Tangherlini moves quickly from GSA to new job at private equity real estate firm

Dan Tangherlini didn’t take long to find a new job. After leaving as the General Services Administration’s administrator Feb. 20, Tangherlini confirmed Friday that he will become the chief operating officer of Artemis Real Estate Partners, a private equity firm.

“It’s not a big company, but it’s growing and they are interested in building their support infrastructure to support the next stage of their growth,” Tangherlini said in an interview with Federal News Radio. “My job really will be to improve the details of their operation and help them deliver on their growth strategy. It’s an exciting opportunity for me to work with some incredibly smart people. They have really built up their impressive business in a short time and they have plans to become even bigger.”

Dan Tangherlini (GSA photo)
The Washington Post first reported Tangherlini’s decision to join Artemis. Artemis was founded by Deborah Harmon and current Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker in 2009 with a goal of investing in commercial real estate. It has invested more than $1.8 billion over the last four-plus years.

Tangherlini said his first day at Artemis will be March 30, and he plans to spend the next month catching up on family chores and take a vacation.

Tangherlini’s decision to work in real estate isn’t surprising. He focused heavily on real estate and real property during his tenure at GSA that began inauspiciously by having to clean up the mess from the Western Regions Conference scandal that cost three senior GSA officials, including his predecessor Martha Johnson her job.

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In a recent interview with Federal News Radio’s In-Depth Francis Rose, Tangherlini said GSA was both innovative and more consistent in how it managed federal real estate.

“What we want to do is encourage agencies to say, ‘Look, you need to start building your physical footprint to reflect the way you’re going to be delivering services for the next 10, 50 years,’ rather than saying, ‘Let me just go and render again the way we delivered those services the last 10 or 50 years,'” he said. “And a lot has changed. You reach into your pocket, you pull out that smartphone, that’s only 7-years old, and it’s dramatically changed the way people do everything they do in their personal lives. I keep challenging people in the government to say, ‘Have you changed the way you deliver your services in your agency as quickly as this has for you outside of your government service?’ We need space that supports that.”

Tangherlini was the driving force behind several initiatives that aim to change the way the government manages property. He oversaw the initial plan to consolidate agency office space nationwide, which includes renovating 19 buildings. He led the effort to trade the FBI headquarters building in Washington for a new site in the suburbs and to get rid of underused or unused properties such as the old heating plant in Georgetown and the Old Post Office building.

Tangherlini’s move to a commercial real estate firm follows the path of several former GSA officials. David Bibb, a former deputy administrator at GSA, joined JBG, a commercial real estate investment firm, and Bob Peck, a former public building service commissioner, joined Gensler Architecture firm as a senior associate in the government practice area.

Tangherlini announced in January he decided to leave government after spending the last almost three years at GSA and more than five years as a political appointee in the Obama administration.

“I didn’t put myself out there for very long,” he said about looking for a new job. “This was attractive to me because of the proximity, my long standing interest in real estate and the quality of the people. That was the most important part. I had a lot of conversations with my contacts, but this was the one I went deepest on.”

Denise Turner Roth is the acting administrator. She recently highlighted her priorities in a blog post and video.

Turner Roth, who has been the deputy administrator for GSA since March 2014, said GSA will continue to lead in innovation, in part by growing the Total Workplace initiative, which helps agencies reduce overall footprint and reduce energy usage. She also highlighted the agency’s continued efforts with category management, 18F and streamlining internal functions and instituting performance-based reviews.

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