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News | Jan. 30, 2018

Contract administrator uses her expertise to help fellow warfighters

By Tonya Johnson DCMA Public Affairs

Tamie Haines knows her job as a contract administrator at Defense Contract Management Agency Lockheed Martin Orlando is important. She also uses her previous and current military experience, including as a recently promoted second lieutenant in the Air National Guard, to help her on the job.

“As a contract administrator, I do contract receipt and review, contract closeout and contractor payment monitoring,” said Haines, who has been with DCMA four years. “I joined DCMA to continue service to my country and fellow warfighters after I separated from active duty in 2012.

“My military experience has taught me to have an acute attention to detail, innate discipline to provide the best service possible, and given me an understanding of feudal regulations and statures. Since I work on a weapon system, I have a better technical understanding of the requirements and services our contracts have. I also take the lead often on my team, and I have enhanced my ability to train others on their job duties.”

Prior to working at DCMA, Haines spent seven years in the Air Force on active duty as a service craftsman, which provides support functions to personnel, including food service.

“After that, I was in the Air National Guard for the past five years as a space systems operator,” said Haines. “After graduation and my commission in November 2017, I became a space officer. I decided to join the Air Force at an early age because of how interesting I found the military and my desire to serve.”

It was Haines’ continued desire to serve in the military to lead her to join the Air National Guard and become a military officer while continuing to work at DCMA. 

“I am now a crew commander for a space system weapon system. The overlap of skills required for these job duties are evident in my work ethic,” said Haines. “Understanding the acquisition of our weapon system crosses over to my civilian job.

“I enjoy serving in the military because of its vast opportunities and experience it holds. I have traveled to many places, and I even lived in Japan for three years. I deployed to Qatar in 2012. I have met so many people from so many diverse backgrounds and origins, which has helped me grow as a person and has made me become a better leader. I have also had so many educational opportunities through training and tuition assistance. I hold five college degrees including an MBA, which helps bolster my skillsets used at DCMA. Being in the military is adventurous, and I am very proud of what I do and what I have accomplished in my career thus far.”

Army Col. Jeffrey Phillips, DCMA Lockheed Martin Orlando’s commander, said Haines’ military experience is an asset to the team.

“I think her experiences in the military will help her perform better as a contract administrator in our contract management office because those experiences help emphasize the importance of what DCMA does every day,” he said. “She better understands that her fellow airmen truly rely on the products that DCMA helps to deliver. I also think the military benefits from having a new second lieutenant with DCMA experience. The Air Force gains an officer who has attention to detail, knows how to research an issue, and can deliver solutions on time.”

Haines initially joined the DCMA team by participating in the Keystone program in 2014.

“I participated in the Keystone program because it was a great way to close the gap of time I was in on active duty versus loss years in the federal system,” she said. “Although I had the experience when getting out of active duty, it was hard to translate it into the federal GS (General Schedule) system. The Keystone program was excellent to ensure my skills were translated into the civilian skillsets for DCMA, while also giving me training I needed to be successful in the agency.”

Haines said she learned a lot in the Keystone program and her full-time job reminds her why she became a contract administrator.

“My job is crucial to ensure that the right tools are delivered on time, at the right price,” said Haines. “Our defense contractors should be held at the highest levels of accountability to ensure our warfighters have what they need in the field to perform their jobs. Warfighters should never have to worry about products that they use to perform their jobs, or second guess the quality of them. I am here to ensure that doesn’t happen, even if it is from the administrative piece.”

John Strauch, DCMA Lockheed Martin Orlando’s deputy commander, said Haines is a team player who mentors others.

“Tamie is an outstanding example of a team player,” said Strauch. “She routinely shares knowledge with her teammates, such as leading a meeting on unique identification labeling requirements or working with fellow contract administrators and administrative contracting officers on the usage of certificates of conformance in our active contracts. She also works with industrial specialists to ensure on-time delivery on her assigned programs. On top of that, as a Keystone program graduate, she already serves as mentor to another Keystone contract administrator on her team.”

Haines added she is grateful for the civilian career and military experience she has gained over the years. She also has set current and future goals for both careers.

“It is an honor to work on programs that protect our warfighters, and myself, when I am in the field. I also like having insight and knowledge of the acquisition world because I can work with leadership on the military side when they are lacking that experience as well as augment performance gaps in our mission when needed,” Haines explained.

“For the military, I would like to attend weapons school. For DCMA, I would like to attain my Level III in contracting as well as earn my civilian certification as a certified federal contracts manager. I am trying to become a cost and price analyst, and in the future, transition as a procurement contracting officer. Onward, I would like to become a divisional administrative contracting officer, and eventually join the Senior Executive Service. I am also planning on beginning my Ph.D. in public administration with a concentration in governance and policy.”

It’s important, said Haines, for DCMA employees, many of whom served in the military, to always remember the warfighters who are still serving, whether on active duty, or in the Guard or Reserve.

“Warfighters fight in the field to keep wars and conflicts out of our streets. It is very easy to get detached from the sacrifices warfighters make because they are so good at what they do to accomplish this mission,” she stated.

“One of my favorite quotes I learned in Officer Training School was by Winston Churchill who said, ‘We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.’ It encompasses the very idea that not only DCMA employees, but all Americans, should remember this idealism. I think DCMA’s mission statement that states, ‘We are the independent eyes and ears of DoD and its partners, delivering actionable acquisition insight from the factory floor to the front line around the world,’ is something we should all instill to serve our warfighters.”