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DCMA Seattle ribbon cutting marks part one of relocation ‘inside the fence’

By Luis Delgadillo DCMA Western Region Public Affairs

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The Defense Contract Management Agency’s Western Regional Command commemorated the opening of renovated and expanded DCMA Seattle office space during a ribbon-cutting ceremony here Nov. 2.

The unveiling of the new office space marked the relocation of more than half of DCMA Seattle’s staff from their space in Bellevue to Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The move is the first major step by DCMA Seattle to bring the majority of its workforce ‘inside the fence,’ or within the bounds of a military installation.

“We calculate that even factoring the construction, renovation and move costs, by vacating our leased space in Bellevue, Washington, DCMA will save over $4.5 million in the first 10 years,” said Air Force Lt. Col. John Kendall, commander of DCMA Seattle. The move is part one of DCMA Seattle’s two-part plan to relocate the majority of its workforce to military installations. Part two is to be completed by late 2019. Such actions support the Department of Defense’s strategic goals to reduce excess property and infrastructure.

“There are many tangible cost savings and intangible benefits in the form of security and organizational efficiency that make this a smart move,” said Kendall. “The quality of life and cost savings to our staff will improve retention and lead to a happier workforce, even more dedicated to the DCMA mission.”

DCMA Seattle currently leases 11,500 square feet of commercial office space in downtown Bellevue. According to Kendall, at $600,000 per year it is one of the most expensive leases for the agency, and one that is projected to grow by half a percentage point per year.

Another tangible benefit of the move is that much of the office’s workforce is now better positioned to serve the warfighter’s interests. Kendall said the relocation plan places many of his traveling employees close to the contractors that they oversee, which reduces total driving time and saves employees’ time.

“As a geographic office, we are not focused on any one contractor. Instead, we cover all defense suppliers within a 750,000 square mile area including all of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and about 20 percent of Idaho,” said Kendall. This geographic dispersion covers 10 main physical locations spread throughout the four states.

As if covering such an area weren’t enough, DCMA Seattle also has a workload challenge to match. During his remarks to the audience, Mike Dudley, DCMA Stockton director, who oversees DCMA Stockton, DCMA Seattle and DCMA Sacramento, gave a little perspective on what DCMA Seattle was responsible for. “This command (DCMA Seattle) represents almost half of our entire (DCMA Stockton) office's workload, and much of its most challenging geographic dispersion.”

The first steps to facilitate the move took place in 2016. After a review of DCMA Seattle’s operating model for the Bellevue commercial space, DCMA’s team saw an opportunity to save time and money through a relocation plan. At the time, Air Force personnel from the 62nd Airlift Wing and the 627th Air Base Group were already hosting a small contingent of DCMA Seattle personnel in their building on the joint base.

“Normally the process to move from one place to another place takes about three years, but it also depends on where you’re moving,” said Luis Azucena, facilities manager for DCMA’s Western Region. In DCMA Seattle’s case the move would mean the closure of its leased space in Bellevue and splitting of their office into two main locations. Part one of the relocation being the Lewis-McChord move and part two being its scheduled late 2019 move to Smokey Point Naval Support Complex in Marysville.

Azucena, who provides insight from the western region’s facilities perspective, said that DCMA Seattle’s overall move timelines were stretched a little longer than the average three years because of the complexity surrounding the relocation of its workforce to two different military installations under different services.

By keeping everyone communicating and moving the process along, the relocation team was able to keep unexpected delays to a minimum. Such efforts were critical to part one of the relocation.

“Although it took the work of many to make this move happen, there are two individuals that served as the primary points of contact and kept all details and parties pulling in the same direction,” said Kendall.

Jeremy Greer a quality assurance supervisor with DCMA Seattle and Dennis Staples a resource manager with the Air Force’s 627th Air Base Group both received DCMA’s Core Value Award from Dudley for their work bringing part one of the move to a finish.

While DCMA Seattle continues the coordination for part two of its relocation it’s clear that stewardship is top of mind.

“Just as we expect our contractors to operate efficiently and provide best value, we as a government agency must do the same,” said Kendall.

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