By Dolly Rairigh Glass

nawctsd-114It was fall of 2011 when the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) and the Central Florida Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association (CFL-NDIA) Integrated Process Team (IPT) signed a charter officially documenting its goal to improve the strength of the relationship between NAWCTSD and industry. It was a follow on to the meetings that were already taking place between NAWCTSD and industry, and a way to formalize the commitment by each side and really set goals and objectives for outcomes.

Until the most recent meeting, the government did most of the talking as they took industry concerns and addressed them in the meetings. But on April 15, the roles were reversed for NAWCTSD and industry, when industry leaders became the panel members, addressing their challenges and issues, while NAWCTSD representatives and other government attendees, had on their listening ears and posed questions.

“Typically we have representatives from various NAWCTSD competencies in front of industry providing useful and beneficial information,” said Diana Teel, Business Development Manager, NAWCTSD. “But when industry suggested to switch things up a bit, it was a big change for us, but we were receptive.”

“With each planning meeting prior to the event, it became more and more evident to us there was so much information they were going to share that was previously unknown to us,” Teel said. “We couldn’t wait for the event because every time we met with them, we learned something.”

The purpose of these meetings, which are formally scheduled twice a year, is to share information about the processes and to make them more transparent.

“The NAWCTSD-Industry IPT was restarted under the leadership of Rob Matthews, Deputy Technical Director, NAWCTSD, and then NDIA CFL Chapter President, Amy Motko,” said Mike Genetti, Principal Account Manager at Rockwell Collins, and one of the participating industry panelists at the event. “After industry recommended our ‘top ten’ areas for discussion to the government team, the first five sessions concentrated on industry concerns and the group saw great results.”

Genetti also said that industry felt the sessions were all very informative and following each there were actions taken to try to make process improvements, for example, the release of Sections L&M in “Draft” form sooner to allow industry to make informed bid or no bid decisions earlier.

After working through the first five successful IPT sessions, the government found they had questions they proposed to industry, like how does industry decide whether to bid particular procurement opportunities?

“NDIA CFL readily accepted the invitation to have representatives from a mix of businesses – large, mid-size and small — to present to government attendees in a generic fashion how we go about doing our business,” said panel member Joseph O’Connell, Vice President, Business Development for Engineering & Computer Simulations. “We discussed the importance of our strategic planning, and the critical importance of TSIS (Training Simulation and Industry Symposium), to our yearly operating plan, and why we’re so attentive at PALT (Procurement Administrative Lead Time) sessions.”

“We also talked about planning our budgets based on the different types of funding,” said O’Connell. “From these examples, we believe we showed how for each of our companies, regardless of size, the timing of the Request For Proposals is a critical factor in our decision making. It enables us to bid the right opportunities within our FY to ensure a successful year.”

According to Teel, the panel met numerous times to discuss what they felt would be most beneficial to the government attendees. Joining Genetti and O’Connell were also De Vorhees, Vice President of Business Development at General Dynamics Information Technology and Joel Owens, Vice President and Division Manager, MS&T Division, Camber Corporation.

“The amount of positive feedback I received from our NAWCTSD employees was very gratifying, and each of them told me how much they learned from the session,” said Teel. “Some said they had questions that didn’t get answered because we ran out of time and asked if I could share the slides so they could distribute the information to their own teams.”

“We’ve had a groundswell of positive response and I want to channel it, and definitely take the next step to move forward,” said Teel.

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