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News | Dec. 20, 2023

My DCMA: Stephen Matoesian, lead QA engineer

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, Stephen Matoesian shares his story.

My name is Stephen Matoesian, and I am a lead quality assurance engineer at DCMA Boeing St. Louis in Missouri. My job duties include working to support multiple weapon system programs, while also mentoring and training other quality assurance engineers. We cover not just the in-plant work, but all the issues such as nonconformances and repairs at sub-tier suppliers as well.

My current role is a dual role in which I use both my quality system experience and technical background to make informed decisions. For example, I use my previous experience to evaluate a contractor’s proposed repair dispositions. If a proposed repair disposition is not clear, then the operator at the sub-tier supplier may damage a part. The object is not only to generate data collection and analysis reports, but to provide actionable data that helps drive contractor surveillance.

Some of the great things about working at my location include seeing the variety of products that we manage. My contract management office oversees both aircraft and weapon systems contracts. This has exposed me to large long-term aircraft contracts with one or two deliveries a month and to smaller weapon system contracts that have hundreds of deliveries a month. These products vary in scale, production rate, technical complexity, contract size and customer. This has allowed me to have an in-depth view of different products that are critical to the warfighter.

I am happy that I am part of a cross-functional team, and I work with many quality assurance specialists. This gives me additional insight into the contractor’s data and has made it easier for me to be on the shop floor with them during inspection. Since we’re on the same team, we work closely together to see if maintenance and reliability in the field could be impacted by a nonconformance. 

I have been a part of the DCMA team for seven years. I like working at DCMA because there are opportunities to develop my skills for advancement, and I can be successful performing my job. I am happy I have had the opportunity to learn about new areas such as developing robotic drilling machines and electronic hardware processing. I never would have been exposed to these areas if I still worked in my previous jobs. So, while we perform contractor oversight at DCMA, there are opportunities to learn about new areas.

It’s commonly said that DCMA’s biggest asset is its people and, as cliché as it is, I believe that’s true. My mentors and peers at DCMA have made my experience both enjoyable and gratifying. When every day starts to feel like Groundhog Day, the camaraderie I have with my team and DCMA coworkers helps keep my morale high.

DCMA is important to America’s warfighters because we help deliver quality products to the warfighters as fast as contractually possible. The world of weapon systems is at a high tempo, which requires us to maintain the ability to make well-informed decisions quickly. A product delivered quickly is only good if it can meet the warfighter’s need. For example, a guided bomb with the wrong software does not help the warfighter. Good quality is good business, and DCMA’s presence helps to ensure that.

DCMA has changed over the years. I think the hybrid working environment has changed the agency for the better. I never teleworked before the COVID pandemic, but now, I have embraced teleworking along with others within the agency. But I think the biggest changes will come as the agency restructures and focuses more on data and process surveillance.

I’m excited to see the rollout and restructuring that will come with Vision 2026. Change is always hard, but I believe the agency will become even better once the changes are made. I believe that having new coworkers and a new CMO will challenge what I know and help me learn new skills.

My goal for 2024 is to have a successful transition from DCMA Boeing St. Louis in the Central Region to DCMA Missiles — the new organization. This will be a significant structural change, but the mission and contracts will stay the same. I have been lucky to work with great coworkers at DCMA up to now, and I’m sure that will continue.

My future career goals include continuing to grow my skills and advance within the agency. I also want to continue to mentor others to help them grow and advance in their careers. I have worked with a lot of good people, and many of them have advanced within the agency. However, some found their calling outside of DCMA and left. Helping people advance in their careers, whether it is within DCMA or not, is a personal goal for me.

My favorite hobbies include following the University of Illinois football and basketball teams, doing do-it-yourself projects around the house, and bowling. Something unique about me is that I have been a University of Illinois, which is my alma mater, football season ticket holder for 18 years.