Field directorate training strengthens acquisition workforce skills
Karis Nwauwa, center, conducts a weekly “brunch and learn” virtual training session on contract management systems and associated templates with Mission and Installation Contracting Command Field Directorate Office-Fort Eustis, Virginia, acquisition personnel, small business professionals as well as other MICC field directorate and contracting support brigade personnel. Nwauwa is a procurement analyst with the MICC FDO-Fort Eustis at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army illustration) VIEW ORIGINAL

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Feb. 8, 2022) -- A “brunch and learn” training session on contract management systems and associated templates conducted by a command field directorate office is quickly growing in popularity.

Attendance for weekly training event conducted on Tuesdays from 10:30-11:30 EST by Karis Nwauwa, a procurement analyst with the Mission and Installation Contracting Command Field Directorate Office at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, has increased from approximately a dozen or more to over 120 across the directorate.

All FDO-Fort Eustis acquisition personnel, small business professionals as well as other MICC field directorate and contracting support brigade personnel are welcomed to take part.

“Concepts presented in the training are reinforced through predominantly demonstration-based training, in addition to group discussion and PowerPoint slides,” she said. “Brunch and learns are collaborative, and attendees can follow along with the presenter at the same time, and chime in to ask questions.”

Nwauwa, who began working for FDO-Fort Eustis in 2018, serves as the system administrator for the Virtual Contracting Enterprise Business Intelligence contract management system and Army Vantage, the service’s data-driven operations and decision making platform. She is responsible for writing and editing reports in VCE-BI for the directorates 10 offices located across the United States. This entails managing and facilitating the pre- and post-contract award reports, and monitoring the organization’s metrics reported to senior leadership. The procurement analyst provides instruction to contracting staff for tracking and managing unliquidated obligations, contract closeouts and intermediate document errors.

She brings to this role a diverse background in contracting. She began her contracting career as a Copper Cap Intern for the Air Force at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, and has since served several years as a contracting officer, grants and agreements officer, administrative contracting Officer, and acquisition team lead. Her master’s degree in information technology management and computer programming underpins her technical expertise to create and tailor VCE-BI reports for her customers. She collaborated with them to identify the VCE-BI reports that best suited their needs. As reports were auto-scheduled and distributed, she began fielding various questions about the reports, which initiated one-on-one meetings with FDO-Fort Eustis offices.

“Many of the questions were duplicated among the offices, regarding the sources of the information and how the information is gathered, and I wanted to empower the teams by showing them where to access information, how to filter information, and how to use the systems where data is gathered,” Nwauwa said.

She began training individual offices on the various systems the MICC offices needed to learn to adequately track the workload for their staff, and realized the need for standardized training. This prompted the creation of weekly brunch and learn training sessions, which began with a small group of loyal FDO-Fort Eustis contracting staff, who faithfully showed up virtually every Tuesday to receive demonstration-based training on various contracting systems and guidance on how to complete contracting documents.

“There has always been training available consisting of PowerPoint slides. However, many times without a hands-on demonstration, one still has no idea what to do,” Nwauwa said. “The goal of ‘brunch and learns’ is for every person who attends to see the trainer use the system during the training, and be able to successfully execute in the same manner.”

Conducted virtually via MS Teams, individuals can log into the system the presenter is providing training for, or document template, and follow along step-by-step as the training is being presented.

“In many cases, for what we do as acquisition professionals, demonstration-based training can be the most effective for information retention. It is a very beneficial way to learn about contracting systems and documents, since there are many changes and adjustments, due to system upgrades and policy changes,” she said. “Another great benefit is that fiscal 2022’s training schedule and all recorded training sessions are posted in the Teams channel and in the FDO-Fort Eustis SharePoint site to be accessed by individuals, teams, and offices.”

FDO-Fort Eustis recently partnered with its co-located office of small business programs to incorporate more small business training opportunities, in addition to other contracting training topics offered. It have also ventured outside of the Series 1102 contracting community by incorporating training and gathering perspectives from MICC FDO quality assurance, industrial property and other contracting support brigades and FDO-Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

“This allows all members of the acquisition team to have an opportunity to learn something new, gain exposure in other areas, and collaborate with their peers and the subject matter experts while earning continuous learning points every week,” Nwauwa said. “It is a win-win for the individual, contracting teams, and leadership.”

About the MICC:

Headquartered at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the Mission and Installation Contracting Command consists of about 1,300 military and civilian members who are responsible for contracting goods and services in support of Soldiers as well as readying trained contracting units for the operating force and contingency environment when called upon. MICC contracts are vital in feeding more than 200,000 Soldiers every day, providing many daily base operations support services at installations, facilitate training in the preparation of more than 100,000 conventional force members annually, training more than 500,000 students each year, and maintaining more than 14.4 million acres of land and 170,000 structures.