Melissa Starinsky is Chancellor of the VA Acquisition Academy (VAAA), as a member of the Senior Executive Service, where she oversees the training of VA’s acquisition workforce. As Chancellor, Ms. Starinsky oversees five schools, including Acquisition Internship, Program Management, Contracting Professional, Facilities Management, and Supply Chain Management Schools. The VAAA curriculum ensures that VA has the most qualified program managers, contracting officers, supply chain managers, and facility managers. The curriculum includes competency assessments, classroom and online learning, coaching and mentoring, on-the-job qualification development, assignment-specific courses, training toward federal certifications, and continuing education. Ms. Starinsky has more than 23 years experience in the acquisition profession, in both the public and private sector, having served in senior acquisition and programmatic leadership roles.
Prior to her position with VA, Ms Starinsky served as a member of the Senior Executive Service as the Deputy Director of the Office of Acquisition and Grants Management (OAGM) for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), where she was responsible for overseeing the execution of more than $8 billion annually in discretionary contract, grant, and interagency spend. While at CMS, she was instrumental in helping the agency strengthen its internal controls around the acquisition function, initiate an OAGM strategic plan, streamline policies and processes that led to many operating improvements and efficiencies, and the launch of an acquisition intern “boot camp.”
Ms. Starinsky began her career as an intern in 1989 with the Department of Navy and has held various acquisition and programmatic leadership positions with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the private sector.
Her program management experience includes serving in the role of Staff College Director for the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, where she developed and implemented a competency based organizational development program that optimized operational efficiency, effectiveness, and agency performance. In the private sector, Ms. Starinsky consulted with the federal government on many efforts related to enhancing the capacity and capability of the acquisition workforce. Ms. Starinsky also previously served as the first Vice-Chancellor of the VAAA’s Acquisition Internship School, a program aimed at accelerating the learning curve of acquisition interns joining the VA.
As an operational contracting officer, Ms. Starinsky had a protest-free record and awarded some of the highest dollar value, most complex, and politically sensitive contracts in the history of the agencies she served, all ahead of or on schedule.
Ms. Starinsky holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of Maryland and is FAC-C Level III certified. She is also a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute and serves on the Executive Advisory Council of the National Contract Management Association.