DLA, GSA train together in Battle Creek

By Jake Joy DLA Disposition Services

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More than two dozen sales officials from the Defense Logistics Agency and U.S. General Services Administration converged on the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center in Battle Creek in mid-September for a week of federal Sales Contracting Officer training.

Topics presented by both DLA and GSA contracting experts included SCO roles and responsibilities, breakdowns of solicitation and award processes, how do handle disputes, protests, claims and contract modifications, maintaining auditability and contract closure. Attendees included both well-seasoned SCOs and those with less than a week of experience in the role.

DLA Disposition Services Public Sales Division Chief Carlos Torres said including GSA officials allows DLA’s sales contracting force to hear a different perspective on government contracting from an authoritative source and encourage future engagement.

“This is the beginning of a sales partnership,” Torres said. “We envision future SCO training will be done jointly.”

GSA Southwest Central Branch Chief Ericka Grim and GSA Senior SCO Iris Wright-Simpson have a combined six decades of experience with their agency, and they could not recall participating in previous DLA-GSA combined training. They shared GSA standard and process details on various topics while developing a more nuanced understanding of DLA’s property disposal mission.

“It’s definitely been worthwhile,” Grim said. “There’s been information shared on both ends. We’ve identified so many commonalities in the way we perform.”

In 2018, officials from both agencies began examining potential synergies in how they deal with the used and unwanted materials accumulated by the military and other parts of government. Initial meetings involved exploration of scrap sales contracts.

“From there, an understanding grew that there might be lots of other ways we can collaborate,” Grim said.   

Other areas identified for potential exploration included firearm disposal, auditability efforts and automated systems, Wright-Simpson said. Many military excess and surplus items end up in GSA’s stream, and the “ultimate dream,” she said, might someday look like a collaborative automated disposal and sales system.  

“Being able to tap into each others’ customer bases would be great for all involved,” Grim said. “For us, it would be hugely beneficial and our customers would love that.”