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Try Cross-Agency Shadowing to Strengthen Federal Partnerships

June 22, 2016

KANSAS CITY, MO -- Have you ever wondered how GSA’s Public Buildings Service executes your federal agency’s projects or what drives PBS decision making behind the scenes?

As a federal employee of one of GSA’s customer agencies, you may be able to witness Heartland PBS’ inner workings through a cross-agency shadowing experience -- like Tayna Bradford from U.S. Customs and Immigration Services did this spring.

Bradford, a supervisory immigration services analyst, spent a day with Heartland PBS branch chiefs Matt Helmering and Zach Hawks in conjunction with a CIS leadership program. CIS National Records Center Chief of Staff Ethan Cole facilitated the experience.

“Zach and I have a great working relationship with Ethan,” Helmering said. “We’ve worked with him on complex lease administration issues and tackled many challenging projects within their underground leased facility. Working together through tough situations helped grow our relationship, and now we all stay in touch on a quarterly basis to keep the network and relationship alive.”

Matt Helmering (GSA), Tayna Bradford (CIS) and Zach Hawks (GSA)Bradford joined several PBS meetings, experienced the office atmosphere and collaborated on project challenges. She said the experience was definitely beneficial.

“It was enlightening to see how the process works within GSA,” Bradford said. “As customers, we know what we do to make projects happen, but I think we sometimes take for granted all the work that goes in on the GSA side.”
She was surprised at the stark differences between her cave workplace and the GSA Regional Office’s open-concept, mobile workplace.

“It was an excellent opportunity to learn about similarities and differences between the agencies,” she concluded.

Helmering and Hawks learned about a few CIS projects and how the National Records Center gets involved in protecting the country from terrorists. Bradford walked away with a greater understanding of GSA’s work and familiarity with the policies and executive orders that drive GSA’s business decisions. All parties agreed they would recommend cross-agency shadowing to others.

“The more we can share information and learn from each other, the more successful our agency partnerships will become and the better we will be able to serve the American taxpayer,” Helmering said.

If you’re interested in a shadowing opportunity with Heartland Region Public Buildings Service, reach out to your PBS point of contact, your Regional Account Manager or to Client Solutions Branch Chief Matt Helmering ( Please follow your agency’s internal protocols, as well.

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