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Karen McNeal
Karen McNeal
Financial Task Lead

"What excites me about my work is that no two days are the same and no day is what you expect it to be when you arrive in the morning."

What type of work do you do at Paragon?
I am the Financial Task Lead for the USTRANSCOM Program Executive Office (PEO-T) support contract. My team provides budget and analysis support to 14+ programs. I personally support six programs which include Defense Personal Property System (DPS) and TRANSCOM Regulating and Command & Control Evacuation System (TRAC2ES).

What excites you about your work?
What excites me about my work is that no two days are the same and no day is what you expect it to be when you arrive in the morning. You come in with your plans of what you will accomplish that day and your inbox determines what will take priority.

What makes Paragon a great place to work?
Paragon is a great place to work because from the very first day I have always felt comfortable and welcomed – beginning with in-processing. Everyone has always been friendly and willing to answer questions or provide direction rather it involves HR (Paragon goes the extra mile to make sure you understand your benefits) or is work related.

What differentiates Paragon from other DoD contractors? (e.g. Culture? Size? Team dynamic?)
I have worked for another DoD contractor and interact with other DoD contractors daily, but what differentiates Paragon from those contractors is the culture and team dynamic. The ability to interact with the CEO and President of Paragon on a daily basis, as well as, your peers at company events outside of the office setting makes for a friendly family atmosphere and a great culture and team dynamic in the workplace.

What special projects have you worked on? What was your role? What was the most exciting task that you were assigned?
As the Financial Analyst Task Lead, quarterly In-Process Reviews and year-end close-out are exciting tasks. Making sure my team is organized and has the necessary information readily available to perform these fast paced, highly stressful tasks is always a rush for me. Additional special projects assigned, like having one of my team assigned to determine funds available to close-out a contract requires extra research. Being able to provide the direction and history while teaching on an assignment is fulfilling.

What traditions and/or rituals do you use to "shake up" the workday? (i.e. share jokes, music, pranks, read a motivational quote, etc.)
My financial team of A-type personalities is quick to share jokes (good and bad), break out in song, and provide unsolicited advice for your personal problems.

What do you like best about living and working in the St. Louis metro area?
AWhat I like best about living and working in the St. Louis metro area is that the highway system makes it easy to get anywhere in a relatively short period of time. I enjoy going to concerts, like the Fox Theatre and Powell Symphony Hall. If you like sports, you have the St. Louis Cardinals and the Rams. Forest Park has many interesting attractions, the Art Museum, Boat House, Science Center, Jewel Box, and there is always the Missouri Botanical Gardens if you really enjoy flowers.

Supporting the DoD is unique from the commercial world. What draws you to support the DoD and makes you feel connected to the war fighter? SAFB?
I have worked in the automobile and computer industries, but I have never felt as connected in my job as I have since I began supporting the DoD war fighter efforts at SAFB. When you work on programs that transport the military and their supplies, as well as, return wounded warriors, this is when you know that what you do every day makes a difference.

Please share a piece of advice to incoming/new team members?
To incoming and new team members I would say that this is a family atmosphere, don't be shy, and jump in and get your feet wet.

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