by Theodore (Ted) C. Harrison, Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
Nearly 20,000 members strong, the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) is the world’s leading resource for professionals in the contract management field.
Each year NCMA holds its annual World Congress, the nation’s premier training event for contract management, procurement, and acquisition professionals. Participants from both government and industry backgrounds gather to learn about critical issues challenging our industry.
This year’s World Congress was from 28-31 July 2019 with more than 2,500 contract management professionals from across the federal government, state and local government, private industry and education gathered in Boston, MA. This year’s theme was, “Shaping Acquisition: Modern, Adaptive, Connected.”
An engaging list of main stage speakers included Suzanne Vautrinot, president of Kilovolt Consulting Inc., who spoke about balancing risk with opportunity, as well as a Workforce Challenges panel consisting of several key acquisition leaders in the federal government. They offered their thoughts on innovative ways to make today’s workforce more flexible and nimbler and the use of enabling technologies such as AI and “workforce bots.”
Other mainstage sessions included a panel discussion on managing change and some of the emerging challenges facing government acquisition and a keynote by Stacy Cummings, Principle Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Acquisition Enabler, U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). She emphasized the ultimate goal of DoD to modernize its acquisition process and introduced attendees to the Adaptive Acquisition Framework, a flexible acquisition process that is tailorable based on the operational need to have capability delivered.
A new innovation was the use of “Exchange Sessions,” which were informal discussions led by a moderator to focus in on a topic of interest to attendees. These exchange sessions were set in groups of 10 to 20 and allowed participants to share best practices and ask questions of each other regarding how to overcome a variety of acquisition challenges. I enjoyed the opportunity to moderate an exchange session on “acquisition teaming.” The informal sessions encouraged participants to ask honest questions and share best practices.
While the conference provided an opportunity to network and learn, there was also an opportunity to celebrate NCMA’s 60th anniversary at the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art with live music, dinner and an extraordinary view across Boston Harbor.
I also moderated a panel at this year’s event entitled, “What do the 809 Panel Recommendations Mean for Small Business?” The Section 809 Panel has made several recommendations aimed at refocusing DOD’s small business program. While many have extolled the bold recommendations that would allow the government to purchase “readily available” items more like the purchasing department in private industry, still others have sounded the clarion call to stop what some perceive as the destruction of the DOD small business programs. This panel sought to find the truth in a discussion with representatives from the 809 Panel, DOD small business, and industry.
TAPE actively supports NCMA in several ways. I am a Board Director on NCMA’s National Board and was the event chair for the annual Government Contract Management Symposium in December 2018 in Washington, DC.TAPE CEO Louisa Jaffe is on NCMA’s Board of Advisors and has supported the association for many years.
This post originally appeared on Bill Jaffe’s blog at http://blog.federalsmallbizsavvy.com/capture-management/highlights-from-ncma-world-congress-2019/ and was reprinted with permission.