”
Garofalo said Hood has provided students with the tools they need to excel in their future careers.
“As a volunteer, Rhea’s goal is to create a natural environment where meaningful connections are initiated,” said Garofalo. “As a result, she acts as a career resource between African-American alumni and professional colleagues for internship, externship and career shadowing prospects leading to opportunities within the federal government.
“As a former intern, Rhea comprehends the value of genuine mentorship,” added Garofalo. “As an advocate of STEM in education, Rhea continues to seek opportunities to grow these essential skills for historically disadvantaged and underrepresented students.”
Hood said the award will continue to motivate her to serve as a mentor, both at DCMA and with her volunteer efforts.
“There are so many opportunities to pay it forward at DCMA,” she said. “Our agency provides a nurturing environment for spontaneous generosity, which goes a long way. I make it a goal to offer my two cents to my colleagues. This can be in any area, from IT tips to trying to maintain an active lifestyle. Helping others breaks down the fear of exclusion and peer pressure and fosters an environment for knowledge sharing.
“The highlight of my career has been becoming a mentor myself. As a tutor and STEM advisor, I have found the untarnished joy in passing my knowledge to aspiring engineers and technology professionals. To me, this is the true meaning of paying it forward.”
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