GSA reshuffles Federal Acquisition Service top executive seats
The General Services Administration is reshuffling its top executives who run the offices of the Federal Acquisition Service.
In a memo obtained by Federal News Network, FAS Commissioner Sonny Hashmi described five staff moves as part of his approach to improving the customer experience.
“At FAS, we are fortunate to have the most talented and efficient management team. These changes will align the strengths of our leaders with key priorities,” the memo to staff reads. “These adjustments will allow FAS to take sourcing innovation to the next level and improve the customer and supplier experience.”
Hashmi said the changes will come into effect on April 24.
Sources familiar with the GSA say that while senior service members are expected to move around and support any mission, so many changes at the same time create some nervousness.
“It impacts so many employees, their work and their mission; as well as all customers and industry partners,” the source, who requested anonymity because they were not granted permission to speak to the press. “It’s a signal that Sonny doesn’t feel his vision and priorities have been met over the past year. Is it a weakness in SES leadership or political leadership, or both ?”
Moving SESers is not unusual
Moving SESers is not unusual for new leaders. Former leaders of the GSA and other agencies routinely moved SESers after 120 days.
Former FAS commissioner Alan Thomas appointed a new deputy commissioner and moved on other top executives shortly after also hitting his 120-day mark.
“Every commissioner puts a stamp on the organization, and leadership moves like this are one of the most important ways to do that,” Thomas said in an email to Federal News Network.
Sources say what may be more surprising with these moves Hashmi has been in his role since January 2021 and making changes as FAS enters the peak season, the third quarter of the fiscal year.
Leadership moves performed by Hashmi include:
Erv Koehler now leads the Office of General Supplies and Services, leaving the Office of Customer and Stakeholder Engagement. “With his extensive experience in a variety of FAS roles, Erv will bring great energy and a fresh perspective to GSS where he will be responsible for providing support for the acquisition, logistics, supply and disposal of Personal Assets in the Federal Government: Acquisitions Management, Retail Operations, Supply Chain Management, and Personal Assets Management, as well as the modernization of legacy systems managed by the Portfolio,” Hashmi wrote.
Bill Toth, director of the Office of Fleet Management, will succeed Koehler as the new deputy commissioner of the office of customer and stakeholder engagement. “Bill has a wealth of experience building teams and a unique insight into private sector practices since leading Fleet. I am delighted that he will bring his talents to this new role, where he will be responsible for outreach of clients, research and analysis, stakeholder relationship management, and national accounts strategy and management that bring mission value to FAS, Federal, State and local agency client portfolios “Hashmi wrote.
Charlotte Phelan and Crystal Philcox switch roles. Phelan will lead the Office of Corporate Strategy Management, while Philcox will lead the Office of Travel, Transportation and Logistics.
Hashmi said that in his new role, Phelan will serve as the executive responsible for all FAS modernization efforts.
“Charlotte’s background in solving complex problems and her deep experience in systems innovation at DoD benefits FAS enterprise initiatives, including the Federal Marketplace Initiative, with its multitude of project innovations from systems, strategic FAS business planning and customer experience improvement, data analytics and governance,” he said.
Philcox, meanwhile, will oversee the strategic direction and oversight of TTL, which is also the government-wide category manager for the non-tactical motor vehicle and travel categories.
“Crystal’s talents for innovative thinking and consensus building will be a great addition to TTL,” said Hashmi.
And Bob Noonan will transition from director of the Office of General Supplies and Services to senior adviser for workplace programs and report directly to Hashmi.
“In this role, Bob will lead and coordinate FAS’s efforts to support the future of the workplace, an area of critical importance to GSA, in partnership with FAS category leaders and relevant industries” , Hashmi said. “This role will allow FAS to be at the forefront of developing solutions that are critical to federal agencies as they transition to a more remote/telecommuting posture. This is an exciting new opportunity for FAS to collaborate more actively with Public Building Service on the workplace of the future.
Fleet management will be a big focus area
Generally speaking, the experts said the moves were good.
Larry Allen, longtime GSA watcher and president of Allen Federal Business Partners, said Koehler is a major asset to FAS and has been successful wherever he has been. Allen said Toth is also a strong leader with a good track record and has good relationships with people in the industry he has worked with.
Thomas also pointed out Hashmi’s specific moves.
“First, the general supplies and services portfolio is not well understood by those outside of GSA, but it generates significant value for customers,” he said. “With Erv Koehler leading this team, I expect even closer collaboration with acquisition center leaders in key GSA regions and a more holistic approach that helps agency clients understand how and when to use the all-new e-commerce portal, the well-established requisition, and GSA Advantage!”
Thomas added that Philcox’s decision to lead the travel, transportation and logistics portfolio, and in particular the fleet program, would be worth watching because of the administration’s sustainability goals.
“Fleet also happens to be a significant contributor to FAS’s overall cost recovery, so changes to this program can cause financial ripples throughout the organization,” he said. “At a time of volatile fuel prices, constraints in vehicle supply and an effort to modernize internal technology to replace the central system used to manage the GSA fleet, Crystal Philcox and the new director of fleet have many challenges ahead.”
Sources say more changes could be on the way, including giving the technology transformation department a bigger role in managing the FAS modernization effort.
Hashmi said in the memo that he will be hosting a FAS-wide town hall meeting on April 6 where he will share more about the FAS vision and priorities.