nice article by Army Lt. Col. Matthew Phelps
MILWAUKEE - Army Col. D. D. Mayfield, Defense Contract Management Agency Chicago commander, and members of his senior leadership team recently visited several strategic contractors in upper Wisconsin. The purpose was to engage on-site quality assurance specialists and contractor personnel to discuss the challenges of geographical offices and small-business warfighter support.
The visits all proved productive, but one experience stood out. ORC Industries in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, has been a long-time, consistent supplier of clothing and textile products to the armed forces. This historical description could define any number of government-small business relationships across America, but ORC’s story is unique. The contractor is a non-profit supplier with a mission to advance the independence, productivity and self-sufficiency of people with disabilities through employment opportunities, according to their mission statement.
“I think Department of Defense acquisitions through companies like ORC Industries show that efforts like the DoD Disability Employment Program are only a piece of the hiring, advancement, and retention of persons with disabilities,” said Mayfield. “The U.S. government’s energies go well beyond internal hiring processes and inject into the marketplace a continual effort to improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities and help break down the barriers often rooted in misinformation and misunderstandings about what it's like to live with a disability.”
Mayfield and other agency team members met with ORC employees and toured the factory floor. The contractor’s defense products include ponchos, the improved rain suit, soft shell jackets and pants, wind shirts, hard shell rain suits, field tarpaulins, tents, and they are the exclusive supplier of the Navy’s “Dixie cup” hat.
“This visit really exposed the great, but too-often unnoticed efforts, of our nation’s smaller companies who have for years played a vital role in supporting the warfighter,” said Mayfield.
Senior leaders from Chicago and Milwaukee also met with local agency personnel during the visit. Mike Wamsley, DCMA Milwaukee quality assurance representative, and his team members manage 48 open delivery orders from Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support valued at more than $15.3 million supplying in excess of 104,000 clothing and textile products.
“Mike excels at tailoring his surveillance approach to match the capabilities, personality and pace of the company while ensuring the agency’s mission of being the independent eyes and ears of DoD and its partners,” said Mayfield. “The Wisconsin trip let me see first-hand the challenges our geographical offices and personnel have executing contract oversight and ensuring the terms and conditions of their cognizant contracts.”
Mayfield also said that he is impressed everyday by DCMA Chicago and Milwaukee acquisition professionals because they “illustrate a depth and versatility in both functional expertise and personal communication that drives contract management office success in delivering global acquisition insight that matters.”