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Bibb Welcomes Newest Employees to GSA

Remarks by
David L. Bibb
Acting Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
New Employees Celebration Park Dedication
Washington, DC
 July 21, 2008


Thank you very much, Darren.

Greetings, new employees.

Greetings and welcome. You are the newest of the new...The next generation … the future of GSA.

I … well, Darren was right. I am at a much different point in my career.

But when I look at all of you, I feel your passion and energy, and it reminds me of when I started at our agency. That was in 1971, in Atlanta. I began there as a management intern.

So much has changed between then and now. Pay phones are now cell phones. Four or five TV stations have turned into four or five dozen. Hemlines and haircuts have gone from short to long and long to short far more times than I can remember. And vegetables, it turns out, are good for you!

Here’s something that hasn’t changed. The U.S. General Services Administration came into being in June of 1949 with a stroke of President Harry Truman’s pen. We were formed to bring order to chaos … to consolidate the many acquisition organizations that had formed throughout official Washington into one premier procurement agency. GSA was envisioned as a source of supplies and services that could be purchased at best value.  The logic was sound. Officials of the day felt that taking this burden off all the other agencies would enable them to focus on what they needed to do most, be it national defense, agriculture, education or transportation. 

As I prepare to leave GSA after 37 wonderful years, it pleases me that our mission is as important and relevant in 2008 as it was in Truman’s day. Maybe more, for the world has not gotten simpler; it’s gotten more complicated. Take the federal judiciary, among our largest client agencies. Does anyone think administering justice in America today is easier than it was 60 years ago? Our federal judges across the country are swamped, not just by the complexity of the cases they handle, but by the sheer number. The last thing they need to worry about is replacing furniture, computer upgrades, or a new paint job.

That also means you have a job to do. You need to work hard and lead by example. You must help GSA become synonymous with “excellence in the business of government.”

Let me be more specific. Our business fell off in recent years for several reasons, but we’re now in the midst of a resurgence.

  • Gross revenues are up compared to last year for both PBS and FAS;
  • Business with the Department of Defense is up and we are winning new DOD customers almost daily;
  • Our flagship multiple award schedules are up nearly 5 percent and we’re on track for a new schedule sales record;
  • We just won legislative approval for state and local governments to take advantage of GSA savings on a new set of Homeland Security goods and services.

So the first order of business is to continue the business resurgence!

Number two is our green agenda, which includes helping client agencies meet their environmental mandates.

  • As GSA’s chief environmental official, I have utilized our position as the premier procurement agency to encourage green purchasing;
  • We now offer some 10,000 green goods and services;
  • We’ve made eco-friendly procurement easier for federal agencies;
  • Eco-friendly telework remains a top priority;
  • And PBS and FAS are working together to expand the array of energy services available on schedules.

A third priority is our capital programs.

  • PBS’s real estate portfolio consists of 8,600 buildings and an annual budget of $8 billion;
  • Currently, there are over 200 major projects valued at $12 billion;
  • Project delays can add 5-10 percent increase in costs annually;
  • New construction exceeds $10 billion and reinvestments exceed $7 billion; 
  • And it’s critical that we are able to utilize alternative investment strategies.

At number four I would put working with our stakeholders.

  • A great GSA success is the number of new services on our schedules program;
  • We are updating our offerings, ensuring that our contracts remain current;
  • We are strengthening our integrated business systems, analytics and strategies and measuring our performance as One GSA;
  • Our fiscal accountability is a competitive advantage for GSA and the taxpayer; and …
  • Our SmartBUY program provides discounted software, which saves taxpayers as much as 84 percent.

I mentioned one GSA. “One GSA – One Voice” is the philosophy we’ve adopted to help ensure business success.

  • “One GSA, One Voice” means that whenever we undertake a project, we partner with other parts of GSA; and
  • We strive for customers to see and hear only one GSA, with one voice.

As we are now in hurricane season, I should of course note that emergency response and recovery also remain key priorities.

  • Our critical role is to make sure towns struck by disasters quickly get the supplies and equipment they need to begin recovering;
  • We provide critical information to citizens on USA.gov;
  • We have a rapid response team to coordinate deployment of resources; and as I mentioned …
  • Disaster recovery purchasing now exists for state and local governments.

The last item I’ll mention is that as I prepare to leave and you prepare to begin your GSA careers, there will also be some other newcomers in town.

GSA plays a key role in the peaceful transfer of power to a new president.

  • We provide support to the president elect and the vice president elect;
  • Our support includes office space, communications, I-T support and many other items that help the incoming administration;
  • We also support the outgoing president and vice president for 6 months; and
  • We provide support to the presidential inaugural committee.

So again, welcome and congratulations. You have joined – and we are all a part of – a dynamic organization that touches the lives of American citizens in more ways than most people realize. Most don’t know it, but GSA is also in the business of historic preservation, government travel, property management, small business assistance, child care, purchase card administration, fleet management, information technology, and electronic government. USA.gov is one of Time Magazine’s 25 websites we can’t live without, and our new federal building in San Francisco just won a very prestigious award from the White House.

Take pride in our diversity, be ready to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise during your careers, and always strive for excellence.

The great football coach Vince Lombardi said:

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”

That’s precisely what we’re chasing – excellence -- in the business of our government.

Thank you very much.