__________________________________________________POSITION AND UNIT: Contract specialist, 419th Contracting Support Brigade YEARS OF SERVICE IN WORKFORCE: 1 YEARS OF MILITARY SERVICE: 10 DAWIA CERTIFICATIONS: Level II in contracting EDUCATION: B.S. in criminal justice administration, Columbia Southern University AWARDS: Army Commendation Medal (1 Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC)); Army Achievement Medal (3 OLCs); Army Good Conduct Medal (3); National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Iraqi Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Medal; NCO Professional Development Ribbon (2); Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon (4); North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal__________________________________________________YEAR ONE: LOTS TO LEARN Looking for a way to support her family, Staff Sgt. Adela Tacla joined the Army 10 years ago and spent nine years as a unit supply specialist. When a number of friends transitioned to acquisition, she followed, and has worked as a contract specialist for the 419th Contracting Support Brigade for the past year. Now deployed, she took the time to answer some questions about her work before she left. FOTF: What do you do in your position, and why is it important to the Army or the warfighter?TACLA: As a contract specialist, my job is to be sure that I've done my due diligence when it comes to procuring an item or service by promoting competition and ensuring that the prices we receive are fair and reasonable. My job to the warfighter is very important: I ensure that the warfighter receives the right equipment or service at the time it's needed.FOTF: How did you become part of the Army Acquisition Workforce, and why?TACLA: I became interested in the acquisition workforce when I noticed several peers reclassify into the 51C military occupational specialty (MOS). Researching the transition and talking with my peers, I was intrigued by the opportunities this MOS could offer me. (Editor's note: For more on the opportunities offered by the 51C MOS, read Army AL&T News article: NCOs, Meet Charlie, the MOS with the Most.) FOTF: What do you see as the most important points in your career with the Army Acquisition Workforce, and why?TACLA: Working in the Army Acquisition Workforce has truly been challenging to me as a noncommissioned officer because of the great deal of knowledge that's required to successfully execute in this MOS. One of the most significant events for me was attending the Operational Contract Support Joint Exercise in March 2015 at Fort Bliss, Texas. (Editor's Note: The exercise, which involved roughly 1,000 joint and coalition service members and civilians, focused on deployment readiness, mobilization and contingency contract support.) That exercise gave me the chance to apply in real time all of the lessons I learned in the acquisition classes I have attended. Having the opportunity to use what I learned in the classroom was invaluable to me as someone who's relatively new to this MOS. I'm also working on my DAWIA certifications and earning a master's degree. Both are crucial parts of helping me do my job effectively. FOTF: What's the biggest challenge you face?TACLA: For me, it's not knowing everything that's part of the MOS. I realize I've only been in this field for a year, and I've spoken with people who've been here much longer who say the same thing: there's a lot to learn. But researching the Federal Acquisition Regulation and reading have helped me address that challenge. FOTF: Can you name a particular mentor or mentors who helped you in your career? How did they help you? Have you been a mentor?TACLA: I have several individuals who give me advice and recommend career progression opportunities. I am also self-motivated, and I push myself to achieve whatever goals I set by focusing on my family, which is the underlying source of my motivation. I also listen to motivational speakers every day. FOTF: What's the greatest satisfaction you have in being a part of the Army Acquisition Workforce?TACLA: The greatest satisfaction I have in being part of the workforce is helping other Soldiers and civilians. I love seeing the finished product of my work. FOTF: What advice would you give to someone who wants to get where you are today?TACLA: Never become complacent or satisfied with where you are today; always look for opportunities in life that will allow you to grow. Write your goals down and remember that there is never a perfect time to start working toward a goal. Lastly, prioritize and make time to accomplish your goals.__________________________________________________"Faces of the Force" is an online series highlighting members of the Army Acquisition Workforce (AAW) through the power of individual stories. Profiles are produced by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Communication and Support Branch, working closely with public affairs officers to feature Soldiers and civilians currently serving in a variety of AAW disciplines. For more information, or to nominate someone, please call 703-805-1006.