ROCK ISLAND, Illinois – In December 2019, two Army Contracting Command-Rock Island (ACC-RI) employees received Secretary of the Army Awards for Excellence in Contracting (SAAEC) in Washington, D.C.
Stephanie James, currently an ACC-RI branch chief in Acquisition Quality, but who was nominated for her work as the procuring contracting officer on the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) V source selection, was honored with the Outstanding Contracting Officer Award. Serina Allingham, contracting specialist, received the Barbara C. Heald (Deployed Civilian) for her support of Operation Inherent Resolve while assigned to the 408th Contract Support Brigade at Camp Taji, Iraq.
Allingham said she was honored by the award and looked into the award’s namesake, a civilian who was killed in Iraq while deployed.
“Learning about Ms. Heald’s commitment to the mission and her work was really meaningful and receiving the award made me more aware of how I can perform my job on a day-to-day basis to uphold that award,” said Allingham.
James also felt honored to be nominated and selected for the Outstanding Contracting Officer Systems, Research & Development, Logistics Support (Sustainment) Contracting Award.
“It seemed like a daunting task to join a team part way through a source selection and to make an award in a short amount of time,” said James. “The team welcomed me and we all worked together to make it happen.”
While in Washington, D.C. for the awards ceremony, they also attended the two-day National Contract Management Association (NCMA) government contract management symposium, featuring an all-hands session as well as five breakout sessions participants could select from.
James said she was impressed with the information and networking opportunities at the symposium, as well as the tours of the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery, where they got to witness the changing of the guard.
Allingham and James have more than their SAAEC and symposium experiences in common. They have both supported LOGCAP, the contracting for which is based out of ACC-RI.
James was hired at ACC-RI in 2005, and she was placed in LOGCAP, remaining there as a contract specialist for around six months. She served LOGCAP again, in her Source Selection Support Center of Excellence (S3COE) role between May 2017-November 2018, and then became the LOGCAP V procuring contracting officer from November 2018-October 2019, assisting with the LOGCAP V source selection process.
The team working that source selection was already far into the process, requiring James to get spun up fast in order to help the team working on an aggressive timeline.
“It was awesome to see the differences that they were making with LOGCAP V and just being able to take my past experience in source selection and help the team keep it moving to make the award in time,” said James. “There were a lot of long days and a lot of hard work but it was a unique opportunity, so I really appreciated being a part of it.”
Allingham, who deployed while an ACC-RI Field Support Contracting Directorate employee, was assigned to LOGCAP IV upon her return. She said her experiences while deployed helped her quickly learn the program.
“I have a lot more understanding of the technical aspects of the contracts that I perform in LOGCAP because they are similar to some of the support on the contract I worked in Iraq,” said Allingham. “While I was deployed, I worked as an administrative contracting officer, and so that gave me more insight on how I could better support procuring contracting officers as a specialist, and gave me better insight on what skills I need to further grow and develop.”
Both James and Allingham say their time serving in LOGCAP has been challenging but has built skills they might not have otherwise gained.
“The type of support the program provides is fast-paced and broad, and has provided me with the opportunity to encounter unique types of requirements to support urgent and critical needs,” said Allingham. “LOGCAP is a great place to be exposed to really complex types of contracting, complex issues with funding, and how to work with contracting support brigades on contract administration.”
Having a staff of contracting professionals that have been on the LOGCAP team for years is part of the reason for its success.
“It’s like a family of people who have just been through so much together and really have that knowledge,” said James.