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Remarks by GSA Administrator at FDA Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony 
FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER)
White Oak, MD - July 12, 2005

 

Good Morning, Ladies and Gentlemen.

It’s a pleasure for me to be here with HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Lester Crawford, and the entire FDA team for this important ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

It’s also a pleasure for me to join with Senators Orrin Hatch, Paul Sarbanes, and Barbara Mikulski, and Congressmen Steny Hoyer and Albert Wynn, all of whom have been very strong champions in the United States Congress for the entire FDA modernization and consolidation project.

I'm also pleased to share this dais with Lt. Governor Michael Steele, State Senator Ida Ruben, and Steven Galson, Acting Director of the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

We're all here today to celebrate another major milestone in FDA's master plan to modernize and consolidate its operations as necessary to provide this scientific research agency with the very high quality work environment, technology, and equipment the people of FDA need to effectively and efficiently achieve their mission of service for the American people.

This center is the largest building in the planned FDA complex. It will be home to the CDER Office of New Drug Evaluation and its many support functions, including areas such as the Office of Information and Technology, the Office of Counter Terrorism, and the Office of Pediatric Drug Development.

Ribbon-cuttings and grand opening ceremonies like this provide the opportunity to reflect on all it took to reach this point. As we reflect on the past, we certainly recognize that we owe a big debt of gratitude to many people who worked so hard over the past decade to bring this project from the concept stage to where we are today.

That debt of gratitude certainly applies to the people of FDA; and it definitely applies to Senators Hatch, Sarbanes, and Mikulski, Congressmen Hoyer and Wynn, and others in the United States Congress.

FDA and Congress had the vision, dedication and persistence necessary to ensure that progress on this project continued as expeditiously as possible.

We also owe a big debt of gratitude to the people of this community, who have been tremendously supportive. We would not have achieved such a great master plan for the use of this site and the advancement of the surrounding community without their help and active participation.

We at GSA are very proud that our agency was able to contribute. As you may know, GSA's mission is to help other federal agencies achieve their missions of service to the public by helping them to acquire superior workplaces, expert technology solutions, equipment, and everything else they need to make their operations successful.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate some of the people at GSA and on the project team, that begins with:

  • Donald Williams, our emcee today and GSA's Regional Administrator for the National Capital Region;
  • NCR PBS Assistant Regional Administrator Linda Garvin;
  • Project Executive Shapour Ebadi and former Project Executive Harry Debes;
  • Project Design Managers Bill Potterton and Janette Wright;
  • Financial Manager Wendy Grogan;
  • Contracting Officer Bonnie Echoles;
  • Legal Counsel Kathy McCartney and Robert Schlattman; and
  • Asset Manager Susan Anderson.

All of us at GSA also want to recognize FDA Project Director Ernest Lunsford, Jr., and the entire FDA team.

I also want to congratulate the project's design architects and engineers, the Kling-RTKL Partnership of Washington, DC, for their work on the master plan, and for their architectural creativity and workspace layout, which is highly functional and reflects well the stature of FDA as one our nation’s most prominent scientific institutions.

I want to thank our construction management company, the Heery-Tishman joint venture, for their leadership in coordinating this project.

It’s been a long hard road to get this project to where it is today.  It’s very exciting to realize that soon, 1,700 FDA workers will be located here at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research and they will be working in this wonderful new facility to further the safety of the American public.

Tremendous benefits will result from their work here for many, many years to come.  We look to the future with confidence and optimism and great anticipation of FDA’s continued success.

Thank you very much.