by Andrea Sutherland
Dorothy Bell is a woman on a mission. In 2009, the mother of three traveled to Baghdad, Iraq, in support of Mission and Installation Contracting Command where Bell worked as a contracting officer. Throughout her nine-month deployment during the initial drawdown of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Bell oversaw the closing of more than 5,000 contracts, turning the mission over to the Iraqi people.
“We had contracts all over the place,” said Bell, adding that the majority of contracts hired local Iraqi nationals who took over service, supply and construction jobs.
In three months, Bell and her team closed out nearly 850 contracts valued at $91 million. Her ability to effectively and efficiently perform her job led to a nomination for an Individual Sustained Achievement award, which she won at the 2011 Army Acquisition Excellence Awards Oct. 9 in Alexandria, Va.
“I was extremely honored to be nominated and to win,” Bell said.
More than 20 Soldiers and civilians were nominated for the prestigious award from across the Army.
Annie Tucker, chief, Office of the Director, Installation Contracting Office at Fort Carson, and Maj. Nicholas Moses, 412th Contracting Support Brigade, nominated Bell for the award.
“She earned this honor,” Tucker said. “It’s not just her expertise that makes her so valuable. She knows how to motivate people. We need more of that. (She’s) a great role model for the military.”
Bell “facilitated the resolution of payment and invoicing actions on numerous legacy orders that led to a successful financial reconciliation and subsequent purchase agreement closure,” Tucker wrote in her nomination.
Because of her efforts to close out U.S. contracts overseas, Bell helped stimulate and stabilize the local Iraq economy, bringing jobs to Iraqi people. Bell also administered the rapid repair kit contract, which “provided the Iraqi Petroleum Pipeline Company with critical assistance from the Army Corps of Engineers in addition to quick and expedient repair and replacement part capability for vital Iraqi oil pipelines.”
A Los Angeles native, Bell joined civil service in 1987, working in administration, supply and contracting positions.
“I love contracting,” Bell said. “It’s a very rewarding career field.”
Bell said that while deployed, she worked 12-hour days, seven days a week, but found time for some fun.
“I sought out the fun runs (while deployed),” she said.
Upon her return from Iraq, Bell was chosen to head the new Operational Contracting Division, which provides mentors for deploying contractors, preparing them for overseas missions.
In December, Bell will deploy to Kuwait to work with joint forces in implementing policies and procedures for military and civilian personnel.
“I support the mission and all they’re trying to accomplish,” she said.