By Patrick Tremblay
DCMA Public Affairs
More than 100 Defense Contract Management Agency employees participated in a Special Programs Multifunctional Workshop at Fort Lee, Va., June 4-6, 2019. The event covered a broad range of topics, many unique to Special Programs, a command within DCMA that covers programs with increased security protocols. (DCMA photo by Patrick Tremblay)
Sonya Ebright, executive director of the Defense Contract Management Agency Contracts Directorate, speaks during a Special Programs Multifunctional Workshop at Fort Lee, Va., June 4, 2019. The event workshop covered a broad range of topics, some unique to Special Programs, a command within DCMA that covers programs with increased security protocols. (DCMA photo by Patrick Tremblay)
Jay Norris, director of Defense Contract Management Agency Special Programs Command; Irene Johnson, SP contracts director; and Steve Buetow, acting SP deputy director, listen during a presentation at the command’s Multifunctional Workshop at Fort Lee, Va., June 4, 2019. (DCMA photo by Patrick Tremblay)
Members of the Defense Contract Management Agency Special Programs Command workforce talk during a break from presentations at the Multifunctional Workshop at Fort Lee, Va., June 4, 2019. (DCMA photo by Patrick Tremblay)
The Defense Contract Management Agency’s Special Programs Command recently brought together a large portion of its workforce for the second consecutive year. The 2019 Multifunctional Workshop united more than 100 members of the command’s team at the agency’s headquarters for an opportunity to meet in-person with teammates they normally only know through technology.
Jay Norris, Special Programs director, said this rare collaboration fostered by the event is critical to efficiency during the rest of the year. “Our attendees from last year stressed the need and benefits of being able to collaborate, share best practices and learn from each other face-to-face,” said Norris. “Collaboration is critical, not only to SP, but to all of DCMA.”
Like all of DCMA, Special Programs covers a wide variety of acquisition support and contract administration services for government customers, primarily the Department of Defense. Where it’s unique, however, is in the level of security required for the work the command performs.
The June 4-6 workshop featured a cross-section of the command’s workforce, along with presentations and breakout sessions specific to the command, from the mainstream DCMA, and from other agencies.
“The workshop was well organized and well represented by functional specialists from the SP team,” said Brian Cassar, a cost and pricing supervisor. “The presenters did a great job on a variety of relevant topics and also touched on all areas of DCMA's mission. It provided a unique opportunity to interact and network with SP peers from across the U.S.”
Sonya Ebright, executive director of DCMA’s Contracts Directorate, provided the keynote address, stressing the importance of the agency’s geographically dispersed workforce and noting that “the best ideas for us at headquarters come from the field.” Other highlights of the workshop included an Ask the Director session with Norris, and ample time for informal networking both during the event and after hours.
For many attendees, it’s the in-person interaction that was most appreciated.
"I've been with SP since 2012, and until now, have not had the opportunity to attend an event like this,” said Kevin Laro, a quality assurance specialist. “I found the conference to be a great opportunity to talk about current hot topics, like the recent rollout of the new manuals. The audience was the right size for lively discussions, and allowed for face-to-face time with peers of all functional specialties, to include SP and HQ senior leaders. I learned a ton, and received some great insight."
Norris said the working relationships built and knowledge gained during the event — both formally and informally — will serve the warfighter, customer, DCMA and Special Programs well. “The key to the success of these workshops is our people. Their sharing of knowledge, experiences and expertise here lays groundwork for continued collaboration the rest of the year."
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