News>Contracting squadron members ‘professional buyers’ for 380th AEW
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Matthew Sarangay, 380th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron Commodities flight contracting officer, validates receipt of ordered items at the commodities consolidation point Sept. 7, 2012. Sarangay, a Sacramento, Calif., native, is deployed to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing from Hurlburt Field, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Amanda Savannah)
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Matthew Sarangay, 380th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron Commodities flight contracting officer, validates receipt of ordered items at the commodities consolidation point Sept. 7, 2012. This validation is one of the final steps of the commodities flight's acquisition process. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Amanda Savannah)
by Tech. Sgt. Amanda Savannah
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
9/11/2012 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Being a professional buyer often means shopping around, comparing costs and crunching numbers, searching for the best product at the best price to suit the customer's request.
This is no different for the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing's "professional buyers."
The 380th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron is responsible for processing purchase requests and obligating money for everything the 380th AEW needs, including the wing's geographically-separated units.
"We have our hands in basically everything," said Master Sgt. William McLaughlin, 380th ECONS superintendent.
More often than not, money coming through the base and being spent on particular actions goes through the squadron, he said.
Though the squadron is only comprised of 14 members, its Airmen have been responsible for obligating the most money of any contracting squadron in their deployed region in the last three months, said McLaughlin, an Orlando, Fla., native permanently assigned here. The squadron has spent more than $50 million in fiscal 2012 and is ahead of 2011's spending rate by more than $1 million.
Brig. Gen. Paul McGillicuddy, 380th AEW commander, has pledged to take care of Airmen at work and where they live, and to get the mission done smartly and effectively, as two of his priorities. Money is required to buy what the general needs to make these priorities happen.
"With all the contracts we're executing ... it really shows that we're supporting the mission first-hand," said Maj. Renee Russo, 380th ECONS commander. "(It shows we're) supporting General McGillicuddy's vision of making this place better."
According to the superintendent, the contracting squadron is divided into three flights: services, commodities and construction. Together, the three flights ensure any services, commodities or construction the wing needs is supplied.
The services flight includes three people who are responsible for 40 service contracts, including areas such as custodial, dining facilities, refuse and more.
The construction flight's four members are embedded with the 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron and work with the civil engineering program managers on developing construction contracts to ensure they are beneficial for the Air Force as well as the contractors. An active contract the construction flight is developing is for 720 relocatable buildings, a $7 million requirement.
The commodities flight includes four people who purchase items for the base, such as fitness equipment, furniture, dry ice, fuel and more.
This flight is responsible for about 80 percent of the squadron's purchases for the wing, including the purchase of furniture required for the 720 relocatable buildings, turning the metal cubes into comfortable living quarters and improving quality of life for people here, said Russo, a Miami native deployed from Randolph Air Force Base, Texas.
Tech. Sgt. Chris Klug, commodities flight NCO in charge, said it takes being a "logistical genius" to coordinate with organizations and keep track of purchases.
"We have anywhere from 100-plus purchases that we've just done over the past couple of days that are in the works," said Klug, a Midland, Texas, native deployed from Hurlburt Field, Fla. "We're constantly having to keep on top of all those so to not fall under task saturation. (We have to) be able to juggle 10 balls at once."
Senior Airman Matthew Sarangay, commodities flight contracting officer, said he enjoys seeing the satisfied customers.
"Like (the 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron) really needed fans, so I got them fans the next day," said Sarangay, a Sacramento, Calif., native also deployed from Hurlburt Field. "They were like, 'Anything you need, we'll get it for you,' so seeing that made me happy."
McLaughlin said he enjoys meeting and helping people.
"When you're walking around you get to say hi to everybody that you've actually helped, touched their life and made their life a little bit better by doing your job," he said.
McLaughlin said the contracting squadron's members are doing very well in meeting the general's vision.
"The team that we have now is absolutely excellent," he said. "They're doing the best in the (area of responsibility)."
"We're professional shoppers -- negotiators in trying to get the most bang for the taxpayers' buck," she said. "We're one of the smallest contracting squadrons in the AOR, with the highest obligation rate per buyer. That's impressive."