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News | Aug. 6, 2020

Making industry day work during a pandemic

By DCMA Dallas

Sheila Riley said thinking outside the box is what Defense Contract Management Agency Dallas does best. When the administrative contracting officer and others at DCMA’s regional office here had a tough question to tackle — how will they address industry concerns regarding changes in policy and work environment during the COVID-19 pandemic? — they turned to technology for the answer.

Riley, along with supervisor Brian Grundy, established a planning team to address the needs of both DCMA and the agency’s industry counterparts. “We are all forced to do business differently and adapt to a changing environment as a result of the pandemic,” said Riley, “DCMA Dallas remains vigilant in providing continued support and resources to government contractors during the pandemic and want to share this information with industry.”

The result was a virtual industry day called “Achieving Excellence with Performance during a Pandemic.” The July 16 event was an ideal forum to provide clarity on changes made to assist suppliers in the performance of their Defense Department contracts during the pandemic. The industry day consisted of 13 presentations on an assortment of topics, led by functional specialists from DCMA Dallas, other agency experts, and personnel from other organizations including the Defense Contract Audit Agency.

“With 539 DCMA employees and contractors in attendance throughout the day, the event was an outstanding opportunity for the government and industry to express concerns, clarify expectations, and disperse current guidance,” said Army Col. Wyeth Anderson, DCMA Dallas commander.

Many of the topics directly related to operating during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, including specifics of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III Program. In addition, DCMA functional specialists discussed how their particular roles have evolved over the past few months.

“This virtual event was meant to be conversational with the contractors in attendance being able to dialogue with government subject matter experts in a COVID-19 ‘new normal’ environment,” said Cheryl Pailin, DCMA Dallas contracts director. Pailin said one of the day’s highlights was the question and answer session composed of functional specialists. She said it was an opportunity for the Dallas office to help ensure that suppliers continue to meet contract requirements during this challenging time.

Anderson said the virtual industry day was a success by all measures. “Communication is the most important and most difficult responsibility of our contract management office,” he said. “Based on the immediate feedback that I received from industry partners, the event was well received, and they are looking forward to future industry days.”