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    Outside of 80: Grand Rapids team prospers at work, home

    Outside of 80: Grand Rapids team prospers at work, home

    Courtesy Photo | Janice Walker, a Defense Contract Management Agency Grand Rapids quality assurance...... read more read more



    Story by Thomas Perry 

    Defense Contract Management Agency

    Most Defense Contract Management Agency acquisition professionals spend 80 hours a pay period contributing to the agency’s mission, but what they do outside of those 80 hours often explains their dedication to warfighter support and service.

    On Jan. 5, a state of emergency was declared in Flint because of water contamination. It was a story that captured the nation’s attention, outrage and compassion as more and more information became known. As family and friends are often defined by proximity, the focus was sharpest from area communities and businesses, including DCMA Grand Rapids, whose office is just over 100 miles away from Flint.

    Soon after the news broke, Janice Walker, a DCMA Grand Rapids quality assurance specialist, was in a quality team meeting discussing an upcoming conference and team-building activities with coworkers. Walker, who embraces a commitment to community before self, mentioned the water crisis and wondered if there was something they could do to help. Team leader Duane Howe encouraged her to “make it happen.”

    Walker and her team contacted the Office of the General Counsel to ensure all ethics rules and regulations concerning the support to a non-federal entity were followed. After being briefed on all the various “do’s and don’ts,” particularly that water-drive activity could only take place during non-working hours, the collection began.

    “I believe in leading by example,” Walker said. “In the case of support for the Flint water crisis, I also believed in the goodness of the people of DCMA Grand Rapids.”

    Her beliefs were quickly confirmed as in less than two weeks more than 20 cases of water were donated and delivered to an area collection point. This is just one example of community outreach however, as Grand Rapids’ efforts extend far beyond this one event.

    “There are a million ways to make life easier for someone else and some of them are so small that nobody thinks about their impact or how it could change someone’s life,” said Jill R.S. Vidro, DCMA Grand Rapids cost and price analyst.

    A tertiary of Detroit, DCMA Grand Rapids is a small, tight-knit contracting office.

    Walker, who celebrated her 30-year federal service anniversary in August 2015, believes small offices can be more conducive to developing a family atmosphere. “In this office, people are family.”

    A small-office veteran herself, Vidro agreed explaining they often must rely on creative solutions to challenges as fewer resources are available.

    “When you work in a small office you cannot get locked into a job description mentality,” Vidro said. “We know the only resource we can count on is us. You quickly realize that you need to step outside your box and pitch in to assist where you can. Team members become quasi-family members because we get to know everyone in the office. We bond over simple things like jalapeno popcorn at 9 a.m., potluck lunches or someone getting a new vehicle.”

    A passion for service drives many Grand Rapids team members, who support local veteran homes, children’s organizations and women’s resource centers. Some members volunteer their time to coach local youth sports and others assist at the area’s largest homeless shelter.

    Their outreach efforts demonstrate a commitment to community, but the team’s network of support often extends to each other.

    “I have seen team members take sick team members home, pick up children from school for those who became ill, and nurse team members who had no family in the area,” said Walker. “I have seen coworkers provide lodging for new employees until they secure housing, help replace engines and motors in vehicles, chop wood, shovel snow, provide rides to and from the airport. This list goes on and on.”

    Vidro said even the little gestures of humanity like providing professional or emotional support, bringing food in for the office, or fixing the jammed copier, contribute to Grand Rapids positive working environment.

    “We all need help somewhere along life’s path,” Vidro said. “None of us can do it all by ourselves.”

    Especially in 80 hours.



    Date Taken: 07.06.2016
    Date Posted: 07.06.2016 09:12
    Story ID: 203175
    Location: GRAND RAPIDS, MI, US 

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