GSA Blog

GSA Blog Logo
Tech 2 Gov Hires

Why some technologists choose public service

| GSA Blog Team
Post filed in: 18F

There are about two million federal civil servants working across the country and overseas, employed as anything ranging from A to Z – from AI engineers to zookeepers. At GSA, nearly 12,000 employees help deliver services to both other federal agencies and directly to the American people.

GSA was just named again as one of the top federal agencies to work for and continues to foster a people-first culture. And in regards to attracting technology experts (including those AI engineers), through the Tech to Gov effort we’ve recruited more public servants to help deliver digital government to people, which taxpayers increasingly expect. 

One of the biggest challenges we have is to compete for – and maintain – top talent in technology across government. That’s why GSA’s Technology Transformation Services joined multiple Tech to Gov career fairs since October 2023, which have allowed us to advertise many available tech roles.  Alongside other agencies from across government, TTS reviewed thousands of qualified applicants, leading to more than 100 interviews and 62 candidate selections - 40 of whom are new to TTS.  

“It’s our privilege that so many tech folks want to bring their skills and experience to government, and work for TTS,” said Ann Lewis, TTS Director. “I am thrilled for new colleagues to join our teams and work on projects that make a difference to the public.”

We want to highlight below why four of our newly hired TTS technologists chose to serve our nation through government service, what attracted them to GSA, and their superpowers…

Renata Bartlett

Renata Bartlett is a product manager at TTS, responsible for delivering value to government product customers by understanding their needs and behaviors, and by realizing the product vision through tactical strategies.

Where did you come from? Private tech industry but the last four years working as a contractor for another program within TTS.

How long have you been with us or when do you start? I started the first week of April.

How would you describe your superpower? I’m good at navigating ambiguity, organizing and bringing structure in complex domains, and asking many questions.    

What exactly is “public service” anyway? Providing products and services that are intended to benefit all the people.

Why not another company or place to work? I was impressed with TTS employees’ talents and dedication to provide impactful products and services to the public. I wanted to be part of that culture.

Why did you choose public service and what attracted you to TTS? It’s rewarding and meaningful to be able to deliver inclusive and equitable products that promote participation and strengthen the relationship between the government and its people.

What do you hope to accomplish? I want to continue building upon the great work accomplished before me, and ensure that the future product updates bring innovation and create positive change for people using the government products.

Sam Couch, 18F

Sam Couch is a consulting product manager at 18F, GSA’s consulting team of designers, software engineers, strategists, and product managers. Couch works with federal, state, and local agencies to build effective, user-centric digital services for the American people.

Where did you come from? I spent 10 years in the private sector, mostly in the travel space. I’ve been a product manager at Disney, Royal Caribbean, Virgin Voyages, Publix, and Roadtrippers. 

When did you join GSA? I started in April 2024.

How would you describe your superpower? When it comes to product management, I’d say I have superhuman listening skills – I am committed to the users of my product and aim to serve them as best I can with every new feature I help bring to life. Talking to users and helping them make use of their digital toolkit more effectively is the best part of my job. 

Why did you choose public service? After so long in the private sector, I wanted (and needed) my work to mean something. We spend the majority of our waking hours at work and I knew that I needed to spend those hours doing something for the public good. Through the Tech to Gov initiative, I was able to see what this would mean in practice and how to actually make the jump from private to public. 

What exactly is “public service” anyway? To me, “public service” is just that – work that goes towards serving the public and improving their experience in accessing the publicly-funded benefits they are entitled to. The American people fund the work that we do through their taxes and they deserve their hard-earned money to be used as effectively as possible in providing those public benefits back to them.

Why not another company or place to work? The biggest difference between the private and public sectors is our relationship with our users – the private sector generally exists to generate profit from their users, whereas the public sector exists to provide benefits and services for their users. It’s this give, rather than take, that led me to choose public service. There is truly no other place to work where you can say your user base is every single person who lives in the US. 

What attracted you? Initially, the promise of being a public servant and working for the public good is what drew me to GSA. But it’s the kind, insightful, and hard-working fellow GSAers I met throughout the hiring process that confirmed I had made the right decision.

What do you hope to accomplish? Above all, I hope that my work will help make more government services more accessible to more of the American people.

Kenny Krug, 18F

Kenny Krug is a software engineer working on and, sites that support Americans who want to get involved in federal prize competitions and collaborative/participatory science projects, respectively. 

Where did you come from? Prior to starting here, I ran the internal software development for Grid News. Before that, I developed Electronic Health Record software for Meditech.

When did you join GSA? I started in April 2024.

How would you describe your superpower? My work related superpower would be the ability to explain technical concepts in a way that is accessible to everyone. Breaking down technical aspects of a project to a nontechnical audience has been an important part of my previous roles and is something I will need to continue to expand upon in my new government position.

Why did you choose public service? I wanted to work on tech that will have a far reaching impact on the general public and provide a net positive for society.

What exactly is “public service” anyway? Public service to me is doing work that serves the community as opposed to work that serves shareholders. It’s about generating societal improvements instead of generating revenue.

Why not another company or place to work? While I enjoyed my time in my previous roles, I wanted a stable position that would provide me the opportunity to make a positive societal impact.

What attracted you? Stability and impact is what drove me to pursue a government position initially, but learning more about GSA and Technology Transformation Services as well as my great interview experience were what really sold me on this role.

What do you hope to accomplish? I hope to play a large part in creating a product that will enhance the lives of our end users.

What didn’t we ask you that you’d like to share with us? Outside of work, I enjoy going to concerts with my wife and hanging out with our two dogs, Louie and Charlie.

Riley Seaburg, 18F

Riley Seaburg is a software engineer supporting and engineering platform solutions for, a community that helps build better digital experiences across government. 

Where did you come from? The New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation.

How long have you been with us or when do you start? I started April 22. 

How would you describe your superpower? I’m a behind the scenes type person, so my superpower is keeping things working and you never know I was there.

Why did you choose public service? I was raised in foster care. I have a commitment to serving the public that took care of me as a child.

What exactly is “public service” anyway? Public service is contributing effort and work to the greater good – working with the fruits of the work to benefit the public good. It can be performed in a nonprofit or government field, and can even be for profit, like a public benefit corporation.

Why not another company or place to work? The Technology Transformation Services is the premier institution for tech people like myself to work in government.

What attracted you? TTS talent, between the zoom calls for listed positions and the constant growth, I knew there was a lot of opportunity here.

What do you hope to accomplish? I hope to provide with a more sustainable approach to problem solving for the future. There are a lot of things the platform will be required to do going forward that really need good engineering.

What didn’t we ask you that you’d like to share with us? I’d like to share that I am a service- disabled veteran with seven years of service. I was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Interested in becoming a public servant with GSA? Check out GSA’s opportunities on USAJOBS and tech opportunities at the TTS site.