Regional contracting office: Where government, businesses meet

7 Aug 2014 | Lance Cpl. Mark Watola

The regional contracting office aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune works with various contractors to support the missions of the service members aboard base.

The RCO serves as a middle ground between contractors and the service by procuring supplies and services from barracks furnishings to information technology support, for Marine Corps Installations East.

“We help provide supplies and services the Marine Corps can’t provide for itself,” said Lt. Col. Matt Howes, director of contracts and Oregon, Ill. native, Marine Corps Installations East Regional Contracting Office. “Contracting officers have the unique ability to commit and obligate contracts between the government and businesses.”

Federal government policy and procedure is to utilize small business, said retired Maj. Joe Rozier, deputy for small business at the RCO.

“Small businesses don’t necessarily know how to navigate the maze of federal acquisition and I help them navigate that maze,” said Rozier a Cleveland, Ohio native. “Small businesses are the economic engine of the country, and from a mission standpoint they bring innovation, speed, flexibility and competition.”

The contracting office supports various missions throughout the Marine Corps and Marines who meet the criteria can apply to become a contract specialist.

“Sergeants with one year or less time in grade are able to go before boards, for a chance to become a contract specialist,” said Master Sgt. Michael Dobbins, RCO procurement chief and Sidman, Pa. native. “It’s very competitive and only eight to 10 spaces are filled a year.”

Sgt. James Housel, an individual material readiness list manager and Casey, Ill. native, is at the RCO for on the job training to become a contract specialist.

“I enjoy learning new things and look forward to going to the school for a better understanding of my job,” said Housel. “As a contract specialist, there are many opportunities outside the Marine Corps.”

After working as a contract specialist, Marines will know the contracting process between businesses and the federal government, said Dobbins. Companies looking to conduct business with the government are looking for people with prior experience with contracting.

 For more information about the contracting office, training sessions will be held at the base education center, Aug. 19 and Sept. 3 at 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.