Title: Contract Price/Cost Analyst
Command: U.S. Army Contracting Command – Rock Island
YEARS OF SERVICE IN THE WORKFORCE: Five
ACQUISITION CAREER FIELD: Contracting
AAW CERTIFICATIONS/QUALIFICATIONS: Contracting level 2
EDUCATION: Masters of Business Administration, University of Iowa Bachelor of Arts with Majors in Accounting and Business Administration, Concentration in Finance, and Minors in French and Economics, St. Ambrose University
Meet Bob Quast, a contract cost and price analyst with the U.S. Army Contracting Command – Rock Island, Illinois. Quast recently participated in the Army DACM Office’s Defense Civilian Emerging Leader Program (DCELP), a DOD leadership development program for civilian personnel in GS-7 through GS-12 (or pay band equivalent). The program focuses on assessment tools, knowledge transfer, individual coaching, team building, knowledge of self, and understanding the DOD. Quast shared lessons learned from his DCELP experience with the Army DACM Office.
What course or professional development activity did you participate in? When did you start and when did you complete it?
I was in the DCELP, Cohort 9. The four split-week program began March 11, 2019, and I graduated on June 14, 2019.
What was your primary motivation for taking the course?
I strive for continuous personal improvement, leadership development, and lifetime learning opportunities. DCELP included all of these areas rolled up in one program.
What were your expectations of the program or course before you started, and how did they change as the course proceeded?
I expected to learn the material being taught, but I quickly realized DCELP begins with knowing and expressing myself as the foundation to being a good leader. After that, we worked on building teams and leading people.
What were your top three takeaways from the course?
I enjoyed meeting a wide diversity of civilian employees who work throughout DOD, all with varied backgrounds and personalities. I learned to speak less and listen more if I want to enhance my role as a leader. Finally, I now place a higher emphasis on taking the time to better understand my teammates so I may better match their skills and interests with the workload that must be accomplished.
What skills do you expect to apply most in your job or outside of knowledge or experiences from the course do work?
Teambuilding is critically important for any successful organization, yet the federal government doesn’t always focus on it as much as it should. As my leadership responsibilities grow, I plan to remain cognizant of the need to focus on my team and encouraging others to bring out their best at work, as well as applying the skills learned on the job to benefit others elsewhere (e.g., time management, volunteering, work-life balance). I also plan to practice active listening at home, in turn earning big brownie points from my wife!
Tell us about your experience with the course and your classmates. Were there fellow students or instructors that you bonded with and with whom you plan to keep in touch?
I enjoyed the instructors and leadership of DCELP, and I made many new friends on my team. I definitely plan to remain in touch with these classmates long term, and even hope to visit several of them as I travel for work and pleasure.
How has this course affected your career?
I consider DCELP a building block to future promotions and leadership positions, as we all gained many important tools for being an improved supervisor and leader.
Who would you recommend this course to, and why?
I’d recommend DCELP to any employee who wants to improve him- or herself and someday earn a promotion to any position in leadership. Many useful skills and tools were taught through the program materials that have been fine-tuned and improved upon over the past many years of DCELP.
Briefly describe what you do in your position and why it’s important to the Army or the warfighter. In addition to having the opportunity to support soldiers, what’s the greatest satisfaction you have in being a part of the Army Acquisition Workforce?
As a contract price/cost analyst, I consider it my job to protect the taxpayer while supporting the warfighter through better contracting for the products and services needed. I have the utmost respect for our warfighters, who keep America safe under many adverse conditions. Being able to do my job well gives me great satisfaction because it ultimately means saving our finite resources to then re-allocate elsewhere to buy more of what the warfighter of the future may need.
How did you become part of the Army Acquisition Workforce, and why? What was your first acquisition position, and what appealed to you about the work?
I spent my first career (21 years) in energy procurement for my local utility company. I was able to apply many of those skills in negotiation and contracting to my first position as a contract specialist. I also have worked on many energy procurements throughout DOD, which is extremely satisfying because I am able to use my subject matter expertise in energy to benefit the taxpayer and warfighter.
This Spotlight on Success is published in the July 2019 DACM Newsletter. With these profiles, the Army DACM Office highlights talented AAW professionals who have used their training and experience to launch themselves along their career path.