JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. --
For two weeks, the 108th Civil Engineering Squadron hosted their first multi-unit training course, here, for members of neighboring contracting and CES units to provide an alternate required certification opportunity.
Participants included members of the 108th Contracting Office and CES, 87th Contracting Squadron and CES, 177th Contracting Office and CES from Egg Harbor Township, and the 111th Contracting Office from Horsham, Pennsylvania. The 108th Wing is centrally located to these units.
“It’s not a TDY [temporary duty], so it saves the government money”, said 2nd Lt. Karen E. Foulds, a contract specialist from the 108th Contracting Office.
Three key role players in bringing the training to the 108th was Foulds, Master Sgt. Joyce A. Baker, the contracting officer of the 108th contracting unit, and Capt. Steven Joseph, deputy commander of the 108th CES.
The two-week training taught specific lessons on contracting as well as lessons geared to civil engineering, said Baker. By sharing the same training, members can better understand both sides of the mission and exercise an improved cohesiveness.
The courses taught were CON 243: Architecture and Engineering Services and CON 244: Construction led by Dr. Richard L. Brooks, a contractor of Rezolution LLC., and third party organization.
Foulds said, for guard members especially, it can be hard to keep up with training qualifications, this opportunity creates flexibility for members.
In this field, a large amount of training is required, said Baker, and must constantly be upgraded. This includes 80 hours of continuous learning points every two years, as well as additional reading and research, and three levels to ascend to throughout your career.
Baker said contracting includes a multitude of responsibilities from the early planning of a project or “pre-reward” to the very completion of a project. Such tasks range from obtaining or “procuring” a number of supplies for million dollar plans to signing contracts that provide the base with services, whether for cleaning or training purposes. They also work with finance to ensure proper spending projections for new buildings being built.
As a contracting officer, Baker signs the contracts.
“It’s…a lot,” said Baker. “From the cradle to the grave, we are involved.”
Despite this significant duty, she notes the reward of seeing her team’s finished products throughout the base.
“Anywhere we look we can see our accomplishments,” said Baker.
Likewise, CE’s responsibilities also come heavily weighted.
CE’s role within the wing can be broken down into four categories, said Joseph:
— Annual projects, which are air-fuel related and may take several years.
— Buildings that need to be broken-down or replaced.
— Roads and parking lots.
— Emergency projects needed to maintain the mission.
Joseph praises the guardsmen he works with. He said that through their long-term stint at the 108th, members here are able to create a synergy within the group.
The training centered around teaching civil engineers and contractors how to best work together to maximize productivity for the mission is visible through the connection fostered between Baker, Foulds, and Joseph.
“I expect great things out of this group,” said Baker.
The hope is to host more CE and contracting training at the 108th in the future, said the three 108th representatives.
The key element amongst the members that allows them to complete their mission is trust, said Foulds, based on the interdependent relationship that CE and contracting foster with one another, projects could not prevail in a timely or accurate manner without it.