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    Patience, perseverance payoff for Navy retiree

    Patience, perseverance payoff for Navy retiree

    Photo By Thomas Perry | DCMA Lockheed Martin Dallas provides on-site administration support to acquisition...... read more read more



    Story by Thomas Perry 

    Defense Contract Management Agency

    DALLAS - After serving 20 years in the military, returning to the civilian world can seem like entering an alien environment. From reveille to retreat, life feels different.

    Marlow Bass Sr. retired from the Navy in 2006. He expected to quickly join the federal civilian workforce and maintain a certain level of normalcy, but life often laughs in the face of expectancy. Unable to gain employment in the federal system, Bass spent years working for a healthcare recruiting firm using skills he developed in the service.

    As the days and months slipped by, Bass remained determined to enter the federal workforce. Then in 2013, seven years after his military career ended, his persistence was rewarded. He joined Defense Contract Management Agency Lockheed Martin Dallas as a Keystone, and his professional satisfaction levels returned to that of his Navy days — well, almost.

    “I love it here. This is my second favorite job. Navy was first, this is second,” said Bass, a DCMA LM Dallas quality assurance specialist about to begin his third year in the Keystone program.

    James Flowers, DCMA LM Dallas deputy director, said Bass came to the contract management office during a period of leadership transition. “He could have easily been lost in the shuffle, but his first supervisor recognized his potential early on. He was placed in a number of trial-by-fire situations, and he excelled.”

    Misty Kadow, a LM Dallas QA team lead, is Bass’ current supervisor, and, according to Flowers, she has expertly continued the QAS’s development.

    “Since Ms. Kadow has come on board, she has expanded his role within our team,” said Flowers, who attributes the success of the office’s Keystone program and its atmosphere of mission accomplishment to all of the CMO’s talented professionals.

    In addition to his supervisors’ guidance, Bass was assigned two mentors upon joining the agency: Roland Dimery and Sandra Ratliff. Each has positively influenced his maturation as a QA professional.

    “Keystones are not one size fits all, and the assignment of a mentor is a critical part of the program,” said Dimery, a DCMA LM Dallas QAS. “Each one comes with a different background and a different set of skills — and sometimes challenges. It is tough to take on quality assurance as an experienced ‘Q.’ I can’t imagine taking all the acquisition classes, Keystone courses, learning 31 policies, multiple (Federal Acquisition Regulations) and technical data packages while trying to become an expert on (Acquisition Category) I level programs.”

    Based on his performance, Bass has begun to master the skills of a seasoned QA professional, and his contract management agency team members are noticing.

    “Mr. Bass is an exceptional employee and individual,” said Ratliff, a DCMA LM Dallas QAS. “He not only engages and interacts with me as his mentor, but the entire QA team has experienced his team–player attitude. Marlow takes on assignments and follows through until they are complete, and he constantly pursues new challenges on a daily basis.”

    When asked why he works every day to challenge himself, Bass credits his upbringing and his father’s philosophy on measurable success.

    “When my father first walked into a classroom during his college days, he would say ‘25 percent of you are going to drop out, five percent will get an A, and the rest of you will get whatever,’” said Bass, whose father was a college professor. “I have always wanted to be that five percent. That is what I strive for every day.”

    His upper echelon mentality has served him well in the Navy, during his master’s degree program and now in DCMA. Finally in the federal system, he hopes to always stay professionally hungry and never grow content.

    “A lot of people get complacent. They get used to their daily routine. Go into work, do this, do this, do this and you’re done,” said Bass. “I want to learn more because this job just doesn’t focus on one area. Each area has another tie-in. Right now I am trying to learn the QA job the best I can, so I can then learn and understand the other functional areas so I know how they all interact and depend on each other.”

    To an industry outsider his job may seem menial because he spends so much time ensuring small parts, all of which serve a vital purpose to its greater whole, meet mission standards and customer parameters,” said Bass. “In the end, when you see the finished product, you want to see this perfectly formed (component). That block of metal has now become a part that will go inside a missile.”

    Bass himself is a puzzle, pieced together by years of fatherly advice, a constant drive to finish within the top five percent of life, and possibly most important, his military service.

    “I think the foundation that he already had and now has brought to our agency influences his daily performance,” said Ratliff, speaking to Bass’ military mindset and its benefit to the agency. “I’ve gotten feedback from other professionals within the contractor teams of how focused Mr. Bass is and how they enjoy working with him.”

    According to Dimery, Bass’ service mentality also invigorates his CMO team members.

    “Not only does Mr. Bass’ military experience positively influence his performance it also rejuvenates the performance of others around him,” said Dimery. “Additionally, he brings a different perspective with his medical background. He has a communication skill set that you can only gain dealing with people and very intense situations. His ability to diffuse issues and stay on point is extremely valuable in our career field.”

    The agency’s workforce consist of approximately 40 percent veterans, so Bass’ story is not as unique as it may be within some organizations, but in a world consumed with instant gratification, it is good to see patience and perseverance culminate in success — even if it takes seven years.



    Date Taken: 04.07.2015
    Date Posted: 04.07.2015 09:45
    Story ID: 159289
    Location: DALLAS, TX, US 

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