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Doan Honors Longest-Serving GSA Employee Potter

Remarks by
Lurita Doan
Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
Nancy Potter Retirement Ceremony
Washington, DC
December 12, 2007


Thank you Kathleen and thanks to all of you for coming out today. This is a very special occasion, the day we close the books on a remarkable career and say good-bye to a friend who was here the day they stamped G-S-A on the building.

Before I say anything else, I’m very proud that President Bush has sent a message from the White House. It says:

Dear Ms. Potter:  Congratulations on your retirement after 63 years of service with the federal government. Public service is a high calling. As you celebrate this milestone, you should take great pride in your accomplishments and dedicated service to our nation. Your commitment to excellence during your tenure with the General Services Administration reflects the spirit of America. Laura and I send our best wishes on this special occasion.

Sincerely, George W. Bush.

What a wonderful exclamation point for this great career.

As we know, it was the Hoover Commission that said a single agency should be created to serve the government’s vast procurement needs, and President Truman who signed the eventual bill into law.

Outside my office there is a poster that describes the history of GSA. Nancy Potter was witness to that history.

It was 1949. World War II had ended. The book of the day was Orwell’s, “1984.” Today, 1984 seems like eons ago. In 1949, it was still 35 years away! A first-class stamp cost three cents. Nancy’s favorite fruit, strawberries, went for 35 cents a pound.

History never looks like history when you’re living through it. The history of GSA is that of an agency alive with the spirit of entrepreneurship. GSA has prospered because it has been willing to make changes to improve service to its client agencies and the American taxpayer.

Nancy has been with us for the entire ride. Over the years, more than several trillion dollars have passed over her desk. Nancy started as a budget analyst and is now part of a team responsible for creating the 30 billion dollar annual budget and then dispensing funds.

Being a numbers guru, I wonder if she’d consider this proposition: if 50 is the new 30 and 70 is the new 50, it seems Nancy can keep her career going for at least five more years. How about it, Nancy?

In all seriousness, Nancy’s tenure is matched only by her long record of achievement. I’ve spoken a lot about history. The history of GSA will forever include Nancy’s contribution to the modernization of our financial systems, establishment of the Federal Buildings Fund, and her dedication to leading by example. She has been mentor, model, and motivator. And she has encouraged ideas, initiatives and individuals that kept us the provider of choice when client agencies were no longer required to purchase goods and services through GSA.

Last but not least, she has set the record.

Nancy Potter has officially served longer than any other GSA employee.

I think that deserves a hand.

She leaves on a wonderful note. GSA is in the midst of transformational change, but it is change that is restoring us to the traditional values that established a culture of achievement and made GSA the government’s premier acquisition agency.

I will do everything in my power to enhance and expand that proud legacy, a legacy that is due in large part to the individual we honor today.

Congratulations, Nancy and thank you for more than six decades of outstanding public service. Your commitment to excellence indeed reflects the spirit of our great nation.