ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- The U.S. Army Contracting Command-Rock Island held an Employee Engagement Event in Heritage Hall, Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, Feb. 23. More than 300 people attended.

Jay Carr, executive director, ACC-RI, said the goal of the event was to engage employees in discussions about topics that are important to them. He said he wanted the workforce to move toward a better command climate and to consider the "why" behind what ACC-RI does.

"Our support of the warfighter has a direct impact on our ability to secure the peace and the defense of this nation," said Carr, continuing that while everyone has individual reasons for coming to work, he hopes they believe in ACC's mission.

"[Your reason for coming to work] could be the money, it could be your love of the profession, it could be because you can't find another job that makes you happier," he said. "But … hopefully when you get here, the 'why' you're here, from an organizational standpoint, resonates with you."

The mission of the U.S. Army Contracting Command is to deliver, "readiness through contracting solutions in support of the Army and Unified Land Operations, anytime, anywhere," according to their website.

Carr emphasized that ACC-RI should be focused on improving readiness, executing the mission and ensuring the quality of the contracts it manages.

"It is our responsibility to make sure the taxpayers' dollars are being maximized," said Carr. "Every dollar that we put on a contract, if we waste it, could have been used for something else."

The event included organizational updates and briefings about the progress of ACC-RI's Strategic Human Capital Plan.

Samantha Keegan, Employee Advisory Council representative, introduced the new EAC and its members to the workforce. She said the council was created to improve open communication between employees and leadership with an emphasis on employees' concerns.

Gerry Haan, chief, business operations, introduced the Department of Defense's new Performance Management and Appraisal Program.

Following the morning session, ACC-RI employees had the opportunity to discuss various topics, such as employee morale, performance assessments, and training and internship programs. The goal of this event was for employees to provide feedback and solutions to specific issues impacting the workforce.

Managers facilitated group discussion while employees -- divided into eight smaller groups -- shifted from station to station, each dealing with a different topic.

Kevin McNulty, author of "The Gap Between Two Worlds: Turning Difficult Life Transitions Into Personal Growth Experiences," helped design and implement the group discussion activity.

ACC is aligned under the U.S. Army Materiel Command.