Thursday, May 23, 2013

SHARE program shines light on available resources across APG

Project from APG Senior Leadership Cohort offers community-based tool for organization efficiency

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – There is a wealth of subject matter experts, resources and assets across the Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) installation that spark innovative research efforts and perform sound testing capabilities to accomplish mission critical objectives for the U.S. Army.

Tapping into these areas across APG organizations has become even easier thanks to a new digital bulletin board tool available to government employees. Seeking Help through Available Resource Exchanges (SHARE) is a community-based project developed from this year’s APG Senior Leadership Cohort. In February ECBC’s Steve Norman, Peter Emanuel and Ron Pojunas, graduated from the program, which was created to build a self-sustaining leadership community among high potential GS-14/15 and equivalent level managers at APG. SHARE was one of the capstone projects that resulted from the cohort.  It is a web-enabled milBook product that facilitates the exchange of goods and services in a collaborative effort to accomplish our missions.

“There’s a lot of talent on APG that we really aren’t taking advantage of,  this board came about as an electronic media where you can advertise resources,” said Norman, chief of the Environmental Monitoring Laboratory branch for the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center’s (ECBC) Chemical Biological Application and Risk Reduction (CBARR) Business Unit.

“For example, if you are in need of two chemists to work on a certain project, you would put the duration and specifications of this detail on the web-based bulletin board. Someone who may have two chemists that are available can respond to the request, exchange contact information and begin the process to execute the detail.  That requirement then comes off the board,” Norman explained.

Similarly, an organization can advertise resources they may have available in order to attract potential customers across APG and make visible their assets that have traditionally remained hidden on a grassroots level.  SHARE’s digital platform turns available resources into highly visible prospects for organizations to capitalize on, whether it is reducing costs, cutting down the time needed to generate contracts or completing a project in a more efficient manner.

“In this time of sequestration, we’re trying to do more with less,” Norman said. “If you have folks that are available who aren’t fully engaged, you now have an opportunity to advertise their core competencies with the hope that they may be needed to support other organizations.  This also prevents the organization receiving the support from the laborious process of generating contract vehicles to accomplish a task or procure a resource. ” 

As the largest employer in Harford County with more than 21,000 civilian, military and contractor employees, the U.S. Army garrison supports military intelligence, medical research, engineering and computer technology achievements.  Home to 11 major commands that support more than 80 tenants, 20 satellite and 17 private activities, utilizing existing capital enables organizations to work more collaboratively, effectively manage the ebbs and flows of a given workload and raises awareness of the “buyer” and “seller” existence.

Using the digital interface, users can create blogs to start discussions and receive notifications of new posts. Information can be tailored and formatted in ways that facilitate advertisements and solicitations. Attachments can also be added to posts, which can be tagged with key words to target specific audiences and make searches more efficient.

The SHARE program has been active for the past three months and encourages collaboration not only within ECBC but installation-wide. Engaging APG’s workforce in the digital space can also lead to creative problem solving in real time. The unique, yet simple, concept of the SHARE project fosters a resource-sharing environment where APG tenants can reach out to the local Army workforce for support. As a result, it equips the installation with better buying power capabilities during a challenging Department of Defense climate of sequestration, war time drawdown, contract reform and reduction in force.

“If we let some other folks know what our skill sets are and what talents we have here at ECBC that are available, that may also help generate funding opportunities. A majority of the work we do is customer-funded so we have to get out there and find new ways to capture the work ourselves. This is almost an avenue to advertise what we can do for folks who need our capabilities,” Norman said.