A lot of soldiers join the Army to impact real change and only some of those soldiers end their service making that dream a reality. For Staff Sgt. Andrew Hill, acquisition, logistics and technology contracting specialist assigned to the 1955th Contracting Support Detachment, 213th Regional Support Group, he was able to do just that.
This year’s Reserve Component Acquisition Summit in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, was a chance for over 200 contracting professionals across the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserves to gather and improve their craft, network and discuss policies, procedures and more.
Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were one such group in attendance. The USACE provides public engineering services in peace and war to strengthen national security, energize the economy and reduce risks from disasters.
In the USACE’s brief on Active Duty Operational Support opportunities for Army Acquisition Corps Noncommissioned Officers, presenters discussed job requirements and policies around the Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (AL&T) Contracting Noncommissioned Officer role. And while talking about the minimum experience needed to apply, the presenter highlighted why the group was moving away from the regulations—and it’s all because of Staff Sgt. Hill’s work.
Hill is a member of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard Contracting Team and has singlehandedly made contracting professionals at the highest level in the Guard and Reserves reconsider the policy through his outstanding performance.
Hill applied to a job he wasn’t qualified for on paper, and through networking and perseverance, won the interviewers over so much so that they were willing to take a risk on hiring him. And since that day, Hill has knocked it out of the park.
“Contracting Team Leaders have a difficult task obtaining limited funding at the State level. SSG Hill took it upon himself to create his own path towards completing his contracting certification requirements,” said Capt. Darrin J. Weaver, operations officer for the 1955th Contracting Support Detachment, 213th Regional Support Group.
“His networking efforts with USACE – Pittsburgh District and his outstanding performance during his ADOS assignment have created new pathways forward for future 51C Officers and NCOs,” said Weaver. “USACE is now actively recruiting new graduates from the eight-week Army Acquisition Training Course with no previous contracting experience, thanks to his effort. SSG Hill has proven the AATC course provides the essential contracting knowledge USACE can leverage to achieve win-win-win outcomes for the agency, the Soldier, and the overall readiness of ARNG Contracting Teams.”
Staff Sgt. Hill acknowledges the value of the education he was provided with and credits the organization for his success.
“My performance and accomplishments are a testament to the quality education received from the Army Acquisition Center of Excellence,” Hill said. “The 12-month on-the-job training for the 51C MOS is a requirement for acquisition professionals."
Hill says that his experience serving the commonwealth through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Reserve Component Broadening Program has been a very rewarding experience.
"We provide opportunities and jobs to the American people to ensure the security and wellbeing of our waterways, locks, dams and parks. It is a worthwhile undertaking, which I am honored and proud to be a part of,” said Hill.
Because of the outstanding work Staff Sgt. Hill has done, a memorandum from USACE, Pittsburgh will release across the USACE enterprise to recommend graduates of the AATC course who pass the certification exam for USACE Active Duty Operational Support opportunities. The recommendation includes waiving the 1-year minimum contracting experience.
“Modern armies project power by relying heavily on assistance from contractors,” said Lt. Col. Terry Fetterman, commander of the 1955th Contracting Support Detachment, 213th Regional Support Group. “SSG Hill is a member of one of the Contingency Contracting Teams that award and manage the contracts for supplies, services, and construction. The learning curve for this field requires navigating over 10,000 laws and regulations. That skill can only come through training and experience. Obtaining that experience is not easy for the CCT members. It is only through SSG Hill's tenacity that he managed to overcome the roadblocks thrown his way in getting the necessary experience. His superior efforts and accomplishments bring strong credit to his team and to the 213th Regional Support Group. We are very proud to have him as part of the Pennsylvania CCT team."
And through all of the praise and excitement, Staff Sgt. Hill has kept a level head and nose to the grindstone.
His advice for soldiers looking to make an impact? “The prospects for promotion in the military are high, especially in the acquisitions field, but the dream of making rank should not be the main driver for your efforts.”
Hill continued, “Do all you can to set yourself up for success, develop a passion for your craft, learning and making mistakes are a vital part of growth, and endeavor to excel.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recognized 71 of their subcomponent organizations for earning one of several “USACE Best Places to Work” categories during an awards ceremony today at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. Awards are based on employee responses to the 2022 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) regarding overall satisfaction with their job and the organization.
In the recently released 2022 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings, USACE ranks 166 out of 432 federal agency subcomponents, representing a 30-spot improvement from 2021.
“We continue to generate great momentum on FEVS,” said Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon, USACE commanding general. “But we’re still not done. I want to take our world-class organization to the next level while continuing to attract and retain the best, diverse talent.” According to the 2022 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government website, the rankings offer the most comprehensive assessment of how federal public servants view their jobs and workplaces, providing employee perspectives on leadership, pay, innovation, work-life balance and other issues. Most of the data used to develop the scores and rankings was collected by the Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey in June and July 2022.
USACE scores were generated from more than 18,000 employee surveys, a 52% response rate across the organization and second highest amongst all Army commands.
Though the survey results show robust employee engagement levels, the data also provides opportunities for Spellmon and the USACE leadership team to build on current momentum.
“My command philosophy of promoting and maintaining a positive command climate; advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in our workforce; growing our next generation of leaders; and delivering the program requires leaders to set the conditions for optimal workforce engagement and innovation,” said Spellmon.
Key employee feedback included expanding available developmental opportunities, enhancing work/life flexibility, and increasing staffing levels to support a continually evolving and growing mission.
To find an upcoming USACE career event near you, visit: https://www.usace.army.mil/Careers/Career-Fairs/