By Susan L. Follett, USAASCOctober 11, 2018
FACES OF THE FORCE: ANGELA ARWOOD-GALLEGOS
COMMAND/ORGANIZATION: Small Business Programs, U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command
TITLE: Procurement analyst and small business professional
YEARS OF SERVICE IN WORKFORCE: 12
DAWIA CERTIFICATIONS: Level III in contracting; Level II in small business; Level I in purchasing
EDUCATION: MBA, Webster University; B.S. in business management, Colorado State University -- Pueblo
AWARDS: Army Office of Small Business Programs Small Business Professional of the Year; Commander's Award for Civilian Service; Army Achievement Medal for Civilian Service; U.S. Army Materiel Command Recognition Certificate; Fort Carson Garrison Commander's Award
Angela Arwood-Gallegos would like you to know that there's nothing small about the work of a small business professional. From the number of tasks she juggles and the amount of information she needs to know to the economic impact, small business is a very big deal.
As a small business professional and procurement analyst for the U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command (MICC), Arwood-Gallegos provides counseling and training sessions to small business owners on individual procurement opportunities and helps prepare small business owners for federal contracts. She primarily supports three organizations: MICC -- Dugway Proving Ground, Utah; MICC -- Fort Carson, Colorado; and MICC -- Fort Polk, Louisiana. She has also supported the Small Business Program offices at MICC -- Fort Riley, Kansas, and MICC -- Fort Hood, Texas.
"One common misconception of a small business professional is that all we do is review and sign DD2579s, the small business coordination form. That's definitely not the case," said Arwood-Gallegos, who served as a contracting officer for 10 years before transitioning to the small business career field two years ago. "I'm busier than I ever thought I would be. That's another misguided perception of working for the government--that we have lots of free time on our hands. It's the furthest thing from the truth. [When I started in acquisition] I knew I would find work to keep me challenged and busy; I just didn't know that I would be this busy."
Her work includes ensuring compliance with relevant sections of the Federal Acquisition Regulation, the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement and the Army Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement, and assisting each installation with the development and performance toward annual and quarterly small business goals. She also plays a role in acquisition planning, developing market surveys and conducting market research, participating in source selections and reviewing acquisition strategies. Additionally, Arwood-Gallegos coordinates small business outreach events at MICC installations she supports, assists small businesses with payment issues, and works with the Office of Small Business Programs and the U.S. Small Business Administration in performing procurement management and surveillance reviews.
In May, Arwood-Gallegos was named the Small Business Professional of the Year by the Department of the Army Office of Small Business Programs as a result of the exceptional support she provided to MICC -- Fort Carson and the 418th Contracting Support Brigade. Her implementation of the Army Small Business Program enabled MICC -- Fort Carson to significantly exceed four of its five goals for FY17 and increased the small business vendor base for MICC activities at Fort Carson, Fort Polk and Dugway. As a result of her efforts, MICC -- Fort Carson received the U.S. Small Business Administration Region VIII Administrator's Small Business Advocacy Award. While serving remotely as the small business professional for MICC -- Dugway, she worked closely with office personnel to set aside approximately $11.4 million in construction actions for small business vendors in Utah. As a result of that organization's improvement in supporting local small businesses, it was named the Small Business Administration's Contracting Office of the Year for 2017.
"Most vendors that I counsel are overwhelmed with the amount of work it takes to get registered to do business with the government," said Arwood-Gallegos. "It is my job to help them find the right resources."
If she were queen for a day, Arwood-Gallegos would make a couple of changes. "First and foremost, I would ease some of the stress by hiring more qualified people to assist in accomplishing the mission. Then, I would increase communication throughout the process--all the way up to the contracting officer for award--so that everyone involved has a good understanding of the requirement, documents get submitted with sufficient time and the information provided is complete," she said. "It's great when this happens, and I wish it could happen more often, particularly for the more complex requirements."
Arwood-Gallegos, an Army spouse, got her start in the Army Acquisition Workforce after learning about it from a friend who was accepted into the Air Force Copper Cap Internship Program. "I researched the Army internship program and was fascinated with all it had to offer," she said. She started her first acquisition post in 2006 with MICC and has been with the command ever since. "The more I learned along the way, the more I came to love the acquisition career field. I enjoy the challenges and the constant changes, and it does a great job of keeping me on my toes and energized."
The biggest challenge that she faces in performing her job "is that there is too much of it and not enough people to keep up with it all." Prioritizing, organizing and multitasking are keys to getting things done, she said, as are solid communication skills and being prepared for what's next. "I integrate with the acquisition teams as early as possible so I have a good idea of what is coming before it gets here. When I can get involved in the acquisition early on, I have a better understanding of the requirement, and I'm able to foresee any potential challenges it may present. It also helps to reduce my review time." When it comes to communication, she said, "all of the different forms are critical in this career field. It's important to stay informed, to know the right time for soft skills versus hard skills, to be responsive, to be clear and concise when sharing information with others and to always keep an open mind."
It's easy to become overwhelmed with the constant changes of the acquisition career field, Arwood-Gallegos conceded. "Two quotes really help me: 'A bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you fail to make the turn,' and 'Try not to become a person of success, but rather a person of value.' "
This article is published in the October-December 2018 issue of Army AL&T magazine.