Student Sound-Off – Contract Management (CM) – Antoinette Harris

Antoinette Harris Antoinette Harris started her career in government in 1990, doing everything from administrative support to navy housing management. She then moved to San Diego in 2009.

“I came to San Diego and looked for work since I was unable to transfer my job from one region to another. I went to Workforce Partnership, and they offered training to switch careers. I’ve always been interested in government contracting, but never decided to pursue it as a career. So, I did research and decided to learn contract management,” she says.

Learning contract management in a classroom setting establishes a foundation and fosters a team effort. Antoinette adds, “People who work in contract management deal with a diverse range of customers and must perform well with other company employees to get the best contracts finalized. Working on projects with other students is one of the many benefits of taking the Contract Management certificate program.”

And, to accommodate full-time professionals and busy individuals, contract management courses are offered at night, one day a week for six weeks. This is advantageous to students because as Antoinette puts it, “they are informative yet very fast. Going from each course having a lot of the same people in class and starting a new avenue is great. Not only do these students build close friendships with one another, they also learn, succeed, and gain valuable networking opportunities from each other.”

There are many courses in the program, and Antoinette’s opinion on the classes, “I liked the courses. Students get an idea of how each part of contract management works and the many different positions of a contract. Each course was very informative. The courses helped me see contract management as a team effort. The courses were organized and really encouraged me to put in my full effort.”

And, her favorite course, “I believe my favorite class was the Negotiating Techniques class because the instructor who is a lawyer, Paul Van Loon, was easy going. He made it fun, it wasn’t boring or redundant and he didn’t make you feel overwhelmed,” she says.

In the business world, contract management is vital in creating strong performance, and  Antoinette sums it up, “Because every day you are involving yourself in the business world. It never hurts to learn. It’s just very good to stay in the mainstream of the business world, because in management and contract management, the government is tightening up. Contracts are always part of the equation and they need to be managed.”