AEDC recently selected Amy Foster, formerly of Franklin County, to oversee contracts totaling approximately $300 million annually as the Complex’s new director of contracting.
The promotion makes Foster the first female ever to serve as director of contracting at AEDC and the first Air Force female GS-15 at the base.
“I sincerely hope Amy is the first of what will be many women to serve at the senior executive level here at AEDC on both the government and contractor side,” AEDC Commander Col. Raymond Toth said.
“What impresses me most about Amy is her dedication, drive and determination to succeed in a business that has been dominated by men here at Arnold for over 60 years. She is imminently qualified, exceptionally skilled and has the leadership qualities that will ensure her and AEDC’s continued success,” Toth said.
The director of contracting is a key position at AEDC, especially with the upcoming contract competition and the efforts to standardize processes across the Air Force.
The selection committee didn’t waste any time. After a review of resumes, they conducted interviews and Foster was the unanimous choice. “Her previous experience, education and particularly her performance during the interview really made her stand out from the rest of the candidates,” Toth continued.
Foster said she welcomes her new career challenge.
“It is a unique opportunity and I am honored and humbled to be part of the future at AEDC,” she said. “I am grateful to Col. Toth and Dr. Blake for the confidence they have placed in me and to my husband, Randy, for his continuous encouragement… they have all been incredible.”
Part of her attraction to the job was its uniqueness.
“Few other bases are entirely contracted out. The AEDC operating model is unique and that’s what makes it fun,” she said. “My experience at other bases does help me, though, because I understand how the rest of the Air Force operates. I understand the push toward standardization and will help manage what makes sense to standardize here and what doesn’t.”
The Franklin County native said she had an unusual path to this position with lots of twists and turns along the way. Her career didn’t begin at AEDC.
“My husband, Randy, and I grew up in Franklin County and left when he joined the Air Force,” Foster said. “We traveled for 20 years as part of his active duty career, but we knew we wanted to return home when there was an opportunity.
“I had always wanted to work at AEDC and had applied several times, but wasn’t selected.”
However, in 2006, she received a call from John Sutton, the director of contracting at that time.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I was so excited. He called me to set up an interview and then later called and told me he had some good news…that I had been chosen as the chief of the Enterprise Acquisition Branch.”
As the chief, Foster was responsible for leading a highly skilled team of professional contracting officers and contract specialists in acquisition planning, negotiation and administration of over 250 research and development, service, supply, construction, utility and commercial test contracts.
In 2013 she became the chief of the Test Range Contracting Branch and led the management and execution of the $3.2 billion test and operations and support operating contract at AEDC where she managed complex business and contracting issues.
Foster began her career as an intern at Tyndall AFB, Fla. After that, she was promoted to quality assurance program coordinator and later as contracting officer for the $1.4 billion Air Force Contract Augmentation Program and follow on $10 billion AFCAP contract.
The AFCAP provided civil engineering support anywhere in the world from humanitarian aid to support of combat troops and Foster was the contracting officer.
“I think this assignment is one that made a big difference in my being qualified for this position (AEDC director of contracting),” Foster said. “We touched a lot of people and things and it gave me a wide range of contracting experience, but every experience I’ve had has prepared me for this position.”
It was at Tyndall that she learned the basics as a contracting specialist. “I learned the day-to-day skills you need to understand contracting,” she said.
As for future goals, she says customer service is at the top of the list.
“I want our contracting team to focus on customer service,” Foster said. “Our job is to buy services, supplies and construction that support the mission.
“Since AEDC is entirely contracted, if we don’t get our job done right, the mission is impacted.”
Foster’s promotion ceremony was held Jan. 17.