First Look

GSA’s Hashmi leaving at end of the month

Sonny Hashmi, the commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service at the General Services Administration, is heading back to industry in 2024.

Sonny Hashmi, the commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service at the General Services Administration, is leaving after three years.

Hashmi’s last day at GSA will be Dec. 29.

“This decision was not made lightly, but after serious discussions with my family and friends, the timing is right,” Hashmi wrote in an email to staff obtained by Federal News Network. “There’s never a perfect time for a commissioner to depart. But as we wrap up an incredible fiscal 2023 — to name a few highlights: exceeding $100B in business volume at historically high level of acquisition quality, high employee satisfaction, significant progress made through successful implementation of F4, significant progress on supporting small businesses, scaling and improving our systems and processes and continued momentum on the next generation of GWAC and MAC solutions — this is probably the best time for such a transition to occur smoothly. Our progress over the last year gives me confidence that FAS’ future success is in good hands. As part of that, Administrator [Robin] Carnahan tasked us to ‘fix the damn websites’ and we have the foundation in place to get that done, too.”

FAS Deputy Commissioner Tom Howder will serve as acting commissioner until a new one is named.

Sonny Hashmi (left), the commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service at GSA, speaks with Federal News Network Executive Editor Jason Miller during a recent interview.

“Sonny’s thoughtful and intentional leadership has helped GSA make history. This past year alone, FAS helped federal agencies buy more than $100 billion in mission-enabling products and services, an increase of 36% over the last three years. Importantly, more than one-third of that went to small businesses, and nearly half of GSA’s own investment dollars were awarded to small businesses. FAS also saved taxpayers $6 billion through better competition and pricing,” said GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan in a release. “Sonny has driven GSA to make doing business with the federal government easier for both government and industry — especially small businesses — and we wish him all the best in the future.”

Hashmi will be heading back to the private sector, but it’s unclear where he will land.

During his time as FAS Commissioner, Hashmi focused on his three “north stars:”

  • Make it dead easy to do business with FAS
  • Creating tremendous value for our customers
  • Creating a thriving, innovative, compliant and equitable marketplace

Hashmi focused on modernization of FAS back-end systems and how it serves agency and industry customers on the front end.

From the systems perspective, Hashmi ushered in a new catalog management effort for GSA Advantage!, which aims to make it easier for vendors to upload and manage products on the GSA schedule. He led the effort to expand the Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) program beyond the initial set of contracts and provide GSA’s data to help contracting officers and program managers make better decisions.

On the front end of FAS, Hashmi initiated the first major reorganization of FAS in October. The goal of the new configuration is for FAS to serve its customers more efficiently by organizing teams to work with agencies. He pushed his team to focus on customer feedback to continue to evolve its services and highlighted the need to create a single point of entry for agencies to work with FAS.

“His ‘North Stars’ of adding value, supporting a thriving federal marketplace, and making it easier to do business with the government have set FAS — and all of GSA — up for greater long-term success,” Carnahan said in an email to staff obtained by Federal News Network. “Across all of these efforts, he’s been a terrific leader, committed to supporting our dynamic FAS workforce as they drive toward their goals within GSA and with partners across industry. Please join me in thanking Sonny for his service.”

Hashmi also had to deal with controversy and his share of challenges. He inherited transparency problems with the platform and several of FAS’s big contracts continue to face protests and other legal obstacles, including Polaris and OASIS+, and the use of the Section 876 authority to focus on price only at the task order level.

Other programs such as the cloud blanket purchase agreement vehicle called Ascend remains in process more than 18 months after GSA announced its initial plans. And inflation impacted GSA contracting over the last two years, requiring the agency to issue a deviation to allow for easier economic price adjustments. This was a process that worked so well that GSA wants to make it permanent.

“Sonny always brings focus and a positive attitude into every discussion. He clearly has a lot of energy and I think that’s helped him get things done at FAS, particularly in terms of using technology to improve their internal processes,” said Larry Allen, president of Allen Federal Business Partners and a federal procurement expert. “I think FAS will be in good hands with Tom, as well.”

This was Hashmi’s second stint in government, serving as GSA’s chief information officer and deputy CIO from 2011 to 2015.

He also has worked in industry, most recently before rejoining GSA as managing director of global government for Box. Hashmi also has worked for the D.C. government, Xerox and IBM.

“Top to bottom, FAS may be the highest performing organization I’ve ever worked in. That is a testament to all of you. It’s hard work, we have ambitious goals, and we play a major role in ensuring the integrity of government spending. Our success is a direct reflection of your commitment to excellence, your creativity and your dedication. The FAS workforce is the best and brightest I’ve ever come across,” Hashmi wrote in his email to staff. “My time as FAS commissioner and being able to serve the Biden administration is one of the absolute highlights of my career. Thank you for all of your hard work in pushing our organization to new heights. I look forward to watching all the amazing things you will achieve in the years to come!”

Roger Waldron, the president of the Coalition for Government Procurement, said Hashmi deserved high marks for his leadership as FAS commissioner.

“A good partner, he was always willing to engage with, and listen to, industry regarding FAS’s major contracting programs.  Of note is the FAS organization launched under his leadership.  The FAS reorganization is a win for GSA, customer agencies, and industry partners.  It positions FAS for future success by breaking down outdated, regional stovepipes, creating a more streamlined, efficient organization that can increase support for customer agencies,” Waldron said in an email to Federal News Network. ” Sonny and his team deserve credit for the vision and execution of the reorganization.  The Coalition wishes him all the best as he leaves government service.”

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