GSA established the Ida Ustad Award for Excellence in
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INNOVATION REWARDED Innovation: The Army Reserve Contracting Center (ARCC) Satellite Office at Coraopolis, PA, provides the full range of contracting support to the reserve component in the five state region (plus the District of Columbia) reporting to the 99th Regional Readiness Command (RRC). The office is responsible for contract award and administration, as well as management of the 99th RRC government purchase card program. The office supports more than 181 reserve facilities and 22,000 soldiers in the five state region (Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware). When Ms. Shanahan was appointed to her position at the ARCC Coraopolis satellite office in May 2003, she was the fourth supervisor to assume leadership of this office since the ARCC gained command and control of contracting support to the 99th RRC. Because of the turnover in leadership, the staff she inherited lacked clear goals and vision in satisfying customer needs; they needed to be guided back to their excellence. Ms. Shanahan was charged by the ARCC with regaining customer confidence, increasing customer satisfaction, and instilling a proactive, “can do” attitude in her acquisition staff. In short, performing as a business advisor to her customers, and putting the Coraopolis satellite office into the excellence column in the eyes of her customers. In the short time Ms. Shanahan has been employed by the ARCC she has achieved brilliant results. Customer comments received through Interactive Customer Evaluation (ICE) and emails to ARCC leadership are illustrative: “Final score: we’re winning because of [Mary Pat Shanahan]” (99th RRC Engineer). “She devises ways of getting things done rather than say we can’t do that and walk away” (99th RRC Engineer). “There is no room for improvement. Ms Shanahan and her staff should be commended for the excellent services they provide to the 99th G-6 Telecommunications Division” (99th RRC G-6). “Her spirit of coordination and wanting to get the job done well are to be commended. As a result of Ms. Shanahan’s leadership, The Coraopolis Satellite Office is achieving a 100% satisfaction rate on the ICE metric. How did Ms. Shanahan engineer such an impressive turn- around in customer satisfaction in such a short time? She achieves her success by applying proven management, business, and teaming principles. Ms. Shanahan does not manage from behind her desk. Early in her tenure she started the practice of frequently visiting her customers’ place of work; listening to their concerns, needs, and criticisms. Her customer’s primary complaints were a lack of communication and a lack of understanding of the procurement process. In response, Ms. Shanahan developed a suite of “plain English” acquisition guides to demystify the process of partnering with the contracting office. In order to reach her customers in the more remote areas of her five state region, she created a shared drive where all RRC customers can access her acquisition guides, procurement status, management control metrics and contracts. This has resulted in process standardization, certainty in the procurement process, and superior management tools for the RRC staff. Ms. Shanahan’s leadership success is reflected not only in superior customer satisfaction, but also in business results for her team and customers. Ms. Shanahan inherited an office with a well-deserved reputation of supporting the JWOD program. In FY04 Ms. Shanahan achieved a savings in excess of $178,000 for JWOD custodial services contracts alone. Because of increased customer confidence, Ms. Shanahan’s office achieved a non-mobilization requirement increase of 50% in procurement actions in FY04 vice FY03. Also in FY04, in excess of $12M in previously off-loaded dollars was returned to the office for procurement, saving her organization more than $500,000 in off-loading fees. Ms. Shanahan manages 150 Billing Officials and 329 cardholders. In FY04 she worked closely with the 99th RRC command to improve payment delinquency metrics. As a result, the 99th RRC achieved 76% of potential rebates in 1QFY04 vice the Army average of 63.8%; 82% of potential rebates in 2QFY04 vice the Army average of 73.7%; and 90% of potential rebates in 3QFY04 vice the Army average of 73.7% (4th quarter results are not available). Ms. Shanahan has been in her current position for only 1-1/2 years. Her customers were skeptical and uninformed. In this short time she has managed to win back the trust and satisfaction of her customers, energize and professionalize her staff, and move her organization into the excellence column by anyone’s standards. Ms. Shanahan is the epitome of the entrepreneurial business advisor: not afraid to take risks to rebuild her organization and position it for a successful future.