The Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) has a new acting leader. A long-time Senate staff member is heading to the White House’s cyber office, and three federal acquisition and IT leaders are heading out the door.
It’s a new year and federal executives are on the move.
Let’s start with the TMF program management office where Larry Bafundo has been named the TMF deputy executive director and also will serve as acting executive director.
He comes to GSA from the Labor Department, where he was the director of the IT modernization strategy. He also was the deputy policy director for the Office of Unemployment Insurance Modernization.
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“Most recently, he led a $2 billion effort at the Department of Labor to modernize the nation’s unemployment insurance systems and I am thrilled he will be lending his extensive expertise to the TMF mission,” said Katy Kale, GSA deputy administrator in an email to staff, obtained by Federal News Network.
Raylene Yung, who was the TMF program management office’s executive director for two years, stepped down in October to join the Energy Department as the chief of staff in the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations.
Jessie Posilkin, who took over as the acting executive director when Yung left in October, will continue to work with the TMF PMO as its customer experience portfolio director.
“Jessie has helped guide the fund during a time of major growth and provided much-needed continuity of leadership for this innovative funding program. While acting, she has enabled and supported major TMF website improvements, launched a new impact report, announced targeted funding for 21st Century IDEA projects as well as some additional announcements to come in the next two weeks,” Kale wrote.
A GSA spokesperson said GSA will continue to strengthen the TMF PMO team, including identifying an executive director in the future.
This is Bafundo’s second stint at GSA, joining the 18F organization in 2015 as a product manager working on several projects, including the FBI’s open crime data resource initiative. He also worked in the private sector for Code for America and Ad Hoc.
Bafundo came back to federal service in January 2022 at the Labor Department as the deputy director for technology for unemployment insurance modernization.
GSA did not say what its plans are for naming a permanent director.
Two other federal executives who are landing new jobs are Jeff Rothblum and Kirsten Wilson.
Rothblum joined the White House’s Office of the National Cyber Director within the Executive Office of the President as the new director of cyber policy and plans. He comes to the office after spending the last five years as a senior professional staff member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee working on cybersecurity and technology security.
“My five years working for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee have been incredible. It’s been an honor to work for Chairman Gary Peters (D-Mich.), leading his cybersecurity and technology security portfolio, planning hearings, drafting and passing legislation, and supporting his policy goals,” Rothblum said on a post on LinkedIn. “The HSGAC team is outstanding and I’ve been lucky to work with such great people, and make so many wonderful friends.”
Among the focus areas Rothblum had with the committee were serving as the lead author or negotiator for more than 30 provisions that eventually became part of laws, including the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act and the creation of the Office of National Cyber Director. He also led oversight of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Office of the Federal CIO (within the Office of Management and Budget) and private sector cybersecurity — including leading hearings and legislation to address Log4Shell (Log4j), SolarStorm (SolarWinds), Colonial Pipeline, Microsoft Exchange and other significant cyber incidents and vulnerabilities.
Before coming to the Senate committee, Rothblum worked for industry at Mitre, Booz Allen Hamilton, Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
Joining Rothblum at the White House is Kristen Wilson, who is joining the Office of Federal Procurement Policy as the strategic acquisition data management lead.
“I’ll be supporting the exciting work that the Office of Federal Procurement Policy is leading in two of my favorite subjects: governmentwide data and governmentwide acquisition policy, including the Hi-Def initiative,” she wrote in a post on LinkedIN.
Wilson has worked at OFPP since October on detail, but moved into a permanent role in January.
She joins OFPP as it launches into its new acquisition data effort announced in November. As part of its new Better Contracting Initiative, OFPP issued a draft circular, which included more details about how it will implement the high definition acquisition data framework (Hi-Def).
Before her detail, Wilson was the deputy director for governmentwide category management for four-plus years. In that role, she led data and digital transformation efforts, including the establishment of the governmentwide category management analytics platform and the launch of AcquisitionGateway.gov.
She also worked in industry before joining the government with KB3 Consulting and BearingPoint.
While those three executives found new homes, several others are exiting stage left.
Ross Guckert, the program executive officer for the Army’s PEO-Enterprise Information Systems (PEO-EIS) is retiring after almost 35 years in government.
“As I say farewell, I think back to 1989 when I started my civil service as a young engineer supporting countermine programs. Most of my day was spent standing by the copy machine making 50 or so copies of statements of work that I authored, and then putting them in envelopes and mailing them to stakeholders as part of the staffing process. We’ve come a long way in today’s digital age. Today, operations are at lightning speed, and although speed and efficiency have given us back countless hours, we still manage to fill them — and then some. I know this organization, and our IT industry in general, work harder than ever to get capability to our soldiers. Just know that your hard work and dedication doesn’t go unnoticed, and I couldn’t be more proud of what you have accomplished in the last few years,” Guckert wrote in a message posted on the PEO-EIS website. “It’s really unprecedented if you think about it: a wholesale transformation across the portfolio, pivoting to Agile and delivering success story after success story. Organizing around Agile, redefining technical services, using the right contract vehicles and language, upskilling the workforce, prototyping against the right criteria, and partnering with functionals and industry with new expectations to deliver at speed.
Bill Hepworth became the new PEO on Friday after serving as the deputy PEO for the past year.
Guckert said Hepworth “brings to the table an acumen for Agile and expert insight into industry practices that help us transform at the speed of need.”
Hepworth previously served as a contractor to various organizations within the Army, including the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology the Army Materiel Command.
Before joining PEO-EIS, Hepworth was the RecoveryTrac technical product manager at Tetra Tech in Maitland, Florida, and also worked at Blackstone Federal, eGlobalTech, Enigmatrix Consulting and the Octo Consulting Group.
Guckert leaves federal service after having served in a variety of leadership roles in PEO-Solider, PEO-Aviation and with the Office of Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology.
Along with Guckert, the State Department, the CIA and the Homeland Security Department saw IT and acquisition leaders head out the door.
Jaime Garcia, the director for strategic enterprise programs at State’s Center for Acquisition Experience, announced he is leaving federal service on Friday after more than six years and three agencies.
“In the ever-evolving world of public service, achieving every ambition or overcoming every challenge is impossible. I hope innovators and change agents across the government remember that their efforts are not in vain. No matter how small, each step taken contributes to the greater good,” Garcia wrote on a post on LinkedIN. “As for my next steps, I will take some time for my health and my family and continue to help government agencies improve their procurement operations. These challenges will continue getting more complex, and new strategies are needed, such as procuring and using emerging technology, especially artificial intelligence. I want to continue helping solve these problems through education and other opportunities to help the government rethink the art of the possible.”
Joining Garcia in heading out the door are Jennifer Ewbank, the CIA’s deputy director for digital innovation, and Bill Pratt, the Homeland Security Department’s director of enterprise technology governance in the CIO’s office.
Ewbank left the CIA after more than 30 years of federal service, including the last four years in her deputy director role.
“Serving as deputy director of CIA for digital innovation has been the honor of a lifetime, and I can think of no better way to end this amazing career than to help build the future of intelligence. The CIA is a unique place, with an exceptional mission, and the officers of DDI inspired me each and every day. I will miss them all,” she wrote on LinkedIN.
Ewbank said she plans to join the private sector to continue to work in the national security sector.
As for Pratt, he leaves federal service after more than 15 years all with DHS and its components.
Pratt joined REI Systems as its executive director of customer relations.
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