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Catherine Watson February 8, 1993

RELEASE NO. 93-008


Mark Hershey, a Johnson Space Center contract specialist who saved the government some $6 million in 1992, has been named NASA's Contract Manager of the Year.

Hershey, who works in the Administration Directorate, is now the contracting officer and a Source Evaluation Board member for the Engineering, Testing and Analysis contract that covers support to the Engineering and Space and Life Sciences Directorates, as well as the New Initiatives Office.

JSC nominated him for his work monitoring two major space shuttle contracts -- the Flight Equipment Processing Contract and the Shuttle Remote Manipulator System Contract -- valued at more than $341 million, and the Engineering Support Contract, valued at more than $1 billion.

What helped Hershey earn the award was, in part, a philosophy he brings to his work.

"One of the things I try to do when I see a problem is to find not just the solution that will solve it that day, but I try to look at the big picture, at what we're really trying to accomplish here and what's a long-term solution that's going to make an impact to help get that done," he said.

"Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our day-to-day jobs that we don't step back and think about, gee, this is costing a lot more money and even though it is serving a purpose if we did it a different way it would save a lot more money, save time and make the job better."

NASA Headquarters' Procurement Office cited Hershey for his work in developing a better system of cost reporting and a simplified system of paying the contractor where hundreds of separate accounts previously had been needed. He also effectively tied incentive payments to contractor performance.

In particular, Hershey developed a reporting system for Spar Ltd., the Canadian company that builds shuttle robot arms, which keeps NASA up to date on exactly how much it is spending in spite of quickly fluctuating U.S.-Canadian exchange rates.

"The reason it's so complicated is that you have three parties involved," Hershey said, "you have the U.S. government, the Canadian government and Spar."

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On FEPC, Hershey worked with the contractor -- Boeing Aerospace -- to improve its reporting methods to better track the costs of outfitting shuttle missions so that the performance evaluation is based on the company's negotiated contract rather than on budget.

On the Engineering Support Contract, he led an effort to reduce the number of primary work codes used, cutting a standard funding modification from three or four pages to one page. Lockheed Engineering and Sciences Co. was being forced to keep track of the various funding sources from which it receives its money every time a modification was needed. Hershey helped move that burden to the NASA people who were already keeping track of how those funding sources fed the contract. Hershey's efforts reduced the cost in time, personnel and money to prepare funding modifications and track,

report and analyze costs.

"We really streamlined it and basically did away with a lot of the burden on the contractor," he said. "They were finally getting to a point where they were going to have to buy a new computer system and do a lot of other things just to keep up."

Hershey said he couldn't have accomplished what he did without the support of his supervisor, Shuttle Engineering and Equipment Procurement Branch Chief Dick Regenburgh, who gave him time to think things through a look at the big picture, or his lead at the time, Lucy Yates. He also gave credit to the hard work of FEPC Contracting Specialist James Bastian and RMS Contracting Specialist Rick Bennett.

Photo Caption for S93-26862:

NASA Contract Manager of the Year Mark Hershey works in his office in Johnson Space Center's Bldg. 45.


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