GSA names permanent leaders of Federal Acquisition Service

The General Services Administration on Thursday removed the “acting” title from its top leaders of the Federal Acquisition Service.

Julie Dunne is now the permanent commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service and Tom Howder is officially the deputy commissioner.

Dunne has led FAS since October when Alan Thomas, the commissioner since June 2017, left.  Howder has been acting deputy commissioner since November 2018.

Julie Dunne has been named as the permanent commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service at GSA.

“Julie’s extensive background in federal acquisition policy and experience in the executive branch, private sector, and Congress provides a valuable foundation for her leadership role at GSA,” said Emily Murphy, GSA’s administrator, in a release. “I am excited to work with her as she implements her vision for continuing GSA’s work to modernize and streamline government.”

Dunne joined GSA in May after spending more than seven years as a committee staff member in the House and Senate focusing mostly on acquisition policy.

She also worked at the Department of Homeland Security in the early 2000s and worked as a procurement attorney for Wiley Rein.

“The Professional Services Council welcomes Julie’s appointment as the new FAS commissioner,” said Alan Chvotkin, PSC’s Executive Vice President and Counsel in a statement to Federal News Network. “With an extensive portfolio of responsibilities and on-going work, it is critical that FAS have a permanent commissioner. Julie’s extensive government experience will be of enormous value to FAS, to GSA, and to industry. We look forward to working with Commissioner Dunne on the implementation of ongoing initiatives this year.”

Howder has worked at GSA for more than 30 years, including most recently as the assistant commissioner of the Office of Assisted Acquisition Services.

During Howder’s tenure at GSA, he also held leadership positions including as the director of assisted acquisition operations and systems, director of governmentwide acquisition contracts, deputy director of supplier management, and several director-level positions in the network services program.

Tom Howder (left) has been named the permanent deputy commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service. He is talking to Federal News Network’s Tom Temin.

Among Dunne and Howder’s major initiatives in 2020 will be to complete the consolidation of the schedule contracts from 24 to 1, improve the transition to the beta.sam.gov portal for contract opportunities and to continue to improve the clouds security program known as the Federal Risk Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP).

Additionally, Dunne and Howder also must oversee the expected increase in activity under the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract. Agencies have a March 31 deadline to make awards or face limited extensions for existing contracts.

“The naming of Julie Dunne as commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service is welcome news for all committed to efficient procurement,” said Roger Waldron, the president of the Coalition of Government Procurement. “Her broad exposure to multiple sides of the acquisition universe will serve this community well as we seek innovation to meet customer mission requirements.  We look forward to working with Julie in her new position.”

Dunne inherits a much different FAS today than two-plus years ago when Thomas took over.

During his tenure as FAS commissioner, Thomas oversaw a major transformation of the organization. For instance, FAS went from a $100 million loss at the close of 2017 to ending 2019 in the black with “profit” of $70 million.

But more than just straight sales and revenue results, FAS’s employee engagement and customer satisfaction scores increased.

Since leaving FAS, Thomas is now an executive vice president of special projects at Trowbridge, an IT services provider with defense, intelligence and civilian agency clients.

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