Academy Student Testimonials - Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy (VAAA)
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Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy (VAAA)


Academy Student Testimonials

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Contracting Professional School

Instructor was great – knowledgeable on subject – made class fun! Contract Specialist, Minneapolis VAMC — CON 120
Very good class.  Meeting and networking with classmates helped me better understand VA and the processes.  Instructor was very knowledgeable and gave me guidance on a number of issues. Contract Specialist, SAC — CON 353
These courses are effective tools.  Please keep up the great work! Contract Specialist, VISN 11 — CON 215
I left this class feeling empowered, valued as a professional and privileged to have benefit from the instructor’s experience. Contract Specialist, Baltimore VAMC — CON 218
This is the second class that I have taken with Jack Donovan and I cannot say enough good things about the instructor.  I have learned so much about Federal leasing.  The material covered is relevant to my needs and can only help me do a better job as a contracting officer. Contract Specialist, GLAC — Federal Real Property Leasing
One of the best learning environments and learning experiences in government! IT Security Analyst, VACO — CON 100
This class has been a pleasure and I learned a lot.  The instructor really promoted a good team effort and very good interactions among the groups. Requirements Manager, VACO — CON 110
I enjoyed the course and was impressed with your Acquisition Academy instructor.  VAAA staff were outstanding! Purchasing Agent, Togus VAMC — CON215
This course was very well planned.  All materials, handouts and book significantly helped the learning process! Program Analyst, Coatesville VAMC — COTR Training
Thank you for finding us a teacher so special and with relevant experience! Contract Specialist, Miami VAMC — CON218

Program Management School

I plan to apply the project management best practices (stakeholder involvement, team development, WBS, earned value management, Cost-Benefit Analysis, etc.) learned in the training to improve my exiting project on all future projects.  These techniques/tools have proven to be very valuable. Project Engineer, VISN 4
I plan to continue increasing my project’s overall performance.  Through the training I have learned the importance of doing as much work as possible up-front, identifying barriers, acquisitions needs, and risk prior to solicitation, to help assure my project’s success.  I think I’ve become a better project/program manager with what I have learned. Project Section Chief, VISN 16
I will continue leveraging training tools, concepts, and adopted practices learned in the training.  I now look at every major acquisition as an opportunity to look for improvements and do realistic requirements planning.  I have also learned that getting stakeholders involved early is extremely beneficial in addressing different needs, mindsets and expectations. Supervisory Inventory Management Specialist, VISN 4
Training has made me more assertive.  It helped bring out skills that I already had and has made me more aggressive in meeting my goals. Program Specialist — Entry Level Training
Training enabled me to coach a staff member on his project.  I was able to show him the tools for creating WBS, work packages, and organization structure with direct responsibility for work groups. Facility Planner — Mid Level Training
[Training] has been a great experience because [it provided] a networking atmosphere that was very beneficial.  Very good collaboration. OI&T Field Program Office Project Manager — Entry Level Training
The main benefit has been the networking and learning how others approach things.  It also helped getting a point of contact so we can ask for mentoring. Informatics Nurse — Entry Level Training
Training helped build upon my existing knowledge.  It provided the latest and greatest information. Construction Shop Supervisor — Mid Level Training
[The Training] gave me a lot more confidence.  After the class I felt more confident to speak up about [certain] issues. SQA Lead — Mid Level Training
The training offered a more structured view of what we normally do.  It helped to standardized [processes]. Biomedical Engineer (TCF Program) — Mid Level Training
The tools [learned in training] helped provide structure and helped me to select specific things on which to focus. Informatics Nurse — Entry Level Training
[As a result of training] I gained understanding of the contracting and acquisition processes. Executive Assistant to the Director/Facility Planner — Mid Level Training
[Training provided me with] a better understanding of how budget money is allocated throughout the project.  I also learned to utilize add hoc team members in order to maintain the project on schedule. Management and Program Analyst — Entry Level Training
Getting to meet other people from the VA was beneficial.  The training course offered an avenue for networking which is always helpful. Program Analyst — Mid Level Training
The project management concepts introduced in training were very useful.  The training provided new tools to monitor performance. Information Technology Specialist — Mid Level Training
[The negotiation framework taught during training] was helpful.  It provided the tools to listen to both parties and meet in the middle.  [Using this negotiation tool] the agreed upon scope was implemented in the short time frame allowed. Information Technology Specialist — Mid Level Training
I have a more positive outlook as a result of training. Project Engineer — Mid Level Training
[As a result of training], less grievances are filed overall.  Employees are more cooperative. Administrative Coordinator, Primary Care — Mid Level Training
[As a result of training], overall I am a more effective project manager.  Prior to training my knowledge in project management was very limited. Program Analyst — Entry Level Training
[As a result of training] I am more organized overall.  I have big picture mentality. Supervisor Informatics Section — Entry Level Training
[As a result of training], I tend to be more positive instead of negative.  I was pessimistic before.  Now I know more techniques on how to handle setbacks. Project Engineer — Mid Level Training
Training has helped me to look at things from a bigger picture perspective.  I am more organized and I plan things better. Supervisor Informatics Section — Entry Level Training
[As a result of training], my communications style is more effective.  I make more effort to reach all audiences and meet everyone’s different needs. Administrative officer for VA health service — Entry Level Training
Training has sharpened my skills.  I am more aware of all aspects of my projects and I am more involved in getting things moved along.  I have a more thorough understanding of all the pieces to the puzzle.  I find that I am also more assertive. Management Analyst — Entry Level Training
Having the action plan to refer to has been a tremendous benefit in managing my project.  It has helped in following time lines to managing staff. Chief, Prosthetic Service — Mid Level Training
Each contract I prepare for solicitation includes more thorough information, and is completed more timely. COTR — Mid Level Training
The training provided some useful tools in preparing me to implement my improvement actions.  I think I would have been able to complete regardless, but the training helps ensure that things are done with more efficiency and clarity of purpose. Contract Specialist — Mid Level Training
The training helped me address improvement actions mostly because I am new to the VA and it helped me learn the processes. IT Specialist — Entry Level Training
I didn’t know anything about WBS before the class.  So needless to say I learned a great deal about this area. Project Manager / COTR — Mid Level Training
I now have a good understanding on emotional intelligence, and things such as time management, understanding transparencies, quantitative and qualitative measures. Management Analyst — Entry Level Training
I have been doing project management for about 10 years.  The training forced me to look at concept of project management vs. taking something and doing it my own way.  This gives me another perspective. IT Specialist — Entry Level Training
I am operating in a less emotional environment.   My projects will be more driven by specific project plans and less by wants and needs. Administrative Specialist — Entry Level Training
Training has given me the tools to take a more systematic approach.  I had no framework prior to the training. Program Analyst — Entry Level Training
I tend to be more positive instead of negative.  I was pessimistic before.  Now I know more techniques on how to handle setbacks. Project Engineer — Mid Level Training
Overall I have more attention to detail.  I have been a project manager for a few years now, so sometimes things go on automatic pilot and details get overlooked.  I think now I have an increased focus on detail. Operations Manager — Senior Level Training
Increased knowledge as to the types of contracts that we have with the government here and cost benefits.  Very useful knowledge. Architect Project Manager — Senior Level Training
I have become more in-tuned with stakeholders and team members.  Prior to training, I took too much responsibility on that I could have delegated. Program Manager — Senior Level Training

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