Out & About: DRTers Reunite In Person

Here’s the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) team members (edited to include everyone). In person, they enjoyed one another’s company at D.C.’s The Wharf. Clockwise starting far left: Caprelle Curry, Ashley Westbrook, Tyler Nicklyn, Cherise Wilson, Justin Campbell, and Jack Wehr.
CFSAN gathers at Clyde’s in Maryland with (left to right, clockwise) Katie Sarmiento, Adriana Tucker, Jack Collins, Carolyn Richelmi, Michael Shekhter, Ruben Torrico, Leon Ngyuen, and Alina Abaimova.
The FDA’s Enterprise Application Branch team started working together in December 2020, but didn’t meet face to face till June. Left to right are Andrey Ivanov, Sri Srinivasan, Jackie Hartmann, and Tori Guy.

DRT Introduces Value Management Services

In its early years, DRT’s core business was traditional PMO. But increasingly at the enterprise level, clients are sharing that this approach is not producing their desired outcomes. In fact, customers now struggle to define what a “successful outcome” looks like.

“The conventional approach has failed complex organizations operating in different departments, cities, and cultures,” says Kevin Augustine, DRT’s Vice President of Corporate Operations. “One size does not fit all.” For this reason, DRT has developed a new offering, Value Management Services (VMS).

What is the Value Management Services Offering?

It has three components:


Value Thinking – Cultivate strategic thought by asking “What is driving you: a problem, a regulation, a strategic plan, or a combination?” Follow up with: ‘If we solved this problem, what would a successful outcome look like?” Commit the organization to the value management approach.

Value Culture – Engage with the entire organization, helping all appreciate and embrace the approach, building value into their thinking.

Value Realization – Implement services to produce value, executing the “what” and “how” defined in the forementioned Thinking within the Culture.

DRT is currently meeting with customers and prospects, piloting this new approach. These discussions enable DRT to:

  • Change customers’ perceptions of the company
  • Identify outcomes within a short discussion, for which DRT can introduce a menu of services to produce them
  • Reframe project management as one aspect of the menu, along with Agile concepts and implementation and a failing fast/prototyping mentality, among others.

Importantly for DRT, analysis revealed this value focus is an emerging market in the federal space. “Agencies will continue to have to do more with less, so a value emphasis will inevitably lead to wins,” Augustine says.

CEO Message

Dear DRTers,

As you read about the new Value Management Services offering, be thinking about the steps we took as a team to develop this new solution.

First, we noticed as we scanned new procurements that the word “value” kept coming up. Another refrain cropped up about the diminished  effectiveness of PMO. And with the pilot projects we did with the IRS (see below) came new insights about designing for the customer and delivering even more value.

Listening. Identifying patterns. Thinking hard. Focusing on customer experience. This is how we will forge new DRT solutions that will grow our business and expand opportunities for all DRTers.

We look forward to all the ways you will apply these trademark DRT skills this fall!

DRTer Chris Zeiders is “rejuvenated and grateful” after his five-year anniversary trip. In July, Zeiders spent two weeks with his family on Florida’s Marco Island. They rented a house with a pool on an inlet with gorgeous sunsets. They went to the beach, played miniature golf, and spotted lots of wildlife: dolphins, alligators, manatees, burrowing owls, and many birds.


DRT Triumphs at IRS with FairPrice+

In August, DRT emerged as the final winner in a three-phase contract awarded by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The goal? To bring innovation and emerging technologies to bear on methods employed by government acquisition professionals.

Here’s how the competition unfolded:

Phase 1 | 47 bidders > 4 awardees: In October 2020, DRT was selected among four vendors out of 47 who originally bid. All were given the same challenge: “Show us your ideas for a solution and we’ll select two of you to prototype and focus group test it.”

Phase 2 | 4 awardees > 2 awardees: In February 2021, DRT presented our Labor Wage Data Mashing solution called “FairPrice+” and were awarded Phase 2. Then came a gauntlet of use cases, presentations, agency collaborations, reviews by acquisition SMEs, and more—ultimately to demonstrate how our idea evolved and improved as well as how we conceived its future.

Phase 3 | 2 awardees > 1 awardee: We emerged from the gauntlet in July as the IRS’ sole choice to develop our solution! DRT is now introducing FairPrice+ to agencies throughout the government.

FairPrice+ improves the quality of acquisition processes and reduces the acquisition lead time for government agencies, enabling agencies to be better stewards of taxpayer money. DRT has mashed 98 million rows of labor wage data, built fit-for-purpose tools to create cost estimates, invented new ways to build up labor rates, and innovated how to automate insights when evaluating vendors’ submitted bids.

It was developed as an outgrowth of the Idea Lab, incorporating subject matter expertise from DRTer Theresa Wells and delivery/proposal acumen from the Civilian business unit.

Integral to the win and to making DRT a stand-out was an intense focus on the end user with the execution of a Human Centered Design approach. “We started by interviewing more than a dozen contracting officers and federal government procurement professionals, listening to their challenges. We then designed a solution, tracing back to what we heard. We also focused, as Apple does, on building a world-class user experience backed by modern, cloud native, open source technology,” says Chris Zeiders, Vice President of Technology and the Idea Lab Director.

This project phase continues through February 2022, with DRT subsequently retaining the intellectual property rights to the tool. “We will find agencies with whom to collaborate on progressing the pilot to a fully operational product,” Zeiders shares.

Does your customer have a procurement department? Then they need to see FairPrice+! Contact Chris Zeiders and get on his calendar before he’s totally booked!

Here’s a sneak peak of FairPrice+. The solution mashes, combines, and links disparate data sets together to create a one-stop shop for  decision-making. Human Centered Design enabled DRT to create visually engaging user interfaces.
Mashed data is transformed into plain language insights to enable users to make fast, data-supported decisions. An enjoyable and powerful user experience!

Employee Spotlight: Shanza Bukhari

Holiday party photo
Shanza Bukhari (center) was nervous before attending her first DRT holiday party in 2017. “I work in a small team and worried about not knowing a lot of DRTers. But it was incredible: I was so happy that I went and met so many great people.” With her are (left) Rangena Hotaki and Madeleine Smith.
Pumpkin decor
Her jack-o-lantern won “most adorable” in DRT’s contest last year. And this autumn fan already has her office decorated, starting in August.

When she graduated from college, D.C.-based Senior Associate Shanza Bukhari didn’t even know government consulting “was a thing.” Nearly five years later, she’s contributed to a big increase in DRT’s statement of work at the Department of Justice (DOJ). Here’s how.

Q. So, you started in January 2017, supporting communications for DOJ’s Community Oriented Policing Services. This was when a change in administration occurred, right?

A. Yes, with a big change in leadership, there can be a bit of a slowdown—and I found there wasn’t a lot of work to do other than maintaining the client’s SharePoint site. So, I would often offer, “Could I update these documents? When was the last time this was edited? Could I make some suggestions?” The answer was always “Of course!”

Q. And it’s been that way ever since?

A. The client has been very open, welcoming improvements. I was excited, just out of college in my first full-time job. Yet, five years later, it feels like only six months have gone by because I am always busy and engaged. The rewards you get for putting yourself out there are enormous.

Q. What would you say is your biggest accomplishment at the DOJ?

A. There have been lots of small wins but during the pandemic, our team migrated the internal site to Office 365. It was a long process, complicated by frequent turnover in a consultant group with whom we work. The project—on the most used SharePoint site at the DOJ—came to a halt many times. We went live this spring and the feedback has been amazing.

Q. Back to school is often a “reset” time. Are you changing anything in your routine?

A. Yes! I never really outgrew the back-to-school season, it’s embedded in me. My sleep schedule has gotten way out of whack during the pandemic: I’m prone to waking up in the middle of the night and starting to work. So, I need to reset sleep—with a “wind down” reading-before-bed routine and getting up at the same time every day, even weekends.

Q. Lastly, what’s your WHY? What drives you to do what you do?

A. My family. They’ve always encouraged me and motivated me to achieve my goals. I can’t let them down!

Sync Your Calendar


All Month: Donate to DRT Cares’ Perfect Match: Chenango SPCA which cares for lost and homeless pets. Sponsored by Leslie Briggs. Email DRT Cares: Perfect Match to get your donation matched.

Saturday, September 18:  DRT Sponsors the Youth Leadership Foundation 5k Run-Walk

Friday, September 24: New Employee Orientation (Tentative)


All Month: Donate to DRT’s Perfect Match: The D.C. & Prince George’s Salvation Army’s Angel Tree, bringing new toys and clothing to children in the National Capital area. Email DRT Cares: Perfect Match to get your donation matched.

Friday, October 29: New Employee Orientation (Tentative)