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By Tonya Johnson
DCMA Central Region Public Affairs
My DCMA showcases the Defense Contract Management Agency’s experienced and diverse workforce and highlights what being part of the national defense team means to them. Today, Darron Harbert shares his story.
My name is Darron Harbert, and I am an administrative contracting officer and administrative grants officer at the DCMA Dallas office based in Fort Worth. I have been a part of the DCMA team since I started as a Keystone intern in 2008. I will celebrate my 15th year with the agency in December.
After graduating from Midwestern State University in 2007 with a degree in business management and a minor in finance, I was hired at DCMA as a Keystone intern in December 2008. At 22, I made a goal that I wanted to become an ACO by 30. By participating in the Keystone program, I was able to attain the knowledge and skills to accomplish that goal in five years. By the time I turned 27, I became an ACO.
As an ACO, I work with the qualified functional specialists in supply and maintenance activities to assist in managing the contracts. I chose this career field because this agency provided a job position that was tailored to my major in college. I have always had a passion for numbers and managing contracts, and accounts came easy to me.
My job duties include performing contracting receipt and review, creating and maintaining an ACO administrative structure, and collaborating with industrial specialists to manage on-time delivery dates. I also implement payment processes and procedures, write modifications, attend meetings with the contractor, and manage organization systems or department finances. I am respected by my peers as a subject matter expert within my contract management office.
One of the great things about working at my location is the people. Everyone I work with is always willing to help others. No matter what it is or when it is, if you need something, they are always helpful. We have been fortunate enough to attract and retain some of the most innovative and knowledgeable employees that has aided in streamlining many processes and making our CMO run so much smoother. We all have great rapport, and we respect each other’s thoughts.
I love working at DCMA because the nature of our job is tied to something so important to the existence and continuation of freedom, peace, a strong nation, and most importantly, life. Everything I do is for something and someone important. I am excited to start visiting our contractors again to see the items that we are reading about on these contracts and drawings.
DCMA is important to America’s warfighters because our jobs advocate that we are the stewards of items that can make a difference between life and death. DCMA has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic, and as mentioned, we have streamlined our processes throughout the years. Previously, there were a lot of tasks the ACO did regarding International Cooperative Program negotiations and business systems. A lot of ACOs spent most of their days interacting with their CMO counsel, writing price negotiation memorandums, and negotiating proposals that the actual administrative work was taking a hit. Now, we have departments that handle certain requirements to help streamline those business processes.
My goals for the rest of 2023 and 2024 is to become a better person, coach, and mentor than I was the previous year. My future career goals include continuing to grow as an ACO and learning more about Lean Six Sigma and other special projects that affect the agency’s mission.
My hobbies include mentoring and coaching kids, working out, and spending time with my daughter. I currently coach the 9U Youth Oak Cliff Titan Football Club as well as the 13- to 14-year-old girl’s track team for the Desoto Swift Track Club, in which our team placed 2nd in the 4x100 relay at the 2023 Amateur Athletic Union National Track Junior Olympics. I also play a good game of ping pong.
Something unique about me is that I started kindergarten at four. I graduated from high school at 17, and I graduated from college at 21. I played football while in high school and college. Sometimes I wonder if my life would have been different if I had graduated with my friends versus graduating early, but I think my life turned out fine.
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