Get to know: GSA Region 9 — the Pacific Rim

This story is part of Federal News Network’s ongoing series: GSA @ 70: Mission evolved

General Services Administration Region 9, the agency’s farthest west region, covers the Pacific Rim states of Hawaii, California, Arizona and Nevada. The region’s more than 900 employees also serve areas such as the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, while the region covers one of the largest populations of military personnel.

What you may not know about the region

GSA Region 9 Administrator Tom Scott

The Pacific Rim Region is home to the Federal Acquisition Service’s Personal Property Management Program Center of Expertise for the worldwide disposition of federal aviation assets. This office has sold more than 100 federal excess civilian and military agency aircraft per year for the past five consecutive years, receiving $43 million in aircraft sales revenue per year.

The Pacific Rim Region also managed Alcatraz Island until 1972 when Congress established the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, making the island part of the National Park Service.

The 2008 Oscar-winning film Milk features scenes filmed inside GSA’s Pacific Rim Regional headquarters building. Viewers may recognize San Francisco’s City Hall from the outside, but the interior scenes were actually shot a couple blocks away at the then-vacant federal building at 50 United Nations Plaza, which now houses Pacific Rim Regional offices.

Regional Administrator Tom Scott: How has the region changed over its history?

“The Pacific Rim Region has grown and evolved with the agency. We have physically moved from the Phillip Burton Federal Federal Building to lease and back to federally owned offices in San Francisco before settling into the historic federal building at Civic Center.”

Who is the longest serving GSA employee in the region and what do they do?

Robert Miller, a building manager for the GSA Public Buildings Service

In June, Robert Miller, a building manager for the GSA Public Buildings Service, celebrated 50 years of federal service — 48 of which have been with GSA. In 1971, after returning from combat in Vietnam, Miller began at GSA as a janitor at the federal courthouse at 312 N. Spring St. in downtown Los Angeles. His shift lasted from 5 p.m. until 1:30 a.m.

As Miller’s experience and education increased, so did his responsibilities at GSA. Since 2002, he’s been the building manager at the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, just two blocks from the first building he used to clean for $2.99 per hour.

Then and now

The exterior of GSA Region 9’s headquarters at 50 United Nations Plaza, in San Francisco, may not appear much different since its 1936 construction. But inside the building, work spaces have certainly evolved in the last 70 years.

Region 9 includes a portion of the U.S.-Mexico border from San Diego, California, to the Arizona-New Mexico state line. The top image shows vehicles crossing the border at the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry in the 1970s, and below is the crossing as seen today.

San Ysidro LPOE is the busiest land border crossing in the Western Hemisphere and for the last 10 years, the port has been undergoing a major expansion project, according to GSA. Later this year, the modernization and expansion project is expected to be completed. The project will restore a historic 1930s customs house and replace the old 1970s infrastructure with new and expanded facilities for vehicles and pedestrians.

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