ACE course provides tools for success

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The team at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Acquisition Center of Excellence in partnership with the AFLCMC Contracting Directorate have developed a new training workshop designed to improve acquisition efficiency.

The Technical Evaluation Negotiation Support workshop provides in depth, hands-on training that prepares engineers, logisticians and program managers to provide effective technical support to contracting officers, including evaluating proposals from industry during sole source negotiations. In addition, the workshop has connected with partners in industry to show them what the Air Force needs when evaluating their proposals.  

“One of the things we found when we were developing this training and workshop was the inadequacy of proposals,” said Dan Bowman, director of the ACE. “One of the biggest problems that program contracting officers find when they get a proposal [from industry] is that it’s not always compliant with federal acquisition regulation. So this training allows us to show our technical experts what a proposal is supposed to look like, as well show our industry partners what kind of data they are responsible for providing us.”

The workshop was developed to provide skills to allow individuals to immediately “hit the ground running” and be successful on current and future contract cases.

Over the past 18 months the workshop has trained more than 1,400 people and one directorate within AFLCMC found the training to be so effective that it required everyone in the organization to take it, Bowman said.

Barry Raygor, an acquisition support lead in the ACE, said that people of all skill levels are welcome to take the workshop.

“We will take all comers,” said Raygor. “We had a gentlemen in there [workshop] in his second year in the Air Force. We’ve also had engineers with 20 years or more of experience that have never done a technical evaluation before. We go with what the students know and then share what they are not aware of.”

Feedback from workshop participants has been positive.

“The ACE training was a significant reason we had an on-schedule and high-quality technical evaluation,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Finch, the material leader for the Adaptive Engine Transition Program. “I highly recommend it to all sole source acquisition teams.”

Bowman encouraged more people to sign up for the workshop.

“The breakdown of competitive awards to sole source is about 70/30,” said Bowman. “So 70 percent of all our dollars are spent to single source contracts. Because the dollars are so great and because the skill level is limited in terms of how we do evaluations, the more you can teach our employees the business of looking at a proposal, the better able we are to negotiate fair and reasonable prices. That’s what federal acquisition regulations tell contracting offices – to get the best bang for the buck at fair and reasonable prices and this workshop supports that.”

For more information about the Technical Evaluation Negotiation Support workshop contact Barry Raygor at barry.raygor.1@us.af.mil.