DAHLGREN, Va. –
From the COVID-19 pandemic to teleworking, nearly everyone has faced new obstacles over the past 18 months. But the show must go on. The Simplified Acquisition Procedures (SAP) Division personnel at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) faced many challenges head-on during fiscal 2021 and SAP Division Head Angela Bowling led the charge.
“We have become the training and mentoring group,” explained Bowling. “Navigating the COVID pandemic, building contract folders electronically and teleworking was a learning experience for all of us. I had to decide the appropriate approach to building our contract folders electronically and who would be the assigned mentors and trainers for our interns. That was a huge accomplishment for us in fiscal 2021.”
The team had nine interns from the Naval Acquisition Development Program (NADP) throughout the fiscal year. NADP is a highly selective intern program designed for recent college graduates. The interns for the SAP division trained as contract specialists. One of the biggest hurdles the SAP team faced in training the interns was a lack of manning themselves.
“We have been short staffed all fiscal year,” Bowling said. The current team structure was 13 working specialist for half of the fiscal year with and optimal manning of 19. “The interns have been a big help, but I have to take work away from another staff member to train them. The interns didn’t all start at one time, so we tried to make it so it was a group training and mentoring. It was very successful,” she added. “My team had to adapt very quickly.”
The training and mentoring essentially went both ways between interns, mentors and SAP team. Each person shared their knowledge of the new ways of doing business remotely. Bowling added that the volume of work the team does is high and in a non-stop environment she credits the team’s attitude to accomplishing the overall mission, even while training and having to learn new programs.
“Another aspect that was challenging was the newly implemented PMT tool, the Procurement Management Tool,” Bowling said. “It provides Gantt charts for the captain, so it’s extremely helpful all the way around.” She added that it was a team effort to include policy in an effort to get PMT fully functional.
According to Bowling, the workload can be unpredictable from year-to-year with different budget issues, but her team has always stepped up when called upon. From training interns to learning new ways of doing business, the team at SAP has continued to thrive.