JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Sept. 21, 2023) -- Efforts to sustain Army small business outreach while contributing to build a robust vendor industrial base has earned a command procurement analyst a 2022 DOD Vanguard Award.
Heather Scherer from the Mission and Installation Contracting Command Office of Small Business Programs at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, was named the Tracey L. Pinson Small Business Professional of the Year Award and is among award winners announced Sept. 11 by the Army Materiel Command.
She captured the 2022 Secretary of the Army Award for Small Business Utilization earlier this year, earning the right to compete at the DOD level.
“I am honored to be recognized as the Tracy L. Pinson Small Business Professional of the Year,” Scherer said. “However, I would not have won such a prestigious award without the support of my team, which happens to be the hardest working group of small business professionals in the DOD.”
Defense acquisition individuals, teams and a component organization were honored during the 8th Annual Vanguard Awards for their fiscal 2022 contributions toward assuring the preparedness of warfighters on the second day of the DOD Small Business Training Week earlier this summer. The DOD Office of Small Business Programs sponsors the Small Business Training Week as an annual premier training event for the department's acquisition workforce.
“As a small business analyst, I transform raw data into easily interpreted insights to help drive smart business decisions as well as provide support to the MICC Office of Small Business Programs’ director, four assistant directors plus 14 small business professionals supporting 28 office locations throughout the continental United States,” Scherer said.
MICC small business program assistant directors are located at the command’s two field directorates at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, as well as the 418th Contracting Support Brigade at Fort Cavazos, Texas, and 419th CSB at Fort Liberty, North Carolina.
Beth Scherr, director of the Army Contracting Command Office of Small Business Programs at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, said Scherer’s role is vital to ACC’s efforts.
“Heather’s unique role as a small business data analyst and her strong work ethic and determination are invaluable in growing the Defense small business industrial base,” Scherr said, citing Scherer’s contributions in the continued support of small business outreach efforts virtually despite limitations posed by the COVID pandemic.
As restrictions on travel, in-person gatherings and social distancing guidelines due to COVID continued at the start of fiscal 2021, Scherer’s efforts in virtual advanced planning briefings for industry helped ensure the necessary insight and notifications for small business to partner with the MICC, allowing the command to meet its small business goals.
“Although we have exceeded our goals for the last nine years, our focus has never been solely to achieve the goals,” the MICC small business analyst said. “My support of the annual virtual small business outreach event is a key component to maintaining contracting transparency and informing the small business industrial base of upcoming opportunities that may culminate in contract award. When those awards were highlighted during our annual APBI and cause us to meet or exceed our goals, it’s just the icing on the cake.”
The MICC Office of Small Business Programs is responsible for fostering acquisition opportunities to all small business categories where small businesses can best support Soldiers and their families, consequently ensuring Army readiness and developing a viable, robust industrial base.
In addition to serving as project lead for researching virtual platforms and building upon the success from the previous fiscal year, Scherer also played a key role in multiple aspects behind the scenes. These included the design and development of event graphics, agendas and presentation material, business rules, scripts and slides, and online registration. Additionally, she reviewed and edited more than 430 contract requirements slides, coordinated responses to more than 120 questions from industry following the event, and compiled post-event analytics from the three-day APBI, which attracted more than 1,600 government and industry partner registrants.
Scherer also played a key role in several initiatives to modernize processes and procedures contributing to increased compliance with small business program requirements while increasing the MICC footprint in support of Army readiness, modernization and reform through small businesses utilization. Those included developing a process to improve contract action reports coding; validation of electronic subcontracting reporting system compliance instrumental in command-wide metrics for visibility by leadership; maintaining public web and guidebook content often serving as the first introduction of the command to small business industry representatives; and creating a centralized, searchable SharePoint database housing small business capability statement submissions.
The small business professional of the year award is named in honor of lifelong public servant Pinson. Appointed by the secretary of the Army as the director of the office of small business programs for the office of the secretary of the Army in 1995, Pinson was responsible for the management and leadership of Army small business programs valued at more than $17 billion annually. Throughout her 20 years as director, Pinson would go on to be the highest-ranking female civil servant in the Army acquisition career field, leading the service with the highest total contract dollars awarded to small businesses in the federal government.
The recognition serves as consecutive annual honors for the MICC small business procurement analyst. Last year Scherer earned the fiscal 2021 Secretary of the Army Award for Small Business Utilization for exceptional achievements and outstanding support of the Army’s Small Business Program. Scherer was among the four individual winners from Army Materiel Command this year. AMC also captured enterprise awards from the Army for women-owned, HUBZone and service-disabled veteran-owned small business programs.
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.