Fall 2017 Projects

At the start of each five-week course, veterans are assigned to work together in small teams. One of the Black Diamond Charities instructors serves as their dedicated Project Sponsor. Together, teams identify a project for which to develop a project management plan. They collaborate during class time, and normally have a team call during the week to finish assignments on the topics they learn each Saturday. Each team developed, presented and submitted the following project deliverables: Charter, Stakeholder Register, RACI chart, Requirements document, Scope Statement, Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), project schedule, risk analysis, project budget and final presentation of their respective projects.



TEAM Storm Ducks

Team Members (from left): Don Kramer, Natasha Ashford, Quentin Smith, sponsor Ira Hendon MBA, PMP®, CSM®, Nekohl Mace, Dave Ullrich.

The Storm Ducks team proposed a service to stage and use Amphibious vehicles (DUCKS) equipped to transport evacuees to safety in conjunction with other government agencies during flood conditions. This service would work within the framework of State Emergency Relief Plans, the Federal Response Plan and Stafford Act (Public Law 93-288, as amended). The Storm Ducks team defined a program with four sub projects. The four sub-projects were:

  • Build the business case
  • Solicit funding
  • Pilot
  • National Rollout

The business case sub-project was the focus of the five-week class project. The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and components of the business case project consisted of:

  • Secure a suitable location to store, maintain and coordinate the staging of the equipment (a location was identified)
  • Prepare a resource staffing plan to support the planning and execution of the pilot sub-project
  • Identify, order and prepare the required equipment to fully execute the pilot sub-project
  • Define transportation and logistics requirements (including pilot launch Agreements)
  • Develop a budget for the Pilot and National Rollout

The Storm Ducks team identified value for the following groups of stakeholders: Railroads, Private Investors, Emergency Response Agencies, Evacuees, Federal, State and Local government agencies, Vehicle Operators, Educators and Media.

The team prepared two budgets (Pilot and National Rollout). The Pilot budget (Year 0) estimate was $5.0 Million USD. The National Rollout budget (Years 1 – 3) estimate was $9.0 Million USD. The combined total budget estimate was $14.0 Million USD.

The program had two rollout plans (Pilot and National Rollout). The pilot would consist of six DUCKS located in the continental U.S. SE geography and would support the Atlantic coastal areas. Upon a successful pilot, expansion to a National Rollout that would support the Gulf states and other regions of the country.

This project team also presented their final presentation at the November 2017 PMI Chicagoland Chapter Dinner meeting.

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Team business: mobile mess hall

Team Members (from left): Rasheed Muhammad, Alexandra Baran, Edward Armijo, Phil Willis, Jonathan Ulrich (with sponsor Judith Sol-Dyess)

Team Business' project would create a one-month pilot program to serve nutritious, hot meals to residents of Chicagoland's food desert communities. The pilot, which would take place during four Mondays, would gather feedback from community residents. Once proven successful the project team would seek to form a permanent program through funding from various community sponsors. Each Monday, during established operating hours, the Mobile Mess Hall would:

  • Serve well balanced, free meals free to residents
  • Take place in a food desert community in Chicago
  • Be open to the community from noon to 3:00PM
  • Serve cafeteria-style meals with protein, vegetables, grains, milk and water
  • Meals could be eaten there or taken in carry out containers (to have for dinner)
  • Meals for up to 250 people were planned, on a first-come, first-serve basis
  • Residents would complete surveys in order to help us gauge the success of the program

Each location would be ADA accessible and compliant with local food handling regulations, and the necessary permits would be secured from council members in advance. As part of the risk management plan, security would be provided through the use of police officers. After-hours cleanup and trash disposal was also provided as part of the project considerations. 

As part of this pilot, Team Business developed a risk assessment plan, a budget that included both volunteer and paid positions, the minimum need for food donations, as well as alternative meal options that would vary depending on the amount and types of donations. 



Team members (from left): Quentien Brewington, Kellye Jackson, Ariel Shivers-McGrew, Rob Zalabak, Tamara Jordan (with sponsor Terry LaCandia)

QR CODES (QRC) consulting firm was engaged by a dual-mission community outreach program located in Chicago, IL to create a marketing campaign and operations plan for implementing their rehabilitation residential housing program to provide displaced homeless veterans the tools they'll need to establish long-term housing and job placement after completing outreach program. This engagement was to be completed within 9 months for a budget of $650,000.

The firm would:

  • Establish an ongoing resident referral program through five (5) existing Veterans outreach programs (Ex: Wounded Warriors, Volunteers of America, Safe Haven, VA Medical). Screen, approve residents for participation.
  • Identifying and Selecting small business options which will best serve for community residents job skill training needs and future job placement potential while also adding to community service needs and economic development. Lease executed and moved in.
  • Create commercial occupancy incentive package (residential) Select six (6) Veteran owned small business to occupy the community’s six empty commercial real estate rental spaces and training requirements.
  • Determine financial needs towards staff support resources, secure funding and Small Business incentive programs.
  • Create a master training template to ensure each business can provide the residents on site a defined structure and scheduled On-the- job training opportunities.
  • Provide residents fully trained in job functions and job placement skills.