COMMAND/ORGANIZATION: Mission Support Division, Mission and Installation Contracting Command – Fort Lee, Virginia
TITLE: Division chief
YEARS OF SERVICE IN WORKFORCE: 11
DAWIA CERTIFICATIONS: Level III in contracting
EDUCATION: B.S. in business finance, Virginia Tech
Ms. Susan L. Follett
Peyton Rowley, division chief for the Mission Support Division within the Mission and Installation Contracting Command (MICC) – Fort Lee, Virginia, comes from a family that values military service. Her work at MICC – Fort Lee continues their legacy by ensuring that warfighters are trained and prepared for whatever they’ll encounter.
MICC – Fort Lee’s primary customer is the U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM), which provides training and leadership development and develops concepts, doctrine, organizations and materiel solutions to support the Army’s joint and expeditionary capabilities. “We support the training mission of CASCOM, a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, and its subordinate schools—the Army quartermaster, transportation and ordnance schools, as well as Army Logistics University,” Rowley explained. “With the help of the contract support that we provide, CASCOM is able to prepare the warfighter for the next step, whether it’s a deployment or a new step in their career.”
CASCOM is the third largest training site in the Army and sees thousands of Soldiers pass through its doors each year—for example, a MICC – Fort Lee contract for dining facilities ensured that roughly 5.4 million meals were provided to students in FY17. The MICC – Fort Lee contracting office administers more than 2,000 contracts with a total estimated value of $1 billion, and it executed more than 500 contract actions in FY17 with an estimated value of approximately $144 million. It manages more than 400 government purchase card program accounts for Fort Lee and nearby Joint Base Langley-Eustis, overseeing more than 14,000 transactions in FY17 estimated at an additional $8.2 million.
The MICC – Fort Lee office is split into three divisions: The Business Operations Division provides contracting guidance, oversight and system support; the Mission Support Division provides contracting support for supply items and service contracts for CASCOM and contract support for tenant organizations; and the Installation Support Division is responsible for utilities, energy, base operations and construction contracts.
Like most of us, Rowley’s biggest workplace challenges are time and resources. “We get a lot of requests with short deadlines that we don’t allow enough time to properly complete, or we get requests that don’t have money behind them,” she explained. “The funding is out of everyone’s control, so there’s not much we can do to address that challenge, but we have worked a great deal with our customers to explain how our process works and what the procurement action lead time is, so they understand what kind of time we need to be able to properly support them.”
Rowley was born into a military family and got her start in acquisition at their urging that she consider following in their footsteps. “My dad, uncles, grandfathers and cousins all served in either the Army, Navy or Air Force, most for full careers. When I was getting close to graduating from college, my dad and uncle suggested that I investigate a career in federal service, specifically in the contracting field due to my major. I looked into the career field and felt it would be a good fit and my way to give back.” The job market was somewhat unstable at the time, and she liked the stability that a federal career could offer. “I also liked that there were several different areas within contracting—I could grow in the position and learn different aspects, and could use what I learned in one area or another if I wanted to move.”
Rowley was accepted into the Army Civilian Training, Education and Development System’s intern program soon after graduation, “and I haven’t looked back,” she said. She spent five and a half years at Joint Base Langley-Eustis before moving to Fort Lee nearly six years ago.
“One of the biggest satisfactions I get from my work is seeing the positive impact it has on the end user or warfighter,” she said. “Running a close second is when I see those who I have mentored succeed and progress in their careers.” Her mentorship of others is Rowley’s way of giving back to those who supported her. “I feel like it is part of my job to mentor those on my team—I want everyone on my team to be knowledgeable and successful, and get exactly what they want out of their careers.” Her efforts seem to be working. “A multitude of 51Cs [contracting noncommissioned officers] have come through our office,” she noted, “and they still call for advice while stationed overseas or elsewhere.”
Rowley noted that she has worked for and with many good people over the course of her career, and among those who left the most lasting impact is Abra Smith, who she considers her primary mentor. “She was one of my first contracting officers, later became a division chief and is now retired. She was a great leader, and I learned a tremendous amount from her both contractually and professionally. Once I left her office, we kept in touch, and I knew I could always reach out to her for guidance.”
She added, “I don’t think most people truly grasp the breadth and depth of what this job entails. The mechanics of this career field change often, so it’s a continuous learning cycle. No one can know everything there is to know, and everyone is absolutely helpful when it comes to sharing what they’ve learned or what they know about a certain issue. If you want to succeed, you need to work hard, be proactive and be willing to learn. You also need to be open and flexible in the event of change.”
“Faces of the Force” is an online series highlighting members of the Army Acquisition Workforce through the power of individual stories. Profiles are produced by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Communication and Support Branch, working closely with public affairs officers to feature Soldiers and civilians serving in various AL&T disciplines. For more information, or to nominate someone, please contact 703-664-5635.
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