Stephen Hill has about 20 years of experience in the procurement of government contracts. He teaches the course Principles of Acquisition Process at SDSU in the Contract Management program.
Tell me about the class? What are the highlights?
It is an introductory class. I try to expose students to all facets of government contracting to prepare them for the future required classes. We work on case studies, and take actual court cases and review what happened, why it happened, the rules of law, and the rulings.
What other class work is involved?
We do in-class activities, both group and group review, and question and answer. There will also be two quizzes.
What do you hope students will get out of your class?
I want them to understand the government contracting process and whether they would like to pursue contracting as an occupation. We see a lot of students who are veterans coming out of the service. We also see people who are in transition and would like a new career path. This class exposes them to what they will be doing; the core responsibilities.
Since government contracting is so broad, we go over career opportunities or segments of government contracting and occupations. Government contracting is a very broad field — there are things that I haven’t even been exposed to yet. So this field is a continual opportunity to learn.
Do you see the contract management industry growing?
Yes and here’s why. San Diego is a military town, and to support the military there are a lot of government contracting opportunities. Some students look to start their own business or work at a small business start-up. So this class answers the questions, “What are the opportunities?,” “How do I learn the ropes of this process?,” and “How do I grasp this opportunity?”
What kind of person can handle this type of work?
You almost have to be like a lawyer. You need to be very detail-oriented. You need to keep asking why, and you have to be patient.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Yes, I try to make the class interactive so students just don’t listen to me and look at a PowerPoint presentation. Students experience small group activities, go over case studies, and when possible I try to bring in guest speakers from the outside. Sometimes we will have people come in from government agencies to provide their perspective and speak on a particular subject. In the past I’ve had a Small Business Administration director and the director of technology for the Navy visit us.
And one thing that sets my class apart from the others is that I have been able to set up a small internship program for students to gain experience.