GSA’s new FAS commissioner Kempf looks ahead

Steve Kempf talks with DorobekInsider about what he hopes to accomplish as head of GSA\'s FAS.

Yesterday we told you that Steve Kempf has been tapped to lead the GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service.

Now we hear from the man himself about his plans for the future of FAS, as well as his ideas on a variety of other projects and challenges facing GSA as a whole.

On Networx

As Federal News Radio has been telling you, agencies have been struggling to move to Networx and the delays have been so bad that Congress has even held hearings about the transition.

Kempf says he hopes the process will speed up, now that GSA’s Networx program has started investing more resources in the move.

“Each agency had their own constraints and issues. Some were moving toward a more transformative solution. Others lacked some of the technical or contracting resources to move forward. Some were just plain procrastinating. . . . This has always been a terrifically difficult task to do. It wasn’t just this contract transition. In many cases, all contract transitions are a difficult thing to do, but . . . With the the move of technology and telecommunications and data networks it was particularly difficult this time around.”

On Better Buy

It’s been called by some as ‘Aquisition 2.0’. GSA’s Better Buy project is an initiative that is attempting to improve the government procurement process.

As DorobekInsider told you earlier this year, GSA launched a wiki that uses the same software as Wikipedia to crowdsource ideas on how to improve procurement and contracting.

Kempf says he’s already looking at the lessons learned.

“I think we’ve tried some things that we’ve learned from Better Buy. Mary Davie and her group in Assisted Acquisition Services are still pulling data off of there and trying to figure out which ones we could use. This is part of participatory government. We go out and get more information from those we deal with, whether it be the customers or industry, and then try to bring them in and innovate in how we deliver our services. I think {there will be} more to come on that, but we’re moving forward and we’ll see some new things.”

On Go Green

Administrator Martha Johnson and other leaders at the agency have been pushing a variety of eco-friendly initiatives at GSA, and Kempf says he going green is more than simply throwing empty soda cans in a recycling bin at work.

“It means . . . things like telework and unplugging our personal printers and using community printers in our buildings; how we work with industry in terms of greening the schedules and getting the right kinds of companies on the schedules; how we provide services to our customers — we have a carbon footprint tool that we’ve made available to customers for free. Then, taking that forward, how do we live our lives at home, too? We take some of those things in the office and bring them home to be good environmental stewards in every phase of our lives.”

On leadership

Now that Kempf is head of FAS, he tells DorobekInsider what type of leader he hopes to be at GSA in the future.

“One of the things I’ve always tried to do is be a good listener to the people that work with me, and understand and have a little empathy about what they’re facing and how they’re trying to deal with their day to day issues, and then try to find solutions that are useful and good for everybody. Part of that is making decisions, too, and we have a tough role to play here in the federal acquisition service. We can’t please everybody and we know no matter what decision we make, somebody’s not going to be completely happy with it. Part of that is reaching out, listening, getting the right information, then moving forward with a decision and getting people behind you and moving ahead. That’s worked for me in the past and we’re going to continue to work that way.”

Kempf says his overall goal is to set his employees up for success by allowing them to really communicate and listen to GSA’s customers.

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