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EM Focuses on Contract, Project Management Improvements in Three-Day Workshop

March 1, 2012 - 12:00pm


ORLANDO, Fla. – EM held a three-day workshop in Orlando this month focusing on strategies to improve contract and project management across the EM complex.

More than 100 EM employees attended the 2012 Contract and Project Management Workshop for a series of briefings and working sessions by dozens of EM leaders, including federal procurement and project directors. The event, held March 20-22, was hosted by EM’s Office of Acquisition and Project Management.

“There was a wide range of discussions on many aspects of contract and project management for our acquisition professionals throughout EM, as well as best practices from EM sites such as Paducah and Oak Ridge,” said Jack Surash, EM Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition and Project Management. “The goal was to ensure everyone had the latest information on requirements and practices and we effectively shared lessons learned.”

Surash, the workshop sponsor, highlighted key EM achievements in fiscal year 2011. EM completed 94 percent (32 of 34) of capital asset projects; 96 percent (100 of 104) of contract specialists were appropriately certified; 89.3 percent (25 of 28) of projects have Federal Project Directors certified at the appropriate level; and 97 percent of change orders (1,346 of 1,390) were completed within 180 days. In addition, EM obligated more than 6 percent of its
procurement base to small businesses, surpassing the goal of 5 percent. EM also met the objective to manage spend plans so obligations and costs are within five percent of each EM site's plan. He noted EM’s overall costs were five percent below the plans.

Surash outlined key goals to improve project, budget and contract management with the objective of delivering results on time, within costs and with world-class technical competencies. Those goals include:

  • Use of the internal quality assurance process to continue to monitor and independently validate the effectiveness and sustainability of corrective measures; and
  • Improve and expand the use of independent contract and project reviews, construction project reviews, peer reviews, and external independent reviews to ensure contracts and projects are meeting mission requirements.

He also provided guidelines for strong contract management from pre-contract award to post contract award. For example, Request for Proposal statements on work and deliverables must be based on clear requirements and robust front-end planning, he said.

In her keynote address at the workshop, EM Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Tracy Mustin discussed the major EM program goals, one of which is to improve project, budget and contract management. Mustin emphasized topics important to executive management, such as
EM’s objective to complete capital projects on cost and schedule and the need for timely approval of contract baselines.

Mustin also noted that EM has delivered significant cleanup results in the past several years, while completing projects on time and within cost. She said EM needs to maintain that success as it faces the significant challenges ahead, especially with complex, first-of-a-kind construction projects.

In other presentations, James Moore with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), advisor to EM for the Project Management Partnership, presented the mission of USACE and how the partnership strengthens EM’s mission to manage capital asset projects and contracts
effectively. Other speakers included Teresa Tyborowski, EM Acting Deputy Assistance Secretary for Program Planning and Budget, and Paul Bosco, Director of the DOE Office of Procurement and Assistance Management and Acting Director of the DOE Office of Engineering and Construction Management.