Human Factors/Applied Cognition
Brent is a first-year HFAC Master's student. Through a circuitous path, he became a federal employee and spent his first 9 years within government as a buyer a.k.a. Contracting Officer. He procured professional services, construction services, and information technology across several agencies, including the U.S. Postal Service, U.S. Army, and the EPA. After this, he had the honor or working for three years at the U.S. Digital Service within the White House under the Obama and Trump administrations. While at the White House, he developed procurement strategies for agencies to contract for modern technology (agile sw development, cloud, HCD, etc.), managed a program to train 200+ federal buyers how to procure digital services, and led several procurement experiments. The procurement experiments included buys for products such as USDA's farmers.gov and a soon-to-be-released digital product for the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture's (NMAAHC) Slavery and Freedom exhibit.
Brent currently leads contract administration for software startup Rebellion Defense, a venture capital-backed SaaS unicorn focused on delivering artificial intelligence and machine learning products to the missions of defense and national security.
While at the U.S. Digital Service and Rebellion, Brent has come to see how designers use their superpowers to make digital products that delight and empower end users (citizens, warfighters). This inspired Brent to take what he learned from designers and apply some of those principles to the federal buying process. The results have been promising but he wants to take it to the next level with the help of GMU's Psychology department.
While at GMU, Brent desires to learn the superpower of human factors and applied cognition so he can inject it into federal procurement. His hypothesis is that leveraging design will smooth the procurement process - making the experience less terrible for government + industry and help remove procurement as a blocker to modern technology delivery in government.
B.S. Marketing, International Business, University of Maryland, College Park