Mark Walden, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
Hi, I’m Mark Walden and currently I am the Manager of Performance Evaluation Program Control for the FAA. So what does that mean to you, right? FAA has a lot of programs in regards to what they do to upgrade the Nation’s air traffic control infrastructure, and airways infrastructure. So, we have about 120+ programs in there, and a total capital budget of any given year, of about $2.5 billion. I’m responsible for the program controls and setting those in place across all those programs.
Challenges faced before EcoSys
Well, you know the FAA has a long history of, let’s say, less than successful programs. Back in 1986 to 1992/93, we spent about $3 billion and were unsuccessful. We had another situation post that where we started upgrading the air traffic controls system, and we had about 150% cost overrun. Between Congress and other outside interests, they were pushing towards the FAA to say you really need to get your house in order, and make sure you are able to perform and deliver on the programs that are important to the public. So, one of the things that we needed to do is really put in a stronger program control process in place for these huge system upgrades that are very vital and important to the nation.
Benefits of EcoSys
We were able to go ahead and shorten the lifecycle for our estimating; be able to manage or effectively control our programs moving forward. So, as we were doing the one program – which is a very high profile program – we were able to go ahead, once we rebaselined, use EcoSys EPC to go ahead and look at the cost coming in, control it better, and we delivered that program as well as three follow-on programs on time and on budget. Now we’re utilizing it for one of the largest upgrades that we’ve done – to finalize the air traffic control system upgrade across 112 of the busiest airports in the country – which will complete the remaining phase of that program. We’re looking at EcoSys EPC to help us deliver that on time and on budget which is quite a difference from where the FAA has been in the past.
The one thing that EcoSys and their consultants bring to the table is adaptability. They’re very adaptable and they’re willing to listen and learn from the customer. That goes hand in hand with the system and the software itself. The system is configurable and adaptable to your very needs. Their consultants are there the transfer the knowledge, not have you rely on them forever, and it’s that transfer of knowledge that helps make you successful. Not only the implementation, but then the ongoing use of the tool, is really what sets them apart.