March 2021 | Content by George Riebling, Deputy General Manager NAPMA

NAPMA’s Unsung COVID Heroes

More than one year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way the world does business and, naturally, NAPMA also felt its impact. Fortunately for the Agency, a combination of good timing and the tireless efforts of NAPMA’s Information Management (IM) Office enabled the Agency to minimize the effects of the pandemic on NAPMA’s mission. Most importantly, the Agency has been able to keep the Final Lifetime Extension Programme (FLEP) on schedule during a period when other businesses and governmental organizations around the globe have seen their activities suffer and project schedules slip.

NAPMA IM Team (Left to Right): Redion Baze, Michel Theunissen, Luc Knebel, Henry Hatfield, Andy Komen, Juan Hernandez, Ali Özen, Roberto Bodelon.   © 2021 - NAPMA

Part of NAPMA’s ability to avert a FLEP schedule slip can be attributed to old-fashioned good luck. While still in the early days of the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase, much of the work being done on the programme entailed the tedious review of technical documentation and the conduct of often long and boring meetings between the NAPMA team and its partners from the NAEW&C Force and industry. Fortunately, these activities can be conducted virtually, even if it makes the meetings a bit more difficult, especially when your industry partners live in a different time zone.

The bigger part of NAPMA’s success in keeping FLEP on track during the pandemic can be attributed to the herculean efforts of the NAPMA IM Office. When the pandemic hit, the IM Office increased the Agency’s secure remote access capability – known as the SRA laptops – from 30 to 90 workstations within six weeks enabling nearly all staff members to have remote access to the NAPMA network. In Mar 2020, when NAPMA began its COVID-19 lock-down, NAPMA leadership made a decision was to give all NAPMA personnel access to this capability so they could operate from home. A key part of the IM Office’s efforts involved applying for and obtaining security accreditation for the Agency’s new IT architecture. Without this key piece, the strategy would have failed.

While their NAPMA co-workers held business meetings in their pajamas, the IM Office became the most important members of NAPMA – the Agency’s true essential workers. As the world can see the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel with progressing vaccination efforts, the accomplishments of the NAPMA IM Office – the Agency’s unsung heroes – will not soon be forgotten by their colleagues and will, in fact, fundamentally change the way that the agency does business in the future.

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