ORLANDO, Fla. — The National Contract Management Association recently recognized Kenneth Meyer, a Defense Contract Management Agency supervisory administrative contracting officer, to receive the NCMA Excellence in Contracts Professionalism Award. Drew Obermeyer, DCMA Planning and Performance Assessment director and long-time volunteer with the NCMA, was recognized with the Charles A. Dana Distinguished Service Award. Both awards recognize individuals with a remarkable reputation for professionalism and exceptional achievement in contracts management.
Meyer’s Efforts Educating and Recruiting Students to DCMA
“What really stood out about Meyer was the volunteer work he did getting college students interested in the contracting field,” Obermeyer said. Contracting professionals are well aware of the challenges facing their community, especially the need to attract new workers to the field. Meyer is directly addressing that need by encouraging students to join the contracting community.
“Meyer has been focused on providing long-term solutions to his many customers around the world,” said Mary Beth Lech, NCMA chapter relations manager. “Meyer’s passion for learning was evident throughout his activities … he participated in several national NCMA training sessions as a mentor, speaker and coach.”
While working as an ACO at DCMA Lockheed Martin, Orlando, Meyer was instrumental in working with senior management and the Office of Personnel Management to recruit students through the federal Student Career Enhancement Program, a government program designed to promote recruiting and developing talented employees. In partnership with the University of Central Florida’s Career Services and Experiential Learning Department, the SCEP provides highly qualified business students with an opportunity to work part-time as an intern while continuing their degrees on a full time basis.
The SCEP program covers multiple semesters, provides students opportunities for advancement and allows students and employers to develop and access their interests in the contracting field. By using this federal program, DCMA provides students job experience while supplementing the agency’s workforce. The partnership also demonstrates DCMA’s ability to work with local partners to increase awareness of contracting jobs among student populations. By working with the OPM program, the agency can create a pipeline for other local DCMA offices to work with the university to hire business interns and expose them to the challenges and experiences facing 1102s at DCMA.
“The program attracted highly qualified business students into civil service on a part-time basis while completing college, with most continuing into the DCMA Keystone Program,” said Meyer, previously one of the program leads. “Over a five-year period, eight students participated in the program closing out over 600 contracts, with six students continuing on to full time contracting careers.”
Meyer’s interest in career development continued once he joined DCMA Special Programs, as he assisted the DCMA Special Programs Division Integrated Product Team, which developed and administered a New Hire Boot Camp for those joining Special Programs. There have been three boot camps since the program started. “New Hire Boot Camp is designed to reinforce security requirements as well as the unique challenges of doing contract administration services in a secure environment to new hires in this division,” Meyer said.
“Meyer is the best we have to teach the contracting aspect of Special Programs during Boot Camp,” said Linda Settles, DCMA contract operations manager. The camp is for new employees from every discipline, and Meyer was one of the key players in creating the weeklong training packets for contracts. “The training helps new employees deal with the rules and different requirements that come with working in Special Programs,” Settles said.
Meyer’s education outreach from DCMA Special Programs Office Orlando also is related to his work as the University Outreach Chair Person for the Mid Florida Chapter of the NCMA. Along with the NCMA, Meyer is developing the Student Internship Program in Government Contracting through the Office of Experiential Learning. “The program introduces business and accounting students to the opportunities available within the contracting career field through internships with industry and government,” Meyer said.
As a supervisor and an ACO, Meyer’s team has closed out 90 percent of their contracts on time. His efforts to close contracts include “outside-the-box thinking, which has lead to early closeouts for at least 100 different contracts,” Settles said.
“I believe that being a contracting officer, whether on the buying side or the administration side, is one of the most challenging and interesting careers one can have,” Meyer said. “Being recognized is truly an honor, as I feel it characterizes my belief that industry and government must work together to provide the best products and services for our warfighters at a reasonable price.”
“Meyer is a true advocate for our agency … he sells DCMA all the time to customers or potential recruits to get them to come work for the government,” Settles said. “He is still heavily involved in getting these great, young minds to come work for the government.”
Obermeyer Recognized for Service in Contracting
In receiving the Charles A. Dana Distinguished Service Award, Obermeyer was recognized for his contracting career, which brought him to serving the warfighter at DCMA. Prior to joining DCMA, Obermeyer was as an Air Force contracting officer and working at other government agencies, such as the Missile Defense Agency. Obermeyer has also served in leadership positions in the NCMA. “I’ve always been on the customer side,” he said. “Moving inside the (DCMA) tent has proven interesting, especially in seeing how we provide support to CMOs.”