Mentor: Tom Guyer, chief, Kaiserslautern Military Community Contracting Division, Theater Contracting Center, Kaiserslautern, Germany

Future of contracting

The future of Army contracting is 100 percent dependent on the investments we deposit into the development accounts of our non commissioned officers, company grade officer and junior field grade officer corps. Today's staff sergeants, sergeants first class, captains and majors will be the leadership teams in 10 to 15 years. The time spent on leading, mentoring and developing them to execute contracts today will secure a premier contracting corps tomorrow and define a legacy of acquisition excellence. (Mentor)

The need to keep skils current

Contracting is a fluid and dynamic field of endeavor. Each day, new fiscal challenges and regulatory procedures are presented, new court cases are decided upon, the outcome of these events change our approach to supporting the customer base. If we disengage for even a few weeks of leave, when we return a new process may have been enacted where the acquisition rules may have changed, currency on issues needs to be a personal mandate. (Mentor)

Recommendation for new contracting professional

You may have heard the adage in some geographic areas, "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change." Contracting is the same, the contracting you do today, will not be the contracting you do in five years. Stay on top of the changes, accept the changes and support the changes. Take personal and professional responsibility to make sure you grow and build the Army contracting corps of tomorrow.

Protégé: MAJ Kelley A. Smith, contracting officer, 903rd Contingency Contracting Battalion (currently deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan)

On contracting
I love contracting because each requirement is unique in its own way and always requires a bit of problem solving. In operational contracting, it's very rewarding to actually see how my work supports the war fighters.

On training
Balancing my military training with my contracting training is always a task. However, both are very important, especially when called upon to do contracting in a contingency environment.

On challenges to date?
My toughest challenge has been developing my own self-confidence as a contracting professional. There are so many things to know!

On working with a mentor
For those coming into contracting, I encourage you to seek out different types of contracting actions and just be a sponge. We (the military) are surrounded by civilians who are a great source of knowledge and experience, don't be afraid to ask questions!