Contracting jack-of-all-trades fortunate to serve under good leadership

Bilal M. Shain is a contracting officer assigned to the Expeditionary Contracting Command's 409th Contracting Support Brigade headquartered at Kaiserslautern, Germany. He currently works at the Regional Contracting Office in Seckerheim, Germany.

Describe your current position?

I'm a contracting officer working all aspects of contracting. I work small and large dollar requirements from cradle-to-grave, advise on unauthorized commitments, mentor and act as chief when necessary. I guess you'd call it I'm a contracting jack-of-all-trades.

What are your hobbies/passions?

I enjoy woodworking, repairing and restoring old furniture. Wood is a living product - kind of like contracting - a rewarding finished product if handled with care. My passions are my family and friends. I only have one older sibling but many aunts, uncles and cousins. In a nutshell, I have a very big family spread out all over the world with most in the U.S. Another passion I have is an honest love for people.

What are some of your goals?

I only have two. One is to settle down in New Jersey or somewhere in Tuscany, preferably Tuscany. The second is to write a book, not a best-seller, maybe just something for my children and grandchildren to remember me by.

Why did you get into contracting?

I guess like all people I needed a job. A job that turned out to be a very demanding and at times rewarding profession. If anyone takes contracting like a job, you are definitely in the wrong job.

Any special accomplishments?

In the 1970s, I worked at the Contracting Agency in Fuerth/Nurnberg where I helped establish the Grafenwoehr sub office. After that, it was setting up Augsburg and then Wurzburg before I transferred to Stuttgart. There, I took over the Small Purchases Branch, then contract administration and on several occasions served as acting chief. Currently, I am working closely with the embassy and attaché to complete several U.S. Africa Command unobligated commitments. Thus far, I have been able to get one approved by the Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting. I have always been fortunate to have served under some very good leaders. If it were not for the leadership and all their support, I don't think I would have ever made contracting my profession. I would have never been able to make it on my own. This is what makes the difference.