First Look

GSA shuffles senior leaders’ chairs in Federal Acquisition Service

GSA FAS Commissioner Sonny Hashmi outlined five personnel moves as part of his approach to improving customer experience.

The General Services Administration is shuffling their senior executives who lead offices in the Federal Acquisition Service.

In a memo obtained by Federal News Network, FAS Commissioner Sonny Hashmi outlined five personnel moves as part of his approach to improving customer experience.

“At FAS, we are fortunate to have the most talented and effective leadership team. These changes will align our leaders’ strengths with key priorities,” the memo to staff said. “These adjustments will allow FAS to take procurement innovation to the next level and improve the customer and supplier experience.”

Hashmi said the changes will be effective as of April 24.

Sources familiar with GSA say while senior executive service members are supposed to move and support any mission, so many changes at one time does create some nervousness.

“It impacts so many employees and their work and mission; as well as all the customers and industry partners,” the source, who requested anonymity because they didn’t get permission to speak to the press. “It is a signal that Sonny doesn’t feel his vision and priorities have been met over the last year — Is that a weakness of the SES leadership or of the political leadership, or both?”

Moving SESers not unusual

Moving SESers isn’t unusual for new leaders. Past GSA and other agency leaders have routinely moved SESers after 120 days.

Former FAS Commissioner Alan Thomas named a new deputy commissioner and moved around other senior leaders shortly after he hit his 120 day mark too.

“Every commissioner puts a stamp on the organization, and leadership moves like this are one of the most important ways to do it,” Thomas said in an email to Federal News Network.

Sources say what may be more surprising with these moves by Hashmi has been in his role since January 2021 and is making changes as FAS moves into the busy season, the third quarter of fiscal year.

“FAS is fortunate to have a talented and diverse leadership team. I am incredibly proud of what this organization has achieved since I returned to GSA nearly 15 months ago,” Hashmi said in an email to Federal News Network. “As you saw in our strategic plan released this week, we have some ambitious plans to serve the public, our partners and taxpayers even better. These leadership moves are an opportunity to align the best leadership talent to the key areas of innovation needed and ultimately drive better outcomes for the public.”

The leadership moves made by Hashmi include:

Erv Koehler is moving over to lead the office of general supplies and services at GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service.

Erv Koehler now leads the Office of General Supplies and Services moving over from the office of customer and stakeholder engagement. “With his vast experience in a variety of FAS roles, Erv will bring great energy and a fresh perspective to GSS where he’ll be responsible for providing acquisition, logistics, supply, and personal property disposition support to the federal government: Acquisition Management, Retail Operations, Supply Chain Management, and Personal Property Management, along with modernization of legacy systems managed by the portfolio,” Hashmi wrote.

Bill Toth, the director of the Office of Fleet Management, will succeed Koehler as the new assistant commissioner of the office of customer and stakeholder engagement. “Bill has great experience building teams and unique insight into private sector practices from his time leading Fleet. I’m excited for him to bring his talents to this new role, where he will be responsible for customer outreach, research and analysis, stakeholder relationship management, and national account strategy and management that deliver mission value to FAS portfolios, federal, state and local agency clients,” Hashmi wrote.

Charlotte Phelan and Crystal Philcox switch roles. Phelan will lead the Office of Enterprise Strategy Management, while Philcox moves over to head up the Office of Travel, Transportation and Logistics.

Hashmi said in her new role, Phelan will serve as the executive in charge of all FAS modernization efforts.

Charlotte Phelan will lead the Office of Enterprise Strategy Management at GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service.

“Charlotte’s experience solving complex problems and deep background in systems innovation at DoD benefit FAS enterprise initiatives including the federal marketplace initiative, with its multitude of systems innovations projects, FAS strategic business planning and improving customer experience, data analytics and governance,” he said.

Philcox, meanwhile, will oversee the strategic direction and oversight of TTL, which also is the governmentwide 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,” Hashmi said.

And Bob Noonan will move from leading the Office of General Supplies and Services to be the senior advisor for workplace programs and  will report to FAS Deputy Commissioner Tom Howder.

“In this role, Bob will lead and coordinate FAS’s efforts in support of the future of the workplace, an area of critical importance for GSA, in partnership with the applicable FAS category leaders and business lines,” Hashmi said. “This role will enable FAS to be at the forefront of developing solutions that are essential to federal agencies as they shift to a more remote/telework posture. This is an exciting new opportunity for FAS to collaborate more actively with Public Building Service on the workspace of the future.”

Fleet management to be big focus area

Generally speaking, experts said the moves were good ones.

Larry Allen, a long-time GSA observer and president of Allen Federal Business Partners, said Koehler is a great asset to FAS and has been successful everywhere he’s been. Allen said Toth also is strong leader with good experience, and has a good rapport with the industry people he’s worked with.

Thomas also highlighted specific moves by Hashmi.

“First, the General Supplies and Services portfolio is not well understood by those outside GSA but it drives significant value for customers,” he said. “With Erv Koehler heading up this team, I expect even greater collaboration with the acquisition center chiefs in key GSA regions and a more holistic approach that helps agency customers understand how and when to use the fledgling e-commerce portal, the well-established requisition channel, and GSA Advantage!”

Thomas added Philcox’s move to lead the travel, transportation and logistics portfolio, and specifically the fleet program, will be worth watching because of the administration’s sustainability goals.

“Fleet also happens to be a big contributor to FAS’s overall cost recovery, so changes in this program can cause financial ripples across the organization,” he said. “At a time of volatile fuel prices, constraints in the supply of vehicles, and an internal technology modernization effort to replace the mainframe system used to manage GSA’s fleet, Crystal Philcox and the new fleet director have a full plate of challenges.”

Sources say more changes could be on the way, including giving the Technology Transformation Service a larger role in managing the FAS modernization effort.

Hashmi said in the memo he will hold a FASwide town hall on April 6 where he will share more about the FAS vision and priorities.

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