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NGB-OPARC Conference promotes collaboration, enduring change

NORMAN, Okla. -- A national conference on military contracting was held at the National Center for Employee Development Conference Center and Hotel in Norman, Oklahoma, June 22-26, 2015.

Army and Air National Guard contracting officers met to attend the National Guard Bureau Office of the Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting training conference. The conference offered classes on policy updates, acquisition career development, competition goals and procurement management. Along with the training received, contractors were able to meet one another and discuss issues they run into in the field. The theme for the workshop is collaboration, communication and promoting enduring change.

"In a venue like this, you can share stories and see other people are experiencing the same problems you are," said Cynthia Tolle, NGB principle assistant responsible for contracting. "This allows people to collaborate and learn how to overcome that issue and employ that idea in their workplace."

Training classes were provided for new systems like the Purchase Card Online System, which allows users to find inappropriate government credit card transactions before it is too late to correct them.

"There are different reports that we pull from that system which will better assist at making sure we are spending the government's money the way we are supposed to," said Master Sgt. Christine Walker, 137th Air Refueling Wing contracting officer. "It takes away the daily operation of having to do manual searches."

Meeting colleagues and discussing daily contracting issues is a benefit from the conference Walker took full advantage of.

"You find individuals you'll be able to reach out to for resources," said Walker. "So, it's always good to be able to grow your professional network."

Tolle wants contractors to know their issues will be heard and that she is going to do what she can to ensure they are able to do their jobs seamlessly.

"The change we are ushering in now, which started before I came into this position is becoming more involved. My hope is to promote change to work more collegiately with the states," said Tolle. "We want to give them guidance, and tools they can use to make their job easier. We want to give them a voice at the national level."