It was Kim D. Denver's 45th birthday. He was on his ninth day at his new job in Washington, D.C. and delivering his first testimony before Congress.
"If you ever thought about cramming for a test or studying for a final, this was [like] that to some exponential power," he said.
Denver, who was appointed a year ago as deputy assistant secretary of the Army for procurement, has now testified twice before Congress about contract oversight in Afghanistan.
In his role, he manages the Army's procurement mission, which last year included nearly 470,000 contracts and awards valued at more than $125 billion, or about 23 percent of total federal spending. He directs the evaluation, measurement and improvement of more than 270 Army contracting offices worldwide.
He has overseen contracts for major weapons systems, base logistics support, construction and wartime operational contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Testifying before Congress is an honor," he said. "It's a humbling experience. It's something that I would have never thought I'd be doing."
Denver grew up on the Southeast side of San Antonio. After graduating from Highlands High School, he enrolled at UTSA. He worked at two local banks while attending school, and thought his future career would be in business or law.
"I can remember at the earliest age, I clearly wanted to be in leadership in some capacity," he said. "I treated every day like I was building my résumé. Whether it was in school or in my job or profession, I wanted to make sure I was ready whenever the opportunity came."
Opportunity arrived in the form of an internship with the Army right after Denver graduated from UTSA with a B.A. in business administration in 1988. The internship led to a career in contracting in Arkansas and Florida, and then, in 2008, to a job with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Two years later, he was appointed to his current position.
"It certainly is a challenging position, but I would tell you that it has been an honor knowing that I would be able to make an impact across the Army and also on behalf of our taxpayers, too," he said.
"You can serve in many careers and never be able to have the opportunity to serve in this capacity. So that's why I say it's certainly an honor."