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By Luis Delgadillo
DCMA Western Region Public Affairs
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in DCMA’s 2021 INSIGHT Magazine, which highlights the agency’s warfighter-support story and its global acquisition professionals who use insight and expertise to enhance that story each day. The online version of the magazine can be found here.
The Defense Contract Management Agency marked its latest cost cutting success with DCMA Seattle’s office relocation from Bellevue, Washington, to Naval Support Complex — Smokey Point in Marysville, Washington, Aug. 10, 2020.
More than 50 DCMA employees moved from the agency’s seventh most expensive commercial office lease to a renovated former gymnasium. Parallel to the fiscal savings, the move placed employees on a military installation, which supports the agency’s ongoing efforts to relocate personnel to Department of Defense Facilities.
According to the agency’s strategic plan, such relocations can reduce overhead costs, improve quality of life and increase physical security for the workforce.
After affirming the strategic benefits of the plan, Air Force Lt. Col. John Kendall, commander of DCMA Seattle, detailed the plan’s financial benefits.
“With completion of this move to Marysville, we’ve now cleared our Bellevue lease and estimate facility savings to the agency of $3 million in the first 10 years,” said Kendall.
Another tangible benefit of the move is much of the office’s workforce is now better positioned to serve warfighter interests.
“As a geographic office, we cover defense suppliers within an 850,000 square-mile-area including all of Alaska, Washington, Oregon and about 20 percent of Idaho,” said Kendall. “We found that the majority of our contractors are located outside the high-cost Seattle area, and very few of our staff live there as well.”
The multi-year effort to move out of the downtown Bellevue by splitting the office into two locations occurred in two phases. Phase one was completed in 2018 by moving 45 employees to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
“Splitting into two sites on the north and south of Seattle greatly reduces on-duty windshield time, especially through high-traffic corridors. As an added benefit, the reduced commute times serve as a huge quality of life improvement. It’s a little sad to not have the team in one place, but the quality of life benefits to the staff outweigh it,” said Kendall.
As one example, he said to park at the Bellevue office was a non-reimbursable cost, but the new locations in JBLM and Smokey Point have free parking.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic has placed the majority of his employees in a telework status, Kendall said many team members must conduct in-plant inspections. The new sites are better suited for this work.
According to Kendall, much of the credit for bringing the project to completion on schedule, safely and in the midst of a pandemic goes to several people across the diverse project team. DCMA headquarters, Navy Facilities, several contractors, DCMA Seattle’s mission support, information technology and contract management agency personnel coordinated hundreds of tasks, drastically reduced the office footprint and kept all parties aware of latest status. The collective efforts kept unexpected delays to a minimum throughout the process.
“Huge thanks go to several key members of the team: Keith Chapman at DCMA HQ Facilities for managing both phases of this project, and for communicating and overcoming several challenges that could have derailed this project,” said Kendall. “Finally, M.D. Cieszynski, Shawn Cochran, Debbie Wada and Dave Merrill from DCMA Seattle tracked and coordinated all the details to ensure the new office was ready to go on day one. What a successful team effort!”
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