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News | Jan. 7, 2016

DCMA employee wins acquisition award

By Tonya Johnson DCMA Public Affairs

TEWKSBURY, Mass. - Ryan Connell loves to save the federal government money.

It’s that passion that recently led him to being recognized as one of the Department of Defense’s 2015 Defense Acquisition Workforce Individual Achievement and Development Award winners. Connell and the other winners from around DoD were recognized during a Pentagon ceremony Dec. 10.

“I am honored and grateful to receive this award,” said Connell, who is an Integrated Cost Analysis Team pricing lead at Defense Contract Management Agency Raytheon Tewksbury here. “We have a great team, and I owe them a lot of credit. They are hard working and motivated and that makes my job much easier. I have met so many impressive professionals during my federal career, and it is an honor to be selected for any award among all of them.”

Connell’s team focuses primarily on reviewing pre-award proposals on behalf of other DoD agencies’ buying commands. As the ICAT pricing lead, Connell ensures that cost and price analyses are performed accurately and reviews all pricing reports for accurateness, completeness and competency.

“In practice, however, the job is so much more,” said Connell. “This job is diverse. I take on a role of business advisor to the contracting officers at each command. In this capacity, we help strengthen and build those critical relationships between DCMA and the buying commands. This enhances communication and information exchange, which helps our procuring contracting officers get the most fair and reasonable price during negotiations.”

Connell said he enjoys his job because he supports warfighters.

“My sister, other family members and friends are currently serving in the armed forces,” said Connell. “I stay motivated and passionate about my work knowing that I can make a difference for them.”

Connell was notified of his award in an email from Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

Connell, who said he was surprised to see an email from Kendall, credits his supervisor for this recognition. “I feel fortunate to have a great supervisor. Jason Newman, our Integrated Cost Analysis Team director, does a great job to get our team recognized for our accomplishments.”

Newman said in his nomination packet that Connell puts “service before self.”

“Ryan is the epitome of DCMA’s core values of integrity, service and excellence,” said Newman. “He delivered better value to the taxpayer and improved the way the department does business. He has led eight pricers to over 140 pricing actions in support of 27 major buying commands and customers on 46 major acquisition programs. In addition, he led proposal reviews totaling $2.6 billion and provided sustained savings of over $231 million, which is almost a nine percent reduction. Ryan is dedicated and is the physical embodiment of (the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s) Better Buying Power 3.0. His dedication and dependability are above reproach.”

According to the award narrative, Connell was also recognized for overseeing 24 audit assists to other DCMA offices and Raytheon on prime and subcontractor proposals totaling $180.8 million, which resulted in a cost reduction of $14.5 million across all audits.

Newman said Connell “handled 47 unique customer requests totaling $849 million on price history and recommendations, government-furnished property rental costs, program affordability, validation of parts listings and all other requirements. The painstaking investigation ensured cost avoidances over $36.3 million and direct labor reductions of 85,847 hours.”

In addition to his regular job duties, Connell volunteered for the DCMA commercial item determination initiative and led a management internal control review on the contract management office government travel card program. Connell also proposed and established a pricing career broadening rotation with the Air Force, which allowed DCMA pricers to gain experience working as a program office cost and price analyst.

“Ryan continues to set the bar,” said Newman. “He is a natural leader. His value to OSD cannot be overstated.”

Newman said Connell is also a mentor to everyone around him.

“The results this ICAT has achieved over the past year are a direct reflection of his leadership, mentorship and commitment,” said Newman. “His professionalism and desire to contribute made the selection to nominate him easy. Ryan has taught me that the phrase ‘work smarter not harder’ is how we should approach most tasks. His ability to find efficiencies in our processes is renowned. In his capacity as the ICAT pricing lead, Ryan is the physical embodiment of DCMA’s vision of ‘one team, one voice delivering global acquisition insight that matters.’”

Connell, who has been with DCMA since 2013, understands the many reasons his position is important.

“We are here to support the warfighter in ensuring they get a quality product on time and at a fair price,” he said. “With the Department of Defense budget constraints becoming more and more stringent, our role as proposal cost analysts becomes more vital. From an acquisition lifecycle point of view, the contracting process is often viewed as the lengthy process between a requirement being established and delivery of the final good or service.”

Although Connell is grateful he won the award, he said he strives to do his best on the job because customers depend on him and his team.

“I absolutely love that our ICAT teams are cutting down the proposal analysis time substantially,” said Connell. “In 2015, we were able to perform full cost and price analysis with technical support in an average of 29 business days, which compares to 90 to 120 days for normal audit services. This means we’re getting warfighters the goods and services they need two to three months earlier.”