Army recruits in basic combat training will start eating nutritional snack bars this summer to help prevent injuries. And an employee in training at the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support is largely responsible for procuring the vitamin-packed treats for recruits.
Matt Conroy, Subsistence contract specialist and participant in the Pathways to Career Excellence program, took on much of the acquisition process to provide the snack bars to recruits at Fort Benning, Georgia.
“This was Matt’s first time, as he is a PaCER, doing an acquisition over the simplified threshold, which is $150,000,” said James Lecollier, chief of the Subsistence supply chain’s individual rations branch and Conroy’s supervisor. “He did a really good job in handling late offers, protests and congressional (queries).”
The two-year PaCE program is designed to train entry-level personnel for advancement to the journey-level in professional, administrative and technological career fields.
Conroy conducted the market research, reached out to different companies for information, created supporting documents for the contract and evaluated vendor’s offers to the contract solicitation.
“I started out doing the whole thing,” Lecollier said. “And then as Matt learned how to conduct negotiations and became more comfortable, he did more and more.”
Conroy also worked through some challenges during the acquisition. When creating their bids, some vendors struggled to get the specialty ingredients to make model snack bars for their proposals.
“To resolve this, I had to contact the suppliers to facilitate delivery and/or work with (the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center) if the ingredients were becoming too much of an issue,” said Conroy.
A Rowan University graduate, Conroy heard about DLA Troop Support from his college roommate’s father, who works in the Medical supply chain. Conroy said he has enjoyed the PaCE program and learned a lot during this project.
“Since this was a brand new item, I didn’t have any previous records to assist in the acquisition planning or to make any kind of determination (for the contract),” Conroy said. “By going through the entire process from scratch, I feel like I've gained the necessary tools to complete any task at DLA.”
The contract was awarded March 20, and the first delivery of 540,000 snack bars are expected in Fort Benning, Georgia, by June 30.
“It is not just a package snack that we are handing out,” Conroy said. “There is a specific purpose (for the bar) that is kind of different. Usually the stuff I do is for the warfighter that is already deployed overseas. This is something we are providing to them right from the start.”
The bars contain a high concentration of vitamins and will be given to basic trainees each night to decrease the likelihood of recruits suffering stress fractures.
“It provides more calcium and vitamin D to their diet to help support the extended period of training that they experience,” said Conroy.
For now, the bars come only in chocolate flavor. But Conroy hopes future contracts will include other flavors.
Lecollier said there are plans to introduce the bars to other Army recruit centers in the future. Other military services have also shown interest in the performance bars.