Sean Sackett from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Japan District recently completed a temporary rotational assignment with the Headquarters, Office of the Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting in Dallas.
Permanent Position – Supervisory Contract Specialist/Contracting Officer, Contracting Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Japan District (POJ)
Temporary Position – Procurement Analyst, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, HQs, Office of the Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting – Dallas (PARC-Dallas)
Years with Corps: 8 years with Corps; 127 day rotational assignment to USACE HQs, PARC-Dallas
Q: Why did you apply for a developmental in PARC-Dallas?
A: I saw this developmental assignment as a rare opportunity to work at a USACE Headquarters Office as a PARC Procurement Analyst. In Japan District, I’ve worked very closely with our regional Senior Procurement Analyst in the PARC-Dallas office for several years, and wanted the opportunity to understand the key focus areas HQUSACE PARC analysts consider when performing comprehensive reviews requiring HQUSACE PARC or higher level approval for a variety of complex actions.
Japan District’s military construction workload, which is the largest in the Pacific Ocean Division, has exploded by over tenfold since 2011. Prior to 2011, the Japan District would rarely have projects that reached the acquisition threshold requiring PARC approval, which was a steep learning curve for the district. By understanding the full gamut of the PARC review and approval process through firsthand experience, the objective would be to take back lessons learned and address any review issues early on at the district level, thereby creating efficiencies in executing Japan District’s mission requirements more effectively.
Q: What lessons learned will you take back to the Japan District?
A: While working in the PARC-Dallas office, I performed comprehensive reviews for various requirements from two Divisions’ areas of responsibility—the Pacific Ocean and the Northwestern Divisions–, which has provided me with insight into how other districts execute their mission requirements. Some district offices have excellent practices and approaches in the development of their acquisition tools, and I will share some of those best practices with my home district and division area of responsibility. This experience has broadened my knowledge of the USACE enterprise, enabled me to sharpen my skillsets, and equipped me with additional tools to make me an even better, well rounded, contracting officer and acquisition professional.
Q: What’s been the best part about your developmental?
A: Performing reviews on cost reimbursable requirements that require Pentagon- level approval has been one of many highlights during my tenure here. Having the opportunity to perform reviews for a variety of documents in multiple divisions has definitely created an opportunity for me to learn each district’s unique mission requirements, while also assisting each district to meet their customers’ needs.
On a personal note, the staff at the PARC-Dallas office treats you like family. From the first week of my arrival, folks here showed me shortcuts to avoid traffic after working hours, the best places to eat in town, and always made sure I was taken care of. This place has all of the great ingredients that create a productive, efficient, and positive work environment. Everyone pulls together to help each other out when team members were overwhelmed, and there is a strong sense of team spirit and camaraderie that makes you want to continue to work harder and strive for excellence in everything you do.
Q: What’s been the hardest part of the developmental?
A: This office is probably the best kept secret in the USACE, and the crown jewel of Texas. The hardest part for me is leaving the phenomenal staff here. I thoroughly enjoyed the mission that we’ve accomplished this fiscal year 2016. The collaborative efforts of the PARC staff and working with subject matter experts in procurement law, contracting, engineering, and construction, coupled with resolving myriad issues and challenges, were some of the most memorable highlights that I’ll always cherish and remember about this office.
Q: Did you get to explore the Dallas area much while you were here?
A: Absolutely. While in Dallas, I was fortunate to watch the longhorns stampede at the Stockyards in Fort Worth, attend a Texas Rangers Baseball game to witness a grand slam and home run for the win, watch the Dallas Cowboys defeat the Miami Dolphins at the sidelines of the AT&T Stadium, become a member of a local Muay Thai club in Richardson, and reconnect with old friends I’ve met in other USACE districts across the enterprise.