JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Jan. 29, 2014) -- The Fort Drum, N.Y., director of contracting culminates 23 years of service in the acquisition workforce this week as he prepares to retire.John Honey has directed contracting operations at Mission and Installation Contract Command-Fort Drum since October 2010, having previously served as deputy director."John has been instrumental in leading not only MICC-Fort Drum but the command in critical initiatives, including cost savings, contract administration and closeout. His years of contracting experience and leadership also proved valuable in helping codify procedures while establishing the 419th Contracting Support Brigade. He'll be greatly missed," said Col. Tony Brown, commander of the 419th CSB at Fort Bragg, N.C.Honey entered the Army Acquisition Corps in 1991 as an intern after spending seven years in the finance career field. Since that time, he's seen a growing reliance on contracting by customers and a rising demand for qualified professionals in a field of scarce resources necessitating a ramp up in training."The overall age of incoming interns has been much younger than interns at the time I came on board. You need to bring them up to a level of proficiency a lot sooner than in the past," he said. "We used to say it takes five years to develop a well rounded contract specialist, but in today's environment you need to be able to accomplish that in two to three years to stay afloat."He recalled staying afloat only required a thorough knowledge of the Federal Acquisition Regulation and its supplements, but a now ever-changing landscape makes it more of a challenge."Today the guidance and policy directions go well beyond the basic regulations," Honey said.The director and more than 40 MICC-Fort Drum military and civilian staff members are responsible for complying with numerous regulations and policies while providing contracting support for Forces Command, Installation Management Command, Medical Command and other tenant organizations on Fort Drum. Since October 2011, the contracting office has executed more than 3,200 contract actions for supplies, services and minor construction valued at more than $165 million.If that wasn't enough to keep Honey busy, his role as a cost price chairman for an A-76 study for the department of public works at Fort Drum also proved a challenge. An A-76 study is a management tool that competes commercial activities and government functions aimed at increasing efficiency and lowering costs to benefit taxpayers."While it resulted in a government win, it presented many new challenges such as keeping it on a very tight schedule," he said. "In April that year, I actually worked more overtime than straight time because worked had peaked at that point."Long hours and deadlines will soon be behind him as he trades his laptop for a fishing pole and a good set of wood chisels in pursuit of his hunting, fishing and woodworking hobbies."I have been asked a number of times if I plan to work. If I wanted to work, I would stay where I am," he said. "I plan on working on my house, finishing projects that always were delayed by year end and enjoying my hobbies."He admits he'll miss the contracting challenges but plans to enjoy the flexibility of more free time."My last, but most important, plan is to spend more time with my wife, kids and grandkids. Since they are scattered across the country, it will definitely involve quite a bit of travel," Honey said. "It will be just wonderful being able spend a few more days if you want to and not have to (adjust) a travel voucher when you return home."