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News | Oct. 7, 2016

My DCMA: Laura Vossler, contract administrator

By Laura Vossler DCMA Raytheon-Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 7, 2016 — My name is Laura Vossler, and this is my DCMA.

I hit the ground running as a contract administrator in the Keystone program at Defense Contract Management Agency Raytheon-Los Angeles in November 2015. My mentor sat me down the first day and showed me the structure of our agency and explained the importance of our role in supporting and protecting warfighters — we are there to make sure nothing slips through the cracks and ensure the United States and its allies have everything they need to succeed. My DCMA supports this role by fostering a strong learning environment comprised of a dedicated team that gives the support of a family.

My DCMA is a strong and constant learning environment.

While formal classroom and computer training to become Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act certified is an important part of my Keystone program, most of my learning occurs through on-the-job training. I spent the first several months learning everything a contract administrator needs to know to ensure that costs, product performances and delivery schedules are in compliance with the terms and conditions of contracts.

The learning process is ongoing, as I still learn at least one new thing every day. Everyone here is a teacher — a mentor. My administrative contracting officer does not simply throw tasks at me; she explains the reasoning behind each assignment and tells me where I can find additional information. I must ask her a dozen questions each day, and she always makes time for me.

The other contract administrators are more than willing to lend a helping hand even though they are on a different team with a different workload. The functional specialists are also happy to explain their roles, and how we can help each perform better. My DCMA fosters learning for me and for everyone here, assuring we cover any potential gaps so contracts run smoothly.

My DCMA is a dedicated team.

Every person in this office stands firmly behind our DCMA vision statement, “One team, one voice delivering global acquisition insight that matters,” and it shines through all the hard work put in each and every day. We solve problems as a team, working through complex issues and challenges face-to-face, with each other and with the contractors. We never begrudge an opportunity to have an impromptu meeting regarding an issue because we know our collaboration is what yields our success.

I gained an even deeper appreciation for cross-functionality communication just the other day when the quality assurance team brought me along on a product inspection to see the contract terms come to life. Contract administration is constant and fluid, so when an ACO has to be out of the office, she does not just leave — she takes the time to touch base with other ACOs and CAs to make sure all our functions are covered.

We ensure the customers and contractors always have a point of contact and a back-up point of contact. This way no one is left scrambling to get a question answered. My DCMA is dedicated to working with one another, our customers and our contractors because it is through dedicated team effort that the product gets delivered to our warfighters.

My DCMA is a supportive family.

My mentor told me within the first few minutes of meeting me, “DCMA is family.” It may sound strange — it did to me at first — but after spending just a small amount of time in our office, we at DCMA are undeniably a family. We have all the best qualities of a family, and it helps us every day in achieving our mission. There is always someone available to answer a question and everyone goes above and beyond to help a co-worker.

I constantly feel supported and that makes performing my job duties easier and more enjoyable. My supervisors regularly stop by my cubicle just to ask how I am doing, and there is always a smile waiting for me when I pass them in the hallways. Everyone has a voice here. Even as a Keystone, I know that if I have an idea or opinion, I do not have to be afraid to speak up because I will be always be acknowledged and respected. The respect runs deep here, and it carries over to our customers and contractors. My DCMA family’s support is the best foundation for ensuring our warfighters have everything they need to support our national welfare.