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CG-91 challenges workforce for ideas on innovation in contracting

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Workforce challenge

The four judges at the Coast Guard Contracting and Procurement Enterprise “Shark Tank” inspired event listen to a pitch from one of six groups who presented Nov. 5, 2019. After the initial presentation, the judges had time to ask clarifying questions of each project. From left: Michael Derrios, senior procurement executive and head of contracting activity; Rear Adm. Michael Johnston, assistant commandant for acquisition and chief acquisition officer; Rear Adm. Paul Thomas, deputy for personnel readiness under the deputy commandant for mission support; and Albert Curry, deputy assistant commandant for engineering and logistics.


Members of the Coast Guard’s contracting and procurement enterprise pitched ideas to improve processes at a “Shark Tank” inspired event Nov. 5, 2019, in Alexandria, Virginia. Six groups – each representing one of the Coast Guard Chiefs of Contracting Offices (COCO) – vied for a chance to make their innovative idea a Coast Guard contracting reality. The six COCOs are the contracting offices for the Office of Contract Operations, Aviation Logistics Center, C4IT Service Center, Surface Forces Logistics Center, Shore Infrastructure Logistics Center – Base Support and Services, and Shore Infrastructure Logistics Center – Construction.

"This is a great opportunity for us to think creatively,” explained Michael Derrios, senior procurement executive and head of contracting activity for the Coast Guard. “Last year, the people in this room executed $3.5 billion in contracts and that gives us an opportunity to think innovatively as well."

The groups had only 10 minutes to sell their idea to the panel of judges and another five minutes to answer questions. The groups were creative in their presentations, using everything from skits to music to food to try to influence the voting.

Rear Adm. Paul Thomas, deputy for personnel readiness under the deputy commandant for mission support; Rear Adm. Michael Johnston, assistant commandant for acquisition and chief acquisition officer; Albert Curry, deputy assistant commandant for engineering and logistics; and Derrios each brought unique perspectives to the judge’s panel.

The ideas pitched to the judges include: expansion of contracting officer responsibilities, a contracting and customer SharePoint one-stop repository, creating an onsite headquarters office supply center, adding logistician/demand managers, leveraging enterprise buying power and building sustainment into contracts from the beginning.

Every idea was ultimately accepted in some form and approved to move forward, showing the success of the event and the quality of ideas that the offices brought to the table. However, three ideas stood out and were declared winners of the event:

  • Shore Infrastructure Logistics Center – Base Support and Services with a Logistician/Demand Manager.
  • Office of Contract Operations and its idea of Consolidated Office Supplies.
  • Surface Forces Logistics Center with its Build to Sustain idea.

"Thank you for putting your time and energy into this,” Derrios said at the conclusion. “The ideas were incredible and everyone got a win."

For more information: Doing Business with the Coast Guard