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The employees at the Corps of Engineers, Huntsville Center are widely respected by government and industry for their expertise in numerous acquisition fields and related disciplines. To prove the point, Jamaya Smith, contract specialist, Contracting Directorate, received recognition for an information paper he submitted to the National Contract Management Association’s flagship publication.

Smith’s work, “Acquisition Lead Time Reduction: A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Case Study,” received a first place win in the Professional Research category in the 2015 NCMA W. Gregor Macfarlan Excellence in Contract Management Research and Writing Program June 15. The honor includes a $5,000 prize, publication in the September 2015 issue of the Journal of Contract Management and a possible invitation to present his paper at an upcoming NCMA event.

The article explores the challenges of reducing acquisition lead time within the various programs at Huntsville Center. It also examines the trouble with frequent changes and demands of customer requirements, the numerous contracting processes and procedures for document approvals and compliance reviews which cause moveable constraints or bottlenecks throughout the acquisition process, the lack of technically proficient contracting and technical personnel, the lack of quality documents that cause rework, and missing or inaccurate data due to system integration challenges.

Smith said the key to this achievement is he is committed to continuous learning and personal improvement that will benefit the Department of Defense worldwide.

“The personal impact of this accomplishment gives me a greater zeal to press forward in an effort to effect positive change that will not only impact USACE, but other organizations within our nation,” he said. “I chose the topic of acquisition lead time because it has the greatest impact within USACE to reduce organizational costs, improve customer relations, and reduce work related stressors, increase employee productivity and engagement, and support the USACE Campaign Plan.”

Colleen O’Keefe, chief of contracting at Huntsville Center, said she is proud of Smith’s recognition. He is definitely a valued contributor to the contracting team and his award is a great example of the highly responsive, agile, innovative cadre of contracting professionals matrixed to the best program management team in USACE.

“We are extremely pleased with Mr. Smith’s accomplishment,” O’Keefe said. “It is exciting to see one of our own on the forefront of our profession.”

O’Keefe said she also encourages other acquisition professionals from her directorate to consider submitting an information paper about various acquisition topics to the NCMA magazine.

According to the NCMA website, the organization welcomes the submission of high-quality papers in the solicitation for the W. Gregor Macfarlan Excellence in Contract Management Research and Writing Program. Papers may be submitted for consideration in one of three categories: graduate research, professional research and undergraduate paper writing. Information papers may be presented from a variety of basic disciplines, such as business, finance, marketing, management, accounting, management information systems, public administration, economics, business education and related fields, as long as the research is relevant to the contract management field. Submissions are solicited in, but not limited to, best practices, ethics and integrity, workforce issues, performance-based acquisition (particularly performance metrics), contract performance incentives, interagency contracting (public contracting), e-commerce, e-procurement, technology-enabled contract management, outsourcing and privatization, and innovative practices.

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