October 2023 | Issue #21

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Happy spooky season! Please grab your Halloween virtual background here!

As we enter October and the start of the fourth quarter, we are focused on a strong close to 2023 and readying for a stellar 2024 (and beyond!). This process involves a continued investment in CONSTANT Strategy, our three-year strategic plan, and looking at what we will focus on in 2024. It means that we are setting goals for our company, identifying how and where we want to go, and of course, dreaming big!

 

We will seek to build on the many successes that have decorated this year: being reengaged to support FEMA FQS; landing new work with USGS; being selected for multiple State level efforts; serving as a trusted, ‘go-to’ resource for local clients; and always maintaining a laser focus on meeting the needs of our clients. As we plan for the future, we will look to grow across our target markets while deepening capability within our organization. 

 

I continue to be impressed by the caliber of professionals that comprise our company. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to our mission of making the world a safer place.

 

Michelle Constant

Founder + CEO 

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Loretta Pascuzzo, Sr. Accounting Manager

 

Loretta Pascuzzo joined our team on September 25th and we’re so excited to welcome her! She is an accounting professional with eight years of experience which includes several years working for a federal contractor. Some of Loretta’s notable accomplishments include recovering $1.6 million from a cost-plus contract true up and successfully implementing a new ERP (Unanet) and Payroll system (isolved). Do these systems sound familiar? They should, because they are exactly what we use today!

 

Loretta graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Purdue Global in January 2021. She lives near Pittsburgh, PA with her husband, two sons, dog, cat, and two turtles. In her free time, she likes to cook, sew, play piano, and read.

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CONSTANT's October Birthdays

Who wants a pumpkin spice birthday treat!?

 

Join us as we celebrate these team member birthdays this month:

  • Tobias Watson – October 3
  • Maggie Peters – October 17
  • Lee Williams-Nagy – October 18
  • Shayne Sullivan – October 24

Happy Birthday to Tobias, Maggie, Lee, and Shayne!

Congratulations!

Let’s raise our pumpkin spice lattes and make a toast to these CONSTANT difference makers. Join us as we celebrate these team member work anniversaries this month: 

 

  • Sloan Grissom – 5 years (October 8)
  • Lona Bryan – 1 year (October 3)
  • Mona Bontty – 1 year (October 3)
  • Lee Williams-Nagy – 1 year (October 3)
  • Shelia Sescoe – 1 year (October 13)
  • Kim Hayward Buys – 1 year (October 17)

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to our mission!

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Heading into Fall and Seasonal Updates

Business Development by Donna Chaney, Federal Business Development Director

With the start of the fall season (and cooler weather, sweaters and scarves, football, the end of daylight savings time, and pumpkin everything!), we have some reminders and requests. Many of these are ongoing activities, but it is good to revisit them as we change seasons.

 

  • Master resumes: This is a great time to review and update your master resume, especially if you have not made any changes in awhile or if you have started working on new projects. Master resumes can be found here, along with additional resources, including a master resume template, heading ideas, and a training video.
  • Graphic design request process: We have had a great response to our new Graphic Designer and the request process. Please continue to use the Graphic Design Hub in SharePoint to request assistance and find additional resources. Updates to the stock photo library are coming soon!
  • CONSTANT social media and website: Our latest blog post two weeks ago was an interview with the AFN Coordinator for the CO Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (we highly recommend it, if you have not read it yet). We are always interested in suggestions for topics for blog posts, social media posts, or our monthly Resilience Report. Let Nicole know if you are interested in contributing to a blog or have any suggestions for any of these.
  • Upcoming events and opportunities: We post all BD conferences and opportunities for speaking and publication submissions on the calendar on the Staff Business Development Resources SharePoint site. Reach out to Nicole for more information on any of these or to coordinate a speaking/publication submission. 
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"What's This!? What's This!? Announcing CONSTANT's Project Management Toolkit

Operations by Jayson Kratoville, Director of Operations

It’s alive! After an increased focus this year on developing processes, the Operations Team is rolling out a new one-stop-shop for all things project management. The Project Management Toolkit includes a project roadmap, forum for discussion, and repository of processes, tips, tools, and best practices. It also provides a glimpse into the next processes we are focused on developing.

 

Some things to remember as we continue to build more structure and consistency:

 

  • Any project management standard is a skeleton: The resources in the toolkit will be a starting point for our approach to the project, and in many cases, will set a minimum standard. PMs will need to adapt to the varied needs of our projects, clients, and team members. When we deviate from the norm, communication is key – especially highlighting the “why” behind the shift.
  • Best practices are our happy haunts: At our current stage of organizational development, we’re solidifying many of our best practices into written processes (you might call it their corporeal form). If something is not written down, it does not mean it doesn’t exist in spirit – i.e., something we routinely do in practice. Flexibility is important in both filling the gaps with these best practices and adapting to new best practices to evolve processes over time.
  • We all need to feed process development…just not after midnight: The discussion thread within the PM toolkit will be an important forum for discussion on how we apply our project management approach to different situations. It will also be a cauldron for new best practices that may evolve into future process changes.

More to come. In the meantime, have a spooky, colorful, and pumpkin-spice-filled October! My favorite Halloween candy is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – at least a 2:1 exchange rate over any other candy when trading with siblings.

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People and Culture by Maggie Peters, Director of People and Culture, and Lauren Day, People and Culture Business Partner

Happy Fall Y'all from your Spooktastic P&C Team

Upcoming Holiday: Indigenous Peoples Day (Monday, October 9). Remember, you can swap this holiday for another day within this calendar year. Just request this swap from your Manager and make a note on both days of your timesheet.

 

Professional Development: 

  • October 2nd (rescheduled): “Counterintelligence (CI) Awareness” hosted by the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA). This is an optional course and will follow our monthly All Staff Meeting.
  • If there’s a paid course or training that you are interested in attending, don’t forget to submit a Professional Development Request to your Manager as soon as possible.
  • Are you interested in creating a course for CONSTANT University? We’d love to share your knowledge with the Team. Just complete the quick and easy CU Course Creator Template and we’ll take care of scheduling and advertising the course.

Benefits: If you are enrolled in either or both of our BASIC Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), now is the time to start tracking your unspent funds for this plan year that runs through January 31, 2024.

  • Healthcare FSA: As of January 31, 2024, any unused funds up to $610 can be carried over to the next plan year.
  • Dependent Care FSA: As of January 31, 2024, any unused funds can not be carried over to the next plan year. However, there is a 30-day “grace” period starting February 1, 2024, during which you can use any remaining funds before they expire.

Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

EDI by Co-Leads Lona Bryan and Maggie Peters

Thank you to everyone who participated in our August meeting. Those slides are now available on the EDI Page on SharePoint.

 

Next MeetingOctober 18th – We will begin to discuss 2024 goals and holiday schedule.

 

EDI Article: National Dyslexia Month [James Meeks]

 

Professional Development: New FEMA Courses Available – check out the EDI Path in isolved CONSTANT University.

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Security, Security, Security!

Information Technology By Morgan Forrest, IT Manager

Just like football season is about making sure you make the routine plays routinely, we need to focus on some easy ways to keep the hackers out.

 

  • If you are out in public, keep an eye on your screen. People sometimes take pictures of screens to steal data or log-in information. This is also important for mobile devices.
  • Avoid guest networks. These can be in coffee shops, stores, or other populated areas where free Wi-Fi is offered. 
  • Always make sure to let the Windows antivirus update. On our systems, they are set to do this automatically.

When in doubt? Reach out. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Please submit a ticket to helpdesk@constantassociates.com.

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Coloring lowers stress and anxiety and calms you. This month’s brain game is meant to make you feel calm and festive!

 

Please send a photo to Brea of your colored in (digitally or with any medium) sheet by October 30th and she will post them all anonymously on Teams for the wider team to vote on October 31st.

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Our mission is to make the world a safer place.

It’s that simple, and that’s why we are here. We have a strategic plan for the next three years, called CONSTANT Strategy, which outlines what our biggest priorities are:

 

  • Take care of our people
  • Forward our mission
  • Respond to our clients’ most pressing needs
  • Expand strategically across markets
  • Build infrastructure for the future

To help us execute on our mission, we have developed the CONSTANT Credo and our aligned core values (see the graphic below). We live by these.

CONSTANT Credo

We appreciate all of your hard work as we continue to grow. We hope you enjoyed reading this issue of CONSTANT Connections! We are open to any ideas, suggestions, or feedback on CONSTANT Connections. Please submit your ideas to Brea Dees.