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News | Sept. 13, 2016

Keystone shines in Phoenix heat


“Bryce has been an invaluable asset to our team from the moment he set foot in the office,” said Nick Walters, Defense Contract Management Agency Phoenix program integrator. “Throughout his Keystone program, he has consistently gone above and beyond any of our expectations.”


And Walters would know, he served as the mentor for Bryce Griffith, DCMA Phoenix’s latest Keystone graduate. Griffith is now an earned value management specialist, completing the three-year program at the Orbital ATK facility in Chandler.


“He shined right from the start of this long process,” said Walters. “He has demonstrated his strong desire not only to work hard, but to learn through his various mentors, regardless of their job series. Bryce has already shown the potential to carry the workload of seasoned veterans — working on multiple projects within the same contractor facility. He has been the go-to employee for EV audit traces and expert analysis.”


William Linville, DCMA Phoenix Engineering and Analysis director, has continually used the Keystone pipeline as a valuable resource to bring aboard new team members to help encourage innovation and develop future talent.


“These are the change agents the DCMA director is looking for to move the agency forward,” said Linville. “It is incumbent upon the current generation of DMCA employees to mentor and develop our future workforce and leaders.”


The Phoenix Keystone program has been instrumental in finding new employees — ranging from recent college graduates to business professionals — who are talented and motivated and bringing them into the DCMA family, according to Kevin O’Connor, programs team chief. “We have valuable employees that leave our workforce every year, so there is a need to replenish this steady stream where our corporate knowledge diminishes with each separation. The Keystones are our force multipliers that bring in new perspectives, ideas and energy to our agency.”


Kristi Fishler, DCMA Phoenix Keystone coordinator, said the office takes pride in nurturing a support network that allows Keystones to develop to their full potential. “Bryce truly is a role model Keystone. He always put in effort, wasn’t afraid to ask questions and has a positive attitude. Every time I see him he puts a smile on my face, and I couldn’t be happier to have him graduating and representing our program.”


Griffith said everyone was very supportive, especially his mentors. “They let me take everything at my own pace and encouraged me to strive for success. It’s one thing to have classes in place, but at the end of the day the real life experience is what counts. DCMA Phoenix has fostered a culture that allowed me to acquire that experience, and for that I am very grateful.”


Fishler said Griffith is the epitome of what they look for in a Keystone. “He is technologically savvy, brings fresh ideas, and has an eagerness to learn all aspects of his role, and the product he works with.”


As one of his Keystone projects, Griffith created a milestone tracker that gave the office’s senior leadership high-level visibility into major programs’ significant milestones and customer engagement opportunities. Through his hard work and technical expertise, he has positioned himself as an EV analysis subject matter expert whose insight is routinely sought by members of his program support team.


“When he first started out, Bryce asked quite a few really good questions to ensure he had a solid understanding of our work,” said Walters. “Now people come to him with their questions. His growth from a new Keystone full of questions, to a skilled journeyman full of answers, has been remarkable to watch. Bryce’s ability to contribute at a high level as a Keystone allowed us to continue to provide great support to our customers while coping with resource shortfalls due to hiring freezes and attrition.”


Griffith credits his supervisors and program integrators for encouraging him to dive right in to the work as an EV specialist.


“Major assignments encourage and embolden Keystones to strive for excellence,” said Fishler. “For the past two years, Bryce has written the EV analysis reports included in program assessment reports delivered to senior levels of the Department of Defense.”


Griffith embraces the challenge and is encouraged by the top-down view it gives him of the major programs he work on.


“It’s a little bit of everything all at once and is a great way to learn how it all fits together” said Griffith. “The job practically requires you to get outside your little box if you want to provide actionable insight. It gave me plenty of opportunities to pick up real world knowledge from other functional areas and offer useful functional insight at the same time. It’s really neat being in such a position on a program.”


Griffith’s contributions are not limited to the Phoenix office. During his second year in the program, the EV Management Implementation Division requested that he support one of their two-week compliance reviews, a position normally reserved for more tenured employees.


“Drinking from the firehose is the first phrase that comes to mind, but it certainly helped my training,” said Griffith. “I had the opportunity to learn not just from my peers, but from the experts in the field that certify and validate contractor EVM systems with years of experience under their belt. It was information that I use every single day at work when analyzing EV data.”


Griffith’s advice to Keystones hoping to follow his lead is simple, “Be engaged, be communicative.


“There’s so much that goes into a defense contract that it’s easy for one person to overlook something. Simply speaking up about what you see provides a different perspective, and at the end of the day, that helps everyone do their job better,” continued Griffith. “Just because you’re a Keystone or you’re new to the work, don’t be overwhelmed by how complex everything is — even if you’re wrong about something, it’s still a learning opportunity.”